Word and Table
Wednesday worship normally (but not always) takes the form of a service of Word and Table – i.e., including the Sacrament of Holy Communion, Lord’s Supper or Eucharist. While our norm is Eucharistic, reflecting ecumenical foundations of Christian public worship, worship planners are free to invoke other liturgical models and traditions in relation to the relevant texts, concerns and guests. In addition, other rituals (e.g., footwashing, prayers for healing, other symbolic actions, etc.) may be appropriate to the occasion. An Emmanuel College Lectionary (an optional list of daily scripture readings) provides texts of scripture to guide our planning.
Presiding at Communion
When planning services including communion, planners will need to invite an ordained faculty person or Advanced Degree student, or another ordained or appropriately licensed person, to join the planning team and preside at table. Within the United Church, general practice is to ensure that an ordained or appropriately licensed person is visible and audible at the table. It is also possible to invite co-presiders (including laypersons and students) to give leadership at table, which can provide students with the opportunity to develop hands-on skills in presiding. In addition, ordained persons from traditions other than the United Church are welcome to preside. Be sure to check with the Director of Chapel or Coordinators for any questions related to Eucharistic presidency.
Although many students at Emmanuel are associated with The United Church of Canada, there are other Christian denominations and religious traditions represented within our community. Even within the United Church there is a wide theological spectrum spanning a diversity of worship styles and liturgical practices. Such diversity can offer a rich range of inclusive approaches to worship and/or communion. We welcome such diversity as we seek to engage our own and other traditions at their best, enriching the breadth and depth of our liturgical life.
More Voices and Voices United are our primary sources for shared music. The presence of our Master of Sacred Music program means we are blessed with the presence of many gifted musicians in our midst. The Director of Music is available to offer suggestions on music choices and may be consulted on all worship plans, even if his leadership is not required. The appointed musician for the day needs to be an integral part of all worship planning. While Celebrate God’s Presence is a primary United Church liturgical resource for the United Church, and the Director of Chapel can direct planners to appropriate material therein, other resources are also welcomed and encouraged.
The space for Wednesday services of Word and Table can be arranged in a variety of ways. The chapel is often with a semi-circle of chairs facing the north windows, the communion table in front of the windows, the lectern with bible to the east, the baptismal font and paschal candle to the west, and the projection screen in the north-east corner. Greeters can welcome people and offer hymnbooks and/or orders of service as they enter. Alternatively, a circle of chairs around a central Table, or rows of chairs facing the table on the east platform, are also possible. Whichever the arrangement, intentional worship planning and consultation with the Director of Chapel and Worship Team is important.
We try, as much as is practical, to reduce our reliance on unnecessary paper in worship, using hymnals where possible and projection where appropriate. PowerPoint templates of our “house style” are in the service archive as we continue to both model and experiment with technologies and other art forms in worship.