In keeping with our United Methodist heritage, Communion at St. Joe First is open to all, regardless of denominational background. We understand the Communion Table to be the Lord’s Table, and His invitation is to all who would follow Him.
We also regard the Lord’s Supper to be a means of grace. We say this because we understand that some may have their first encounter with our risen Lord at the Communion Table. They may come questioning if they have a proper “faith level” for receiving Communion. However, if they sense a true desire to experience Communion, we believe that just may be the Spirit of Christ reaching out to them and calling them into a relationship with Him. If they are willing to answer that call, they are encouraged to open their hearts and lives to Jesus so that as they receive the bread and wine of Communion, physically into their bodies, they also receive spiritually - in the same moment - the Spirit of Christ into their lives. We believe in that very moment they are changed. Their sins are forgiven, they enter into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and they find eternal life. In other words, they experience the grace of Jesus Christ in its fullest form.
Forms of Communion
If you are unfamiliar with the United Methodist Church, you may wonder about the different forms of Communion that we observe. There are three different forms that we typically use here at St. Joe First. The first is what many of us would call the “traditional form.” This consists of small individual cups and pre-cut cubes of bread which are served either in the pews or at the Communion rail.
Another common form of Communion is the method of intinction. This involves tearing a piece of bread off a common loaf and dipping it into a common cup of grape juice before placing it in your mouth. Those receiving Communion in this manner usually come forward in one or two lines and receive the elements individually as they reach the front.
The third form of Communion we practice involves the use of pre-packaged elements. The bread and juice are packaged in individual units that worshippers open together during the service.
Some have wondered why we use grape juice, instead of wine. The reason for this is that, historically, early Methodists were very conscious of the fact that there were many sober alcoholics among them, trying hard to live a new life. Not wanting to violate their vow of sobriety, the Church chose to use non-alcoholic wine, or grape juice, in its celebration of Communion. It is a reason that is still valid today. Gluten-free wafers are also available.
We celebrate Communion on the first Sunday of every month in our traditional service at 9:00 am. In our modern service at 11:00 am, we celebrate every week.