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Attending an Episcopal Church this am with my scout son


DawnM
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It is scout Sunday and the troop would like all the boys to come and worship at the church where they are sponsored.  I haven't been to this church before but am really looking forward to visiting.

 

I love going to a liturgical church every now and then.  I find comfort there.

 

I am 99.9% sure most of my home church would think this church isn't "really Christian" and is too liberal.

 

It all wears me out and makes me sad.

 

Sigh.

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I don't get the "real Christian" thing. It's a bit judgemental and that seems the opposite of what we are to get out of church.

 

There's quite a range in what you see in Episcopal churches these days. When I was a kid they were all very similar. I do like the liturgy, that feels like "home" to me.

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I was raised Episcopalian and although I have my reasons for now being Roman Catholic, and am happy where I am, I do miss some of the Episcopal service. It's probably the most beautiful service (when done well) in the world (totally biased I know). 

 

Enjoy!

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Are you sure they want you to come and worship?

 

I was raised Catholic and we definitely viewed visiting other churches as "visiting", not taking part in the litergy. Visiting other houses of worship, Christian or not, was always done with respect. But, there is no worship happening at a non-RC church (and vice-versa for people visiting us).

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Are you sure they want you to come and worship?

 

I was raised Catholic and we definitely viewed visiting other churches as "visiting", not taking part in the litergy. Visiting other houses of worship, Christian or not, was always done with respect. But, there is no worship happening at a non-RC church (and vice-versa for people visiting us).

 

Huh???

 

Anyone is welcome to sing the hymns, say the creed, listen to the scriptures, etc. And in an Episcopal Church any baptized Christian can also receive the Eucharist/Communion. 

 

Not sure what you are classifying out of that as "worship' versus "visiting"?

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Huh???

 

Anyone is welcome to sing the hymns, say the creed, listen to the scriptures, etc. And in an Episcopal Church any baptized Christian can also receive the Eucharist/Communion.

 

Not sure what you are classifying out of that as "worship' versus "visiting"?

I agree. I'm no longer Catholic, but when I go to mass with my extended family I participate in everything but kneeling and communion.

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Huh???

 

Anyone is welcome to sing the hymns, say the creed, listen to the scriptures, etc. And in an Episcopal Church any baptized Christian can also receive the Eucharist/Communion. 

 

Not sure what you are classifying out of that as "worship' versus "visiting"?

 

My guess is that Eucharist itself is the sticking point.  I remember this being a struggle for me as a teen in the first Episocopalian service I attended as a visitor. I was raised very Calvinist Presbyterian in an area where the three big world religions were Presbyterian, Baptist, and Lutheran ;),  but was very much an Anglophile and wanted to experience a midnight Mass since I had read so much about them in literature. I sat flipping through the Book of Common Prayer frantically trying to figure out if they believed in transubstantiation and whether I could go up or not (aside from being a bit weirded out by the common cup ;) ).

 

As I was taught (caveat--this was 30 or so years ago when I was a practicing Episcopalian, but I think it is still the same), the Episcopal Church teaches consubstantiation rather than transubstantiation as the Roman Catholic Church does or representational (don't know the theological word for it) in Protestant denominations. Roman Catholic Eucharist is closed to non-members because of this and they aren't allowed to take Eucharist/Communion in any churches that don't teach transubstantiation (maybe at any others, not sure).

 

In the Episcopal Church, it's open to baptized Christians, I believe (I don't think there's a denominational limitation like there is in terms of confirmation if you want to actually join), but it's also okay to not go up at all, or to go up, kneel, and cross your arms over your chest as a signal you just want a blessing rather than to receive. We had this at our wedding, which was attended by people of a wide variety of faiths and of none and it works out fine. 

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Huh???

 

Anyone is welcome to sing the hymns, say the creed, listen to the scriptures, etc. And in an Episcopal Church any baptized Christian can also receive the Eucharist/Communion.

 

Not sure what you are classifying out of that as "worship' versus "visiting"?

Of course? Of course you sing and chant and shake hands as a visitor. I'd do the same at any house of worship that invited me too. Is that 'worship' I never really thought it was. I guess I thought of it as fellowship.

 

 

Wait I just realized some people use the verb 'worship' to mean 'Attend a service ' . I meant it literally. 'Express reverence to a god or deity '.

Edited by poppy
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Are you sure they want you to come and worship?

 

I was raised Catholic and we definitely viewed visiting other churches as "visiting", not taking part in the litergy. Visiting other houses of worship, Christian or not, was always done with respect. But, there is no worship happening at a non-RC church (and vice-versa for people visiting us).

 

This is a surprising view of the Catholic church. I will have to ask the priest at my Episcopal dc's Catholic school if this is how they view my children's participation in their Mass. If so, we will have to look for another school.

Edited by Jan in SC
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Are you sure they want you to come and worship?

 

I was raised Catholic and we definitely viewed visiting other churches as "visiting", not taking part in the litergy. Visiting other houses of worship, Christian or not, was always done with respect. But, there is no worship happening at a non-RC church (and vice-versa for people visiting us).

 

All baptised Christians may take communion during an Episcopal service. Anyone may approach the communion table and receive a blessing even if they are not taking communion. So really you can participate in all aspects of the service in an Episcopal church and visitors are encouraged to do so. 

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Of course? Of course you sing and chant and shake hands as a visitor. I'd do the same at any house of worship that invited me too. Is that 'worship' I never really thought it was. I guess I thought of it as fellowship.

 

 

Wait I just realized some people use the verb 'worship' to mean 'Attend a service ' . I meant it literally. 'Express reverence to a god or deity '.

So why can't you "express reverence to a god or deity" at another denomination's service?
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The Episcopal services I have attended recently include the words "What follows is the Lord's Supper, and is open to all the Lord's people" or something similar. In my mind that doesn't just include baptised people, but also those who believe but are not bapitised, for example members of a denomination, like the Quakers that do not practice formal baptism, or like the Mennonites who wait until adulthood for baptism.

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I agree!  I grew up in a Lutheran church, although eventually switched to a more non-denominational/Bible church style which had a more active youth group.  It was a nice church, but I was really surprised from time to time when I heard comments from a few people there about Lutherans not really being Christian enough.  Hmmm...  

 

I actually miss the liturgy at times, and definitely miss the old hymns.  The times I most miss liturgy is when I'm going through a difficult time.  Something about being able to fall back on liturgy when your mind is too numb to speak is a comfort.

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The Episcopal Church teaches neither transubstantiation or consubstantiation (hope I spelled those right!) but does teach Real Presence. There is no canon that says you must believe the Eucharist is more than a memorial in order to take it, however. 

 

Daria, officially, only baptised Christians can take the Eucharist in the Episcopal Church, even though some churches practice what they call Open Communion (which has several definitions--the one I'm using means anyone can take). Our particular church (our congregation, I mean) does add that if you can take in your own parish you are welcome to take in ours, but that is not canon. In the most formal liturgy, known as Rite One, the words "and are in love and charity with your neighbors" as a condition of sorts that should (but not must) be met before receiving. 

 

Clear as mud, eh? lol 

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Of course? Of course you sing and chant and shake hands as a visitor. I'd do the same at any house of worship that invited me too. Is that 'worship' I never really thought it was. I guess I thought of it as fellowship.

 

 

Wait I just realized some people use the verb 'worship' to mean 'Attend a service ' . I meant it literally. 'Express reverence to a god or deity '.

But it's the same God or deity in any Christian church service, so how would that not still be worship. The Catholic Church does not believe that other churches worship a different god. We are just not to take communion in another denomination, mostly because we are not "in communion", and for other theological reasons.

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I miss the Episcopalian service.   We live in the country and there isn't one close enough that we'd actually go regularly.   DH is happier with the service at the non-demon. we attend.  It is basically opposite of what I'd like.   But the church has everything else (the important stuff) down.  But every now and then I'd like some sing-song and listening to a fat lady sing Bach.

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I am pretty low tolerance for what other people consider Christian these days. In fact, due to people who seem to not know what mainstream Christians are justifying lately I am considering no longer identifying as a Christian. I LOVE Jesus Christ. I know he walked the earth as a man even though he was the son of God and died for my sins. But I am pretty much done with people who twist modern theology for selfish reasons. And that is beginning to seem like more Christians than not. 

 

So, I really hope you do what you like regarding church and let the judgmental people go their own way. Alpha, taught by Nicky Gumbel is totally awesome and Anglican to boot. I agree with everything in the Alpha teachings and would defy anyone to say those are not sound teachings of Jesus Christ.

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Are you sure they want you to come and worship?

 

I was raised Catholic and we definitely viewed visiting other churches as "visiting", not taking part in the litergy. Visiting other houses of worship, Christian or not, was always done with respect. But, there is no worship happening at a non-RC church (and vice-versa for people visiting us).

 

Well, there we seem to have an example of what some people try to avoid.

 

ETA: Never mind. Evidently there was some misunderstanding in terms.

Edited by Liz CA
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Are you sure they want you to come and worship?

 

I was raised Catholic and we definitely viewed visiting other churches as "visiting", not taking part in the litergy. Visiting other houses of worship, Christian or not, was always done with respect. But, there is no worship happening at a non-RC church (and vice-versa for people visiting us).

 

What?

 

Yes.  They wanted all the scouts AND their families to come.

 

They had us stand up and welcomed us, they told us that if we were believers and had been baptized, we were welcome to partake in communion.

 

Edited by DawnM
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I'm Catholic, and we welcome anyone to come and worship but only baptized Catholics who aren't in a state or mortal sin may take communion.

 

 

This is a really dumb question, but say I am in a state of mortal sin and I am Catholic.  If I don't participate in communion, will people around me notice and wonder what sin I might be committing that I didn't participate?  Or is it just that there are often many who don't participate for whatever reason, so it is no big deal.

 

Not sure if I am wording this correctly.

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This is a really dumb question, but say I am in a state of mortal sin and I am Catholic. If I don't participate in communion, will people around me notice and wonder what sin I might be committing that I didn't participate? Or is it just that there are often many who don't participate for whatever reason, so it is no big deal.

 

Not sure if I am wording this correctly.

No. Plenty of people don't participate, and you can enter a state of mortal sin for many things that people do (like missing church without a serious reason). Like you don't have to kill someone. :) You can also walk up with your arms crossed across your chest to receive a blessing. I edited my original post to say that to receive communion you must also have attended the classes to make your first communion. So young children don't receive.

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No. Plenty of people don't participate, and you can enter a state of mortal sin for many things that people do (like missing church without a serious reason). Like you don't have to kill someone. :) You can also walk up with your arms crossed across your chest to receive a blessing. I edited my original post to say that to receive communion you must also have attended the classes to make your first communion. So young children don't receive.

 

I see. 

 

Yes, today he said that if we were believers AND have been baptized we could participate, but if you aren't able to participate, you could cross your arms and come be prayed for.

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No. Plenty of people don't participate, and you can enter a state of mortal sin for many things that people do (like missing church without a serious reason). Like you don't have to kill someone. :) You can also walk up with your arms crossed across your chest to receive a blessing. I edited my original post to say that to receive communion you must also have attended the classes to make your first communion. So young children don't receive.

 

Yes, this.  I would say that most often there is someone in my pew that does not go forward to communion.  Much more uncommon for everyone to go.  I never even think of it because it is so common.  There are people that attend for decades but never convert so they don't receive, visitors, people who just opt not to for whatever reason.  It is so very common no one thinks anything of those not receiving.

 

I live in the Bible Belt and in a town with a large Christian university and we get tons of visitors/ observers just researching.  It is really easy to just blend in at all but the very smallest Catholic churches.  

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The Episcopal Church teaches neither transubstantiation or consubstantiation (hope I spelled those right!) but does teach Real Presence. There is no canon that says you must believe the Eucharist is more than a memorial in order to take it, however. 

 

Daria, officially, only baptised Christians can take the Eucharist in the Episcopal Church, even though some churches practice what they call Open Communion (which has several definitions--the one I'm using means anyone can take). Our particular church (our congregation, I mean) does add that if you can take in your own parish you are welcome to take in ours, but that is not canon. In the most formal liturgy, known as Rite One, the words "and are in love and charity with your neighbors" as a condition of sorts that should (but not must) be met before receiving. 

 

Clear as mud, eh? lol 

 

Religion nerd here, and admittedly have not been part of the Episcopal Church for over 20 years. I don't want to derail, but my curiosity is piqued. Could you point me to something that explains the difference between consubstantiation and Real Presence? I'm having trouble finding anything online other than how Real Presence is not transubstantiation. Both my husband and I remember consubstantiation being the specific term used in our classes for confirmation (in the late 80s for me, early 90s for him) but don't remember the particular phrase Real Presence, and I don't recall coming across it in the three years of the Education for Ministry classes I did (also in the late 80s, maybe it was in year 4?). Perhaps it's a change in terminology?

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I see.

 

Yes, today he said that if we were believers AND have been baptized we could participate, but if you aren't able to participate, you could cross your arms and come be prayed for.

That was my experience in the Episcopal church too. Having been Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and now Catholic, I understand now that the strict rules in the Catholic Church are because we believe the Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus. You are actually eating the flesh and blood of Jesus. So you don't want someone to do that unless they take it as seriously as you do. (as the church and God do.) If people walk away with the Eucharist without putting it in their mouths, someone stops them and takes it. Not even a tiny crumb can fall to the floor without someone getting it. This is in enormous contrast to the Methodist church in which I grew up, where the kids drank the leftover shot glasses of grape juice in the kitchen after the service. :D

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That was my experience in the Episcopal church too. Having been Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and now Catholic, I understand now that the strict rules in the Catholic Church are because we believe the Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus. You are actually eating the flesh and blood of Jesus. So you don't want someone to do that unless they take it as seriously as you do. (as the church and God do.) If people walk away with the Eucharist without putting it in their mouths, someone stops them and takes it. Not even a tiny crumb can fall to the floor without someone getting it. This is in enormous contrast to the Methodist church in which I grew up, where the kids drank the leftover shot glasses of grape juice in the kitchen after the service. :D

 

 

Just fyi, your post could be read as intending to imply that no one other than Roman Catholics "take [Communion] seriously," which I am confident is not the case in terms of those other groups and don't think you meant to say. Differences in theology and in liturgical practices don't mean that other groups care less about it and what it means.

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Religion nerd here, and admittedly have not been part of the Episcopal Church for over 20 years. I don't want to derail, but my curiosity is piqued. Could you point me to something that explains the difference between consubstantiation and Real Presence? I'm having trouble finding anything online other than how Real Presence is not transubstantiation. Both my husband and I remember consubstantiation being the specific term used in our classes for confirmation (in the late 80s for me, early 90s for him) but don't remember the particular phrase Real Presence, and I don't recall coming across it in the three years of the Education for Ministry classes I did (also in the late 80s, maybe it was in year 4?). Perhaps it's a change in terminology?

Presbyterian teaching is that Christ is spirtually present in the elements, and this has been called Real Presence. I wonder if this is a similar scenario.

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Just fyi, your post could be read as intending to imply that no one other than Roman Catholics "take [Communion] seriously," which I am confident is not the case in terms of those other groups and don't think you meant to say. Differences in theology and in liturgical practices don't mean that other groups care less about it and what it means.

No that's not what I meant, however, I do think that if you truly believe that the Eucharist is the actual flesh and blood of Jesus, it is more "serious" than if you believe communion is a recreation and commemoration of the Last Supper. I mean, I grew up in the Methodist church. If someone dropped a wafer, no big deal just don't get the carpet dirty. In the Catholic Church, you will have a major effort to retrieve it, and written procedures about how to do it. I'm just pointing out the differences in theology. My nine year old daughter even noticed, after attending services at a Methodist church, by saying, that preacher doesn't take communion as seriously as Father does. I'm not trying to say I'm right and you're wrong, or Jesus doesn't love you, or whatever. I'm just saying that, as a lifelong Protestant who has converted to Catholic, that Protestants in general do not view communion with the same seriousness and reverence as Catholics. Episcopalians and Lutherans are close. Before I entirely offend everyone...it's not my intention. We say Protestants are our brothers and sisters in Christ and think they are going to Heaven too.

Edited by MotherGoose
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Presbyterian teaching is that Christ is spirtually present in the elements, and this has been called Real Presence. I wonder if this is a similar scenario.

 

Having been raised very Calvinist Presbyterian and later becoming Episcopalian, in terms of changes in the elements, the Episcopal doctrine is quite different than that in the Presbyterian Church, as can be seen in the handling of the elements (as I think MotherGoose intended to say).

 

At the Presbyterian church where I grew up, we used wine and bread or crackers, which were handed around on trays while people sat in the pews, and the little cups were left in cup-holders on the backs of the pews. While Christ was seen as spiritually present in those elements during the Communion, they were not seen as substantially permanently changed in and of themselves, therefore they and the vessels that contained them needed no special handling after the conclusion of the service. My mother used to do clean up for it frequently. The wine could be consumed by anyone or poured out in the regular sink, for instance. Caveat: this would have been from the early 1960s to the early 1980s, again, just in case something has changed. :)

 

When I served on the Altar Guild in the Episcopal church I attended from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, it was a different story. You had to come up to the front and receive the elements under the supervision of the clergy. At the end of the service, leftover hosts had to be placed in a special tabernacle with a presence light perpetually burning, leftover wine had to be consumed by the priest or poured out on consecrated ground, and the vessels had to be washed in a special sink that was plumbed directly to consecrated ground rather than into the regular plumbing system. There was one lady on the Altar Guild with me who was scandalized by an associate priest who she felt was a bit too cavalier in his handling of the host during service because, "I just know they are hoovering up the Body of Christ every week when they clean." Clearly, the teaching was that the elements were substantially and permanently altered in some way.

 

I hope my question about the difference isn't seen as too picayunish or as combative in some way. As I am no longer a Christian of any sort, I don't have a dog in this fight, as they say.:) I'm just really trying to understand the nuance correctly and why my memory of it is apparently so different than current terminology or teaching because it's an intellectual irritant to have unresolved questions.

Edited by KarenNC
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This is a really dumb question, but say I am in a state of mortal sin and I am Catholic.  If I don't participate in communion, will people around me notice and wonder what sin I might be committing that I didn't participate?  Or is it just that there are often many who don't participate for whatever reason, so it is no big deal.

 

Not sure if I am wording this correctly.

It's no big deal. Reasons people don't go up for communion:

 

1. Murdered someone since their last confession.

2. Divorced and civilly remarried.

3. Didn't observe the fast.

4. Already received communion at an earlier mass.

5. Not currently disposed (feeling angry; haven't been to confession in a long time; daydreamed through mass)

6. Not Catholic.

 

Personally, I like to assume that someone who stays in her pew is in Category 1. It makes mass more interesting.

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It's no big deal. Reasons people don't go up for communion:

 

1. Murdered someone since their last confession.

2. Divorced and civilly remarried.

3. Didn't observe the fast.

4. Already received communion at an earlier mass.

5. Not currently disposed (feeling angry; haven't been to confession in a long time; daydreamed through mass)

6. Not Catholic.

 

Personally, I like to assume that someone who stays in her pew is in Category 1. It makes mass more interesting.

 

 

I like how "no big deal" was followed by "murdered someone"

 

HAHA!

 

And really, I am sure whoever it was deserved to be murdered.   :lol:

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I'm an Episcopalian who regularly attends Catholic Mass with my Catholic family. I go up and get my blessing every week. No one (except my preschooler) has ever asked why I don't receive communion. It is completely and utterly normal. Receiving a blessing instead of communion is also perfectly acceptable at an Episcopal service. Much more fun to go up with the crowd than stay in the pews, right?

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Religion nerd here, and admittedly have not been part of the Episcopal Church for over 20 years. I don't want to derail, but my curiosity is piqued. Could you point me to something that explains the difference between consubstantiation and Real Presence? I'm having trouble finding anything online other than how Real Presence is not transubstantiation. Both my husband and I remember consubstantiation being the specific term used in our classes for confirmation (in the late 80s for me, early 90s for him) but don't remember the particular phrase Real Presence, and I don't recall coming across it in the three years of the Education for Ministry classes I did (also in the late 80s, maybe it was in year 4?). Perhaps it's a change in terminology?

 

"REal Presence" is actually a different catagory.  That is, it can be used to describe a lot of theories or ways of explaining the Eucharist.  Pretty much any that say that Christ is really present in the Eucharist count as "real presence".  So, Transubstantiation, or a spiritualist view would probably both count - a memorialist view would not, or one that said it was only symbolic.

 

Part of the difficulty is that a lot of these terms or theories are much less specific or open to interpretation than people think.

 

Transubstantiation, in Catholicism, for example, can actually be understood in a few different ways that are all considered perfectly proper.  And some people's popular conceptions aren't considered very theologically accurate, but they are very common even among some clergy.  OTOH, if you look at St Thomas' classic explanation, you find that it is actually closer to some of the high Protestant views you see among Lutherans.

 

There are actually quite a few Anglican/Episcopalians who believe in transubstantiation.  The idea that they don't generally comes from the Articles of Religion, written in the reformation period.  THe thing is, they really were referring to some very specific ideas about what transubstantiation meant, that aren't necessarily the case.

 

Consusbtantiation wasn't originally a Lutheran idea at all - it was use, IIRC, by a Catholic theologian to describe what he thought Lutherans believed.  Some Lutherans will use the word, but many others argue that it gives the wrong impression.

 

And then there are theories that say the body and blood are "spiritually" present.  Some say this means that it isn't physically present, but theologians haven't necessarily meant it in that way - they have in many cases meant it in the same way that Paul uses the term, to indicate the material reality perfected - the idea that flesh will really be flesh, but wholly spiritual, in the new world.  In part this way of speaking was used to differentiate from some popular Catholic views that pictured the Eucharist as actually being made of meat and blood - there were many popularly believed miracles at one time along these lines, for example.  But this is the sort of idea that St Thomas actually wrote against.

 

The idea of real presence then refers to all of these.  Many Episcopal, and the Orthodox as well, like to use it because it affirms what is required for orthodoxy without getting to much into speculation and theorizing about how that occurs.

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No that's not what I meant, however, I do think that if you truly believe that the Eucharist is the actual flesh and blood of Jesus, it is more "serious" than if you believe communion is a recreation and commemoration of the Last Supper. I mean, I grew up in the Methodist church. If someone dropped a wafer, no big deal just don't get the carpet dirty. In the Catholic Church, you will have a major effort to retrieve it, and written procedures about how to do it. I'm just pointing out the differences in theology. My nine year old daughter even noticed, after attending services at a Methodist church, by saying, that preacher doesn't take communion as seriously as Father does. I'm not trying to say I'm right and you're wrong, or Jesus doesn't love you, or whatever. I'm just saying that, as a lifelong Protestant who has converted to Catholic, that Protestants in general do not view communion with the same seriousness and reverence as Catholics. Episcopalians and Lutherans are close. Before I entirely offend everyone...it's not my intention. We say Protestants are our brothers and sisters in Christ and think they are going to Heaven too.

 

Priests bless communion wafers, and during mass, any that don't get dispersed during the communion part of the service-- get eaten by the priest.  No saving for later, and obviously, can't be discarded.  So there is a portion of the service that is quietly munch munch munch .

 

My comment about "worship" above, I realize now, was literally about the sacrament of communion.  It is not "we're better / our communion is more sacred".  It's, this is a profound act of worship that you make only after you've made a public vow. And have mentally checked off that you are in a state of grace.   It is as sacred as getting baptized.  This doesn't make it better than any act of worship in any other religious group. Just, when I read "they invited us to worship with them" , my mind went to sacraments. To the most humble acts of accepting grace with reverence. I have no idea what that's like in other churches, I only know, what my own experience was.

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"REal Presence" is actually a different catagory.  That is, it can be used to describe a lot of theories or ways of explaining the Eucharist.  Pretty much any that say that Christ is really present in the Eucharist count as "real presence".  So, Transubstantiation, or a spiritualist view would probably both count - a memorialist view would not, or one that said it was only symbolic.

 

Part of the difficulty is that a lot of these terms or theories are much less specific or open to interpretation than people think.

 

Transubstantiation, in Catholicism, for example, can actually be understood in a few different ways that are all considered perfectly proper.  And some people's popular conceptions aren't considered very theologically accurate, but they are very common even among some clergy.  OTOH, if you look at St Thomas' classic explanation, you find that it is actually closer to some of the high Protestant views you see among Lutherans.

 

There are actually quite a few Anglican/Episcopalians who believe in transubstantiation.  The idea that they don't generally comes from the Articles of Religion, written in the reformation period.  THe thing is, they really were referring to some very specific ideas about what transubstantiation meant, that aren't necessarily the case.

 

Consusbtantiation wasn't originally a Lutheran idea at all - it was use, IIRC, by a Catholic theologian to describe what he thought Lutherans believed.  Some Lutherans will use the word, but many others argue that it gives the wrong impression.

 

And then there are theories that say the body and blood are "spiritually" present.  Some say this means that it isn't physically present, but theologians haven't necessarily meant it in that way - they have in many cases meant it in the same way that Paul uses the term, to indicate the material reality perfected - the idea that flesh will really be flesh, but wholly spiritual, in the new world.  In part this way of speaking was used to differentiate from some popular Catholic views that pictured the Eucharist as actually being made of meat and blood - there were many popularly believed miracles at one time along these lines, for example.  But this is the sort of idea that St Thomas actually wrote against.

 

The idea of real presence then refers to all of these.  Many Episcopal, and the Orthodox as well, like to use it because it affirms what is required for orthodoxy without getting to much into speculation and theorizing about how that occurs.

 

Thanks, that's quite helpful. :)

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So glad you enjoyed your visit DawnM! Love, love, love our Episcopal church. Their motto is God Loves You. No Exceptions. It's such a kind and welcoming place. Our rector hugs everyone who greets him after the service if they're OK with that and he is so sweet. My youngest, who isn't baptized yet (for reasons) gets a blessing during the Eucharist. She was so pleased yesterday because the deacon didn't realize the associate priest had already given her a blessing, so she got two. They say the loveliest things to her.

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Priests bless communion wafers, and during mass, any that don't get dispersed during the communion part of the service-- get eaten by the priest. No saving for later, and obviously, can't be discarded. So there is a portion of the service that is quietly munch munch munch .

 

My comment about "worship" above, I realize now, was literally about the sacrament of communion. It is not "we're better / our communion is more sacred". It's, this is a profound act of worship that you make only after you've made a public vow. And have mentally checked off that you are in a state of grace. It is as sacred as getting baptized. This doesn't make it better than any act of worship in any other religious group. Just, when I read "they invited us to worship with them" , my mind went to sacraments. To the most humble acts of accepting grace with reverence. I have no idea what that's like in other churches, I only know, what my own experience was.

This isn't quite accurate. There is often "saving for later" the hosts that don't get consumed. They are put into the tabernacle. This is referred to as being "in reserve". It's the reason the red tabernacle candle is lit - to let people know that Christ is "Really Present" in the tabernacle and to act accordingly in the church. On Holy Thursday, the light is extinguished because there is no Blessed Sacrament in reserve again until Easter.

 

From my parish bulletin: The Eucharist is reserved for private prayer in both Churches. The Little Church remains open 24 hours a day every day for those who wish to visit the Lord and pray.

 

The priest (or Extraordinary Minister) does consume any leftover wine, however.

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This isn't quite accurate. There is often "saving for later" the hosts that don't get consumed. They are put into the tabernacle. This is referred to as being "in reserve". It's the reason the red tabernacle candle is lit - to let people know that Christ is "Really Present" in the tabernacle and to act accordingly in the church. On Holy Thursday, the light is extinguished because there is no Blessed Sacrament in reserve again until Easter.

 

From my parish bulletin: The Eucharist is reserved for private prayer in both Churches. The Little Church remains open 24 hours a day every day for those who wish to visit the Lord and pray.

 

The priest (or Extraordinary Minister) does consume any leftover wine, however.

I agree. And it's definitely not the kids in the kitchen snacking on the host for sure, as it was in the Methodist church with the leftovers. :)

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