Last month, in response to our centerstage story about UCC congregations offering Holy Communion to the non-baptized, we asked, "What's a faithful church to do?" Here's a look at just a few of your many responses. We'll run more in October.
Count me with those who object to the opening of communion to unconfirmed persons. The relaxation of the test of commitment and conviction is another example of the dilution of standards. Society has fallen to it. Now the church wavers in the same indecisiveness. Standards in society and doctrines in the church are rapidly becoming oxymorons. The UCC is more and more standing for next to nothing in tradition and doctrine.
The Rev. Lester L. Ringer (retired)
My husband took his scout troop to a Catholic church. The priest refused one scout communion because he was not Catholic. This boy is an eagle scout and a missionary. Would Jesus have turned the boy form his table? Accepted people become new members. I started going to church after I was married. I took my first communion and later was baptized. Had I been refused communion, I might never have been baptized or attend church.
Elizabeth G. Abbott
West Lebanon (N.H.) Congregational UCC
If a person professes to accept Jesus as their savior, participates in church services and attends regularly—yes, they should be able to take communion without being baptized. Example: the thief on the cross with Jesus accepted him as savior, and Jesus said, "Today you shall be with me in paradise." The thief didn't have time to get down from the cross and be baptized, so it is not crucial for a person [to be baptized] to be served communion. I believe in being baptized, but that doesn't save you; only what is in your heart and faith in Jesus saves you.
Janet B. Baker
New Providence, Pa.
As a dentist, I practice based on the knowledge obtained in dental school in addition to reading text books written by leading authorities in my profession. We should deal with theological questions the same way. It does not matter what a survey concludes, or what I say. It matters what God's revelation to us in the Bible says. We must read it and study it to know God's answer.
Silver Lake (Ohio) UCC
Why does Rev. Fackre find inclusivity marks "a sad day for the UCC?" I am baptized and con- firmed. I listen carefully to the communion invitation as I worship in various congregations to hear whether I am included. Sometimes I effectively am told "our tradition (this religious institution) does not include you." That's pretty offensive. Must be even more offsetting to those not baptized or confirmed—searchers.
East Lansing, Mich.
All people, baptized or not, should be welcomed at Christ's table. Jesus often ate with sinners. A recurring Gospel theme is God's inclusion of those whom society excludes. It is theologically appropriate to include all who wish to find Christ in the sacrament. Gabe Fackre says this puts the UCC "outside the mainstream of our ecumenical partners." I say it is just another example of the UCC leading the way.
The Rev. Paul Bryant-Smith
First Congregational UCC, River Edge, N.J.