The Sacrament of Communion During Vespers

An Invitation to the Lord’s Table

Shadyside Presbyterian Church regularly celebrates the Sacrament of Communion during our midweek evening services on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., especially during the seasons of Advent and Lent. Options are available for those participating both on-site and online.

Regardless of the way each of us will choose to receive the bread and cup during vespers, we remain in full communion with one another and with all the saints through our one Lord, Jesus Christ.

  • For those who attend worship on-site, several options will be offered for Communion.
    • Ushers will invite you to come forward by way of the center aisle. At the Chancel steps, you will receive a piece of bread from the pastor and a cup from one of the Communion servers. After communing, please return to your seat using the side aisles.
    • If you prefer to remain in your pew to commune, we will be glad to bring the elements to you. Alternatively, you may use the pre-packaged elements available in the Narthex.
    • Gluten-free, vegan Communion wafers also are available in the Narthex for those who prefer them.
  • Those who are unable to attend worship in the Sanctuary may celebrate Communion virtually through our worship livestream. In this unprecedented time, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has approved the online celebration of Communion (Communion in an Emergency/Pandemic). Please see below for additional suggestions to prepare for virtual Communion.

Preparations for Celebrating Virtual Communion

In preparation for the Sacrament, we invite you to look through your own kitchen to find “bread and beverage.” While there is rich symbolism in the elements we traditionally use to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Church also has a long history of using the most fitting materials that are readily available in any given time and setting. So feel free to be creative and use what you have on hand.

Prior to our time of worship, please prepare your worship space. Have ready the device on which you will view the service, the bulletin (available online in the worship archive) which will enable you to more fully participate in the service, and the elements you will use for Communion. Have your “bread” ready on a plate and your “beverage” poured. Any vessels will do, but you might consider using special dishes to help you remember that this is a holy meal, set apart from our regular meals. If it is safe to do so, you also may want to light a candle and place it by your prepared Communion elements. Through the light, may you be reminded that Christ is present with us all in this meal.

During worship, you will be guided through the celebration and reception of the Lord’s Supper. Whether or not you are a member of Shadyside Presbyterian Church, we invite you to prepare your hearts to receive this Sacrament as a means of grace. For Christ is our host, and He invites all who seek Him to partake of this holy meal.

Some possibilities for bread:

  • any kind of bread
  • crackers
  • cookies
  • chips
  • tortilla
  • pita

Note: If you have time and want to involve your family with a meaningful activity in preparation for Communion, consider baking a special loaf of bread together. Please contact Ellen Allston, Director of Christian Education for Children’s Ministry, who has shared several recipes with families by email.

Some possibilities for beverage:

  • grape juice
  • any other type of juice
  • wine
  • water

Photograph: The Chalice, Flagon, and Plate used on World Communion Sunday, October 1, 2017, were dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Momoko H. Mills. For decades, Momoko faithfully prepared the Lord’s Table in our Sanctuary with humble reverence and deep love. Commissioned by Shadyside Presbyterian Church, the Communion set was fashioned by Deacon Garret B. Smith. We give thanks to God both for Momoko’s caring service and for Garret’s talented craftsmanship. Also visible above in detail is the damask linen from Damascus which was a gift from Mark A. Anderson to Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Photograph taken by Nick Conti.