The Lord’s Supper is celebrated in this congregation in the confession and glad confidence that, as He says, our Lord gives into our mouths not only bread and wine but His very body and blood to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of sins and to strengthen our union with Him and with one another.
In loving concern for a proper reception of the Sacrament, Trinity congregation is guided by the following admonition from St. Paul:
Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. – 1 Corinthians 11:27-29
Observing this biblical qualification, Trinity congregation offers Holy Communion to those individuals who have been instructed in and share our oneness of faith and doctrine. This includes those who hold membership in a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregation as well as other Lutherans who in appropriate circumstances, come under Trinity’s pastoral care.
On the Sacrament of Holy Communion
At Trinity Lutheran Church
What does Trinity teach about the Sacrament of the Altar?
It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink (Small Catechism).
As the words of Christ declare, the Sacrament is no mere symbol or meal of remembrance, but His true body and blood (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26).
Why can’t everyone take communion at Trinity?
St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord…For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” Our communion practice is out of concern for our neighbors, that no one eat and drink in an unworthy manner, and thus bring judgment upon himself.
Who receives Holy Communion worthily?
That person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe. (Small Catechism)
But you don’t have to be a member of this congregation to receive Holy Communion in a worthy manner, do you?
Certainly not! Worthily eating and drinking is a matter of faith in the words of Christ. However, our policy and practice is that all members of congregations in fellowship with our church body, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) are welcome to join us at the altar. Exceptions to this policy are at the pastor’s discretion and always following pastoral conversation. This policy is simply an aid to the pastor in providing the best possible pastoral care for you.
Is my congregation in fellowship with the LCMS?
If your congregation is a member of the LCMS, or the American Association of Lutheran Churches (TAALC), then yes, you are in fellowship. Additionally, many Lutheran churches in other countries are in fellowship with the LCMS.
Aren’t all Lutheran churches in fellowship with the LCMS?
No. There are many Lutheran churches that disagree over some of the basic teachings of the Lutheran Church. Because of this disagreement, not every Lutheran Church is in fellowship with the LCMS.
What if I’m not sure about my congregation?
If you’re unsure if your congregation is in fellowship with the LCMS, makes sure to speak with the pastor before you come to the Holy Communion.
What if I’m not Lutheran?
Churches of other traditions (Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, nondenominational etc.) also have various disagreements on core teachings of the Christian faith. It is necessary to be in agreement regarding sin and grace, the person of Jesus, and the nature of the Sacraments before expressing fellowship in Holy Communion. The pastor is able to help you understand the differences between the teachings of your church and the Lutheran Church.
Isn’t it offensive to visitors to keep some from Holy Communion?
It may be. But we don’t ask visitors to do anything different than we ask of our own members. Each member of this congregation, as well as members of other LCMS congregations, have first been instructed in the Christian faith as it is taught in the Lutheran Church, and examined by a pastor before being formally welcomed to receive Holy Communion in our churches.
I like what your church teaches; how do I join your fellowship?
Trinity regularly offers adult classes to teach the basics of the Christian faith. After a time of instruction, adults are offered the opportunity to confess their faith and be received into the fellowship of this congregation. Please speak to the pastor if you would like to explore this option further.
I’m a visitor from another congregation that’s in fellowship with the LCMS, what do I do?
It is helpful to the pastor for you to make arrangements to speak to him before the service. He may ask a few questions about your congregation and your faith and life in order to begin a pastoral relationship with you. Please don’t expect the pastor to commune you if he does not know you.
What do I need to know about taking Holy Communion at Trinity?
Ushers will dismiss you from your pew to line up along the side aisle. When the previous table has been dismissed, fill in along the railing beginning in the center, and the pastor will welcome you to the Lord’s altar. You may kneel to receive the Sacrament. The Lord’s blood is offered in a common chalice or in individual cups.
When the pastor dismisses the table, return to your seat down the center aisle.
For more information, please see What about Fellowship in the Lord’s Supper?