Practices of Faith in the United Church of Christ


"In accordance with the teaching of our Lord and the practice prevailing among evangelical Christians, the United Church of Christ recognizes two sacraments: Baptism and the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion."

- From the Preamble to the Constitution of the United Church of Christ

"The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.'"

- 1 Corinthians 11:23-25

"When Jesus was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him."

- Luke 24:30-31

"Here, O my Lord, I see you face to face; here would I touch and handle things unseen. Here grasp with firmer hand the eternal grace, and all my weariness upon you lean."

- Horatius Bonar, 1855.

What is a Sacrament in the United Church of Christ?

Sacraments are ritual actions in worship which, according to Scripture, were instituted by Jesus. In the sacraments of baptism and communion, we ask the Holy Spirit to use water, bread, and wine to make visible the grace, forgiveness, and presence of God in Christ.

The Origin of Communion

The communion meal recalls the table fellowship Jesus shared with his disciples, and in particular the Last Supper on the night before his death as well as his appearances to the disciples during meals following his resurrection. Throughout its history, these biblical events have been central to the Church's worship life.

The Meaning of Communion

In the sacrament of Holy Communion, also called the Lord's Supper or Eucharist, meaning "thanksgiving," Christians hear, taste, touch, and receive the grace of God revealed through Jesus Christ in a unique way.

Communion is:

A joyous act of thanksgiving for all God has done, is doing, and will do for the redeeming of creation.

A sacred memorial of the crucified and risen Christ, a living and effective sign of Christ's sacrifice in which Christ is truly and rightly present to those who eat and drink.

An earnest prayer for the presence of the Holy Spirit to unite those who partake with the Risen Christ and with each other, and to restore creation, making all things new.

An intimate experience of fellowship in which the whole church in every time and place is present and divisions are overcome.

A hopeful sign of the promised Realm of God marked by justice, love, and peace.

The United Church of Christ Book of Worship reminds us that "the invitation and the call [to the supper] celebrate not only the memory of a meal that is past, but an actual meal with the risen Christ that is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet at which Christ will preside at the end of history."

More Questions:

The broken bread and poured wine represent - present anew - the crucified and risen Christ. The wheat gathered to bake on loaf and the grapes pressed to make one cup remind participants that they are one boyd in Christ, while the breaking and pouring announce the costliness of Christ's sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. Some churches provide non-alcoholic and gluten-free elements. As we grow increasingly aware of the rich cultural diversity of the church, the use of elements other than bread and wine is becoming and issue for global ecumenical reflection.

St. John usually passes bread, wafers, wine, and grape juice on trays, one to another. Gluten-free elements will be made available upon request.