"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."
Preamble to the Constitution of the United Church of Christ.
Communion is celebrated on the first Sunday of each month and on some other special occasions. The table is open to all persons who seek to know the love of God as made known through Jesus Christ. A desire to participate is the only profession of faith required. Children are welcome to receive communion at the discretion of their parents.
The communion meal recalls the table fellowship Jesus shared with his disciples, and in particular the Last Supper on the night before his death. His appearances to the disciples during meals following his resurrection is also remembered during communion. This sacred meal is central to Christian worship.
At this holy meal we hear, taste, touch and receive the grace of God revealed through Jesus Christ in a unique way. Communion is an act of joyous thanksgiving for Gods's love and grace. Our participation is a sign of our hope in the promises of God for justice, love and peace throughout the world.
At St. John's we have an open table meaning that anyone who seeks to know the love of God as made known through Jesus Christ is welcome. This is different than other traditions. This sermon provides some of the story and theology about why we engage in this practice.
The sacrament of baptism is an outward and visible sign of the grace of God. Through baptism a person is joined with the universal church, the body of Christ. In baptism, God works in us the power of forgiveness, the renewal of the spirit, and the knowledge of the call to be God's people always.
Baptism with water and the Holy Spirit is the sign and seal of our common discipleship. Since baptism is God's gift, the Holy Spirit is called to be upon the water and those being baptized. The act of baptism also marks the beginning of new life of discipleship with Christ, the human response to that gift.
For infants and children, as well as for youth and adults who have never been baptized before, baptism marks their acceptance into the care of Christ's church, the sign and seal of God's grace and forgiveness, and the beginning of their Christian faith and life.
The United Church of Christ recognizes the validity of all baptisms, therefore there is no need for