Communion and Virtual Worship at Hope Church
Questions and Answers
April 3, 2020
Q: What is ‘communion’ in our faith tradition?
A: Hope Church is a part of the world-wide collection of ‘Reformed’ churches which gather in various denominations. We are a part of the Reformed Church in America (R.C.A.), the oldest continuous Protestant denomination in the United States. We believe that ‘communion’ is understood as ‘The Lord’s Supper’, meaning that what we are doing is an act of remembrance of the night Jesus was betrayed, took bread, gave thanks, broke it and shared it with his disciples.
Q: Why is The Lord’s Supper called a Sacrament?
A: Jesus instructed his followers to remember him in this way whenever we break the bread and drink the cup. This makes it a ‘holy instruction’ from our Lord to the church. It is a sacred, ‘set apart’ act in which we commune with Christ and with each other and with the saints.
Q: Do we need ‘holy bread’ and ‘holy wine’?
A: No. We do not believe that the bread and wine (juice) are transformed into holy elements. So, you may use bread or crackers, regular or gluten free. You may use wine or grape juice or any juice. What makes The Lord’s Supper ‘holy’ is the act of remembering Jesus in our prayers, in sharing the bread and cup, and in recognizing that as we do so Jesus Christ himself joins us at the Table! What a blessing to know that Christ is with us as we ‘dine’ together!
Q: What then is our attitude to bring to the Table?
A: Reverent Joy! We celebrate the Risen Christ every time we partake of the Supper. We celebrate the presence of Christ; we celebrate the hope that we are given there that Christ will come again when we shall behold him face to face and be made like unto him in glory! Oh joy!
Q: How will we be able to share the elements in a virtual worship experience?
A: The prayers and invitation will be offered at the Sanctuary Table, as always. Everyone watching will be joined physically via the ‘remote connection’ of livestream, but more importantly, via the Spirit of Christ who lives in each of us. As Christ is truly present at the Table, and as Christ is truly present in all of God’s Children, we will be one in the Spirit at the Table. So, as each one at home around your own tables, shares and partakes in the breaking of the Bread and the drinking of the Cup, we will be doing what Jesus taught us: remembering Christ’s death and resurrection, communing with Christ and each other, and expressing our hope that we will soon be reunited physically with each other in this church and with Christ.
Hope Church is a member of the Reformed Church in America, the oldest protestant denomination in America with a continuous history. It was established in New York in 1628. It is a historic denomination coming out of the Reformation when the Church was "reformed" according to the Word of God. The Church is Reformed in belief, with a Presbyterian form of government.
Hope Church was founded in 1891 by a group of Dutch immigrants. In 1938, the present sanctuary at 6th Street and Ontario Avenue in Sheboygan was built. In 1982, the attached Faith Center, containing church offices and Sunday School rooms, was completed. In 1999, the Wynveen Hope House, formerly the pastor's residence, was converted from housing to a meeting facility and is now used as a Youth Center and for various church and community meetings.
Hope Church has not only cared for our own members but has sought to bless our community and our world. In 1958, Bethany Church was founded on the south side of Sheboygan by members of Hope Church. The 10 acres of land on which there campus now sits was given as a gift to Bethany Church.
Through the years 20 sons and daughters of Hope Church have gone into full-time ministry over the years. Many also served in short-term missions and gone on mission trips to several people in need in the US and around the world.
…about God: God is love. We are drawn to God by overwhelming, unconditional, irresistible love. God is one and three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
…about Jesus: Jesus is the Son of God, fully God and fully human. Jesus is Lord of our lives. Jesus is a friend and a brother. Jesus saves. Jesus is alive.
…about the Bible: The final truth about our salvation is found in the Bible, God-inspired words, preserved by the Holy Spirit, to help us know God and God’s will.
…about Salvation: Because of our sin we cannot save ourselves from eternal death. We are saved by the work of Jesus on the Cross. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone.
…about the Church: we exist to worship God and to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. We are a covenant community accountable to God and each other.
…about Discipleship: all believers are called to be transformed and transforming followers of Jesus Christ, bringing mercy and compassionate justice to children, families and communities.
…about Prayer: God offers us this most important way to engage in a two-way conversation with God. Prayer is vital for our lives and our families.
…about Serving Together: God calls both men and women to serve alongside each other as Teachers of God’s Word and to the Church Offices of Minister of Word and Sacrament, Elder and Deacon.