Notes on Holy Communion on Sundays in the Absence of a Priest
Diocese of Kansas, Trial Liturgy 2020 – for use only by those authorized by the bishop
(See General Convention Resolution 2015-A044 – Direct Provision of Regular Communion for Congregations)
Holy Eucharist celebrated by a priest is desired for all congregations within the diocese on Sundays. It is hoped that the clergy of our Minster Teams will endeavor to make this goal a reality.
However, when leaders of a congregation have tried and been unable to secure the sacramental leadership of a priest for their principle worship service on a Sunday, they may use this service so that all people in the Diocese of Kansas are able to receive the sacrament at least once a month.
Permission from the bishop
Parishes must request to use this rite and only do so as authorized by the bishop. Such authorization will be given for a year following the request or the training of a new Minister of the Word or Minister of Reserved Sacrament.
Who leads this Holy Communion in the Absence of a Priest?
There are always to be two persons officiating at this service. The Minister of the Word leads the first half of the service. The Minister of Reserved Sacrament leads the second half of the service.
These may be deacons, already licensed Worship Leaders or Eucharistic Ministers. Other lay persons may also be trained for this rite alone.
Training and theological formation
Beginning in Eastertide 2020, all persons wishing to serve as either Minister of the Word or Minister of Reserved Sacrament for Holy Communion in the Absence of a Priest will have to undergo training prepared by the diocesan Liturgy, Music, and the Arts Task Force. It will include some theological material. Ideally, the training will happen at the Minster level and be from a one-half to one-full day event. Persons trained will be certified, with a record of that certification kept on file in the diocesan office. The certificates will be signed by the bishop.
A few specifics
Priests of the Minster should ensure enough sacrament in both kinds is consecrated for several Communions in the Absence of a Priest.
No one person “officiates,” and neither Minister stands behind the altar.
If a deacon is present, he or she should read the gospel according to the normal practice of the congregation. Otherwise, the gospel reading is read by a lector as at Morning or Evening Prayer. Lectors and intercessors are normally persons other than the Minister of the Word or the Minister of Reserved Sacrament, just as at an ordinary celebration of the Eucharist.
If there is a deacon or Licensed Preacher in the congregation, he or she should preach. If there is no Licensed Preacher in a congregation, the Minister of the Word is to lead a conversation of about 5-10 minutes about the lessons of the day. General questions and approach will come from the Liturgy, Music and the Arts Task Force this year. The Minister of the Word also may use “Sermons that Work” or “Synthesis” materials to guide discussions.
Before the service begins, a corporal, chalice and paten should be on the credence table. After the Peace, the corporal, chalice and paten are moved to the corner or center front of the altar.
The Reserved Sacrament should be placed on the side or front of the altar. Some parishes may wish to have a procession with candles to retrieve the communion elements from the Reserved Sacrament.
A kit for communion for home and hospital visits may be sent out by the Minister of Reserved Sacrament, after worshippers have received.
The liturgy for use in providing Holy Communion on Sundays in the Absence of a Priest is available as a 4-page PDF.