World Communion Sunday – 1st Sunday in October

World Communion Sunday is a celebration observed by several Christian denominations, taking place on the first Sunday of every October, that promotes Christian unity and ecumenical cooperation.

Liturgy for World Communion Sunday (Canada)

Holy Communion for World Communion Sunday by Maren Tirabassi

Liturgy for World Communion Sunday 2021 by Thom Shuman
(specific context is disruption of COVID19 on gathering together.  

This video from Uniting World (prepared for Lent 2022) has lovely images from churches in different countries and could be incorporated into a service.

Call to worship
Gathering God, joined as one family
we come to worship you today,
mindful of the breathing
of the life that you have called into being
across countries and climates;
all creatures and all creeds.

Jesus, teacher friend,
today you call us to your table
and invite us to feed on you,
so that we might then feed others.
Let our hunger for justice
and our desire for peace
never be exhausted
until all your children are safe and fed.

Life-giving Spirit,
let the words that reach our open ears
and your movement in our souls
in this time together
bless, comfort and disturb us.
So that the work of your servants here
may be directed along the right paths
for the sake of the world,
And all the people say: Amen.
(Source: Rev. Jennie Gordon)

Triune God,
We praise you as the God of love and life.
Though Jesus prayed that we would be one,
We confess that we fail to live in unity with each other and with you.
We break our communion through hostile words and unkind actions.
We long for your Spirit to heal us and to correct us.
We long for you to help us experience communion with you and with each other
As we gather around your Word [and table].
Even now, dependent on your grace, we commit ourselves to live more fully in the unity you desire.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN.
(Source: The Worship Sourcebook, Second Edition © 2013, Faith Alive)

A Blessing for World Communion Sunday
And the table
will be wide.
And the welcome
will be wide.
And the arms
will open wide
to gather us in.
And our hearts
will open wide
to receive.

And we will come
as children who trust
there is enough.
And we will come
unhindered and free.
And our aching
will be met
with bread.
And our sorrow
will be met
with wine.

And we will open our hands
to the feast
without shame.
And we will turn
toward each other
without fear.
And we will give up
our appetite
for despair.
And we will taste
and know
of delight.

And we will become bread
for a hungering world.
And we will become drink
for those who thirst.
And the blessed
will become the blessing.
And everywhere
will be the feast.
(Source: Jan Richardson, Painted Prayerbook)

2011 World Communion Sunday – people in many parts of the world were asked to send greetings, and they were made them into postcards to give out to people as part of our prayers for others.

From a sermon by Diana Bass, “Jesus Takes a Knee”, for World Communion Sunday (text Phil 2:1-13): “These beautiful words in Philippians point toward the finality of all Caesars and all throne rooms. In Jesus, hierarchies of power, based in honor and loyalty fall. Their delusions revealed for what they are: shame and violence. These throne rooms give way to banquet rooms, a high chair of glory replaced by a table of compassion and sympathy and humility, where all feast and serve. To enter this room, we do kneel – we kneel in imitation of Jesus, the One who invited us to this meal by taking the form of a slave and washed our feet. This exultation is the exultation of loving our neighbor, not a exultation of power whereby Christians rule as some new Caesar. No. The rule of Jesus is that of bended knee. Not toward him, but with him, and toward one another in endless mercy.”

Table Blessing
To your table
you bid us come.
You have set the places,
you have poured the wine,
and there is always room,
you say,
for one more.

And so we come.
From the streets
and from the alleys
we come.
From the deserts
and from the hills
we come.
From the ravages of poverty
and from the palaces of privilege
we come.

we come.

We are bloodied with our wars,
we are wearied with our wounds,
we carry our dead within us,
and we reckon with their ghosts.

We hold the seeds of healing,
we dream of a new creation,
we know the things
that make for peace,
and we struggle to give them wings.

And yet, to your table
we come.
Hungering for your bread,
we come;
thirsting for your wine,
we come;
singing your song
in every language,
speaking your name
in every tongue,
in conflict and in communion,
in discord and in desire,
we come,
O God of Wisdom,
we come
(Source: Jan L. Richardson from In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season)

O risen Christ,
You made yourself known to the disciples in the breaking of bread at Emmaus;
Through our sharing in the bread of life in our many Christian communions,
Open our eyes and hands to the needs of all peoples.
Let our hearts burn to share your gifts and help us go forth with one another with bread:
Bread of hope, bread of life, bread of peace. Amen.
(Source: The Worship Sourcebook, Second Edition © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources)


The narrative of the Lord’s supper

St Paul writes: The tradition which I handed on to you came to me from the Lord himself: that on the night of his arrest the Lord Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks to God broke it and said: ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in memory of me.’
In the same way, he took the cup after supper, and said: ‘This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this in memory of me.’ For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes.

The invitation
These are the words that have echoed in the mouths and hearts of countless followers through countless generations who have gathered round a table in community breaking bread and sharing the fruit of the vine with Christ, our Saviour. And today we share in this sacred meal, joined as one body in Christ with Christians all around the world this day – in grand cathedrals, in tiny churches, in homes, and shared in many languages and cultures. We gather around this table where Christ is host and we – disciples of Christ, those baptised in Christ – are the guests invited to share this sacred meal.

The Great prayer of thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God, for you watch over the strangers and the needy and raise us from death to new life. You made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. You raised up prophets among your people and through them spoke your word of life and truth. Jesus lived among us as One who showed compassion, who opened the eyes of the blind, lifted up those who were bowed down, gave food to the hungry, and set free the prisoners of death. When the powers of death rose against him and destroyed him, you spoke your word of life again, raising him to new life, as the revelation of your grace who will reign forever in justice and truth. So, we lift our voices, filled with joy, joining them with the glad songs of every place and generation, all creation praising your name:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. 

Heaven and earth are full of your glory, 

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. 

Hosanna in the highest. 

The prayer of consecration

We thank you that your Spirit is poured out on all people. Send your Spirit now on us and on these gifts of bread and wine, that we may know Christ’s presence, real and true, and be his faithful followers showing your love for the world.
Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,  all honour and glory are yours forever. Amen.

Breaking of the bread
The bread, the life of Christ, broken. 
The cup of salvation, God’s love poured out for all people. 
The gifts of God for the people of God.
Communion is shared

Prayer after communion
We have been fed with the bread of life, the life of Christ: let this holy food sustain us through our earthly pilgrimage until we come to that place where hunger and thirst are no more; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Words of mission and benediction 
May God’s grace flow freely in our life together.
May Christ’s love take us on a  journey of compassion.
And may God’s Spirit grant us courage to act with love. Amen.

2020 Holy Communion for World Communion Sunday (full text)
by Maren Tirabassi
Whenever we celebrate World Communion Sunday, we imagine all the tables of the world, but often we are physically gazing at our own church’s table dressed up a bit in our familiar sanctuary and it is only our words that reach out. Strangely enough, this year, with our community dispersed physically (even churches with some folks in a sanctuary with physical distancing have others who continue in virtual community) we are living what our liturgy has been telling us for eighty-seven World Communion years – that we are one people across all barriers.
Announcement … for late September
Next Sunday, October 5, is World Communion Sunday. Those who are blessing and receiving the sacrament at home, please prepare a slice or small loaf of bread, corn tortilla, or rice cake or what is sacramental and joyful to share and a cup or small cups of juice — perhaps grape or cranberry — or wine, with or without alcohol, or coffee, or coconut water all of which are used in worship in different places. In addition, you are invited to spend this week praying for a country in the world which is not your own. Often on this occasion we celebrate the “world” in a particularly generic “global” way rather than actually thinking about real places. For the days leading to World Communion Sunday choose one country to pray for – it may be in the news or may be one that you have visited or may be part of your ethnic heritage or may be one with a cuisine you find delicious or a writer or artist who inspires you. There is no right or wrong choice. Read an online article on this country – its history, its products, its religious heritage, the challenges it faces right now, certainly including how it stands in this pandemic. Learn a word in one of its languages – maybe peace or gratitude or blessing. Google translate is a helpful resource and includes an audio pronunciation feature. You might even find a recipe to make sometime this week. This too will be communion.

We prepare our tables and our hearts.
Call to Worship
The whole world is in God’s hands.
Everything that lives and breathes.
Everything that simply is. Everything.
From the farthest spaces, to the inmost places!
God is with us and we are with God. Alleluia!
As people of Christ, gathered at table,
with our sisters and brothers around the world,
to remember whose we are, we praise —
Alleluia! Thanks be to God!
Shall we pray?
With all that we have, with all that we are,
we worship you, God-of-all-Being.
Bless this day. Bless this time. Bless this gathering.
Bless this world, with your overflowing love. Alleluia!
Alleluia! Amen! (Canada)

God of brilliant sunsets and shining rainbows,
God of golden daffodils and glowing autumn leaves,
God of all the blues of sunlit seas,
God of all the shades of green in bush and field,
in rivers and oceans and lakes,
in rough stones on a beach and polished jewels in a showcase,
God of people, brown and amber, pink and ebony,
artistic and athletic, practical and visionary,
compassionate and laughter-bringing,
God who colours us a world of variety,
We thank you that you have made each of us unique,
that you call us to contribute our special colours to the life around us.
We come to you in thanksgiving and worship. Amen (Aotearoa / New Zealand)

Celebration of Holy Communion
Invitation to Communion
We rejoice in the God of life,
who gives us bread:
the fruit of the earth worked with human hands.
and who makes it into the bread of life.
We rejoice in the God of life
who gives us wine:
the fruit of the vine tended with daily care,
and puts the flavour of the new world into it.
As the wheat and grapes are joined on this table in bread and wine –
into a visual symbol for us –
May our church join together
into a visual symbol for the entire world. (Germany)

Paz, peace, py’aguapy.
Me Comprometo, Señor a buscar:
La sanidad de mi relación contigo.
La sanidad de mi relación conmigo misma.
La sanidad de mi relación con otros.
La sanidad de mi relación con toda tu creación.

Paz, peace, py’aguapy.
I commit, God, to searching for:
The healing of my relationship with you.
The healing of my relationship with myself.
The healing of my relationship with others.
The healing of my relationship with all your creation.
¡SHALOM! (Chile)

Assurance of Grace
Forgiveness is forgetting bad things, remembering good things.
Forgiveness is accepting God’s love. ( China)

Naming of Countries
Leader: In this World Communion, we pray for these particular countries.
Spoken prayers are offered, or if on Zoom or other platform then ask people to respond by unmuting all at once on Zoom or Google Meets or one at a time to name the countries they have been praying for this week or a country that comes to them in this moment. People respond by chat on liveshare formats. People respond individually in a time of silence.

Words of Remembering
Remember, the Lord, the friend of sinners,
who were the oppressed, the estranged, the weak, the sick, widow, orphans.
Remember, the Lord, the one disliking of the common structure and power.
Remember, the Lord, the one sharing of daily food in life.
Remember, the Lord, the one liberating from a dictator.
We remember thy suffering, O Lord, at thy Last Supper. (Korea)

Prayer of Consecration
You emptied yourself completely
keeping nothing for yourself.
Now, naked, utterly stripped,
you give yourself to us as bread that sustains us
and as wine that consoles us.
You are Light and Truth
You are the Way and the Hope
You are Love. Grow in us. (Guatemala)

Sharing of the Elements
The ears of wheat are broken and scattered
on the hillside to grow.
Gathered, they are broken again
and scattered throughout the city to make bread.
the bread is scattered to each home
and broken to make nourishment.
Broken and scattered, broken and scattered,
and some becomes Christ’s body broken for us
as we are the people of God scattered through the city
and, perhaps, broken to give nourishment to others. (South Africa)

We receive this bread, broken, scattered and made whole.
We drink this cup, thirty, longing, willing to be poured.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
We give you thanks O Lord, for all food that has arrived at our table from your generosity. Bless the people who have made it possible, from the cultivation of the earth until it arrived to us. Give bread to those who are hungry, and to those who have bread give us hunger for you. Amen
(Mexico, grace contributed from an orphanage in Colima, may not be the original source)

Benediction Bendición

Que el Dios de la Vida,
sea tu guía en el camino de cada día,
sea tu refugio en momentos de inseguridad
y sea tu descanso en tiempos de fatiga.
Que el Dios de la Vida,
te fortalezca cuando te sientas débil,
te consuele cuando estés triste
y te abrace cuando te sientas sola.
Que el Dios de la Vida,
que te quiere y te conoce,
te cubra con su ternura de Madre.
Por siempre.

May the God of Life,
be your guide on the road every day,
be your refuge in times of uncertainty
and be your rest in times of fatigue.
May the God of Life,
strengthen you when you feel weak,
comfort you when you feel sad
and hug you when you feel alone.
May the God of Life,
who loves you and knows you,
cover you with the tenderness of a Mother.
Amen. (Argentina)



Undivided (Tune: Cwm Rhondda OR Regent’s Square)

Down they fall – no walls divide us
Love must now replace all hate
Teach us wisdom to revive us
Give us hands to re-create
God of all, our hearts adore you
Open wide your heaven’s gate

Break the chains of past oppression
Let us claim our liberty
Cast out greed and self-obsession
Sharing life o’er land and sea
God of all, our voices praise you
Worship now the One-in-Three

Take the hand of friend and neighbour
Share a meal and pass the plate
Do the work to share God’s favour
Learn God’s ways and stimulate
Flourish then in life abundant
Heaven’s foretaste will not wait.
(Words: Rev Dr Amelia Koh-Butler 2023)

God bless to us our bread (Traditional Argentinian)
“God bless to us our bread, and give bread to all those who are hungry, and hunger for justice to those who are fed. God bless to us our bread”.
Music sample here – track 1.

One in Love, We Meet Together (Tune: ‘Hyfrydol’ 87 87D)
One in love, we meet together,
one in time, and never apart.
We in flesh as brother, sister,
makes us one in mind and heart.
All incarnate, we would offer,
all we most sincerely prize,
Learning though traditions differ
how they join to make us wise.

One in outlook, always searching,
not to bind in common creed,
As a people, be more ready
to respond to other’s need.
Here we are so finely fashioned,
understanding, here to serve,
Never narrow in compassion,
empathy without reserve.

We come to This Table
Kremser (‘We Gather Together’); Words: Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

We come to this table, O God, with thanksgiving.
We lift up our hearts, we remember, we pray.
We hear Jesus’ welcome — inviting, forgiving;
We know your Spirit’s peace as we feast here today.

We dine at your table as sisters and brothers,
Diverse in our cultures, yet nourished as one.
The bread and the cup that we share here with others
Are gifts uniting all who are claimed by your Son.

We grieve for your world here; we cry, “How much longer?”
We pray for the cycles of violence to cease.
Yet here, in Christ broken, we’re fed and made stronger
To labor in his name for a world filled with peace.

We rise from this table with new dedication
To feed the world’s children, to free the oppressed,
To clear out the minefields, to care for creation;
We pray, O God of peace, that our work will be blest.

We gather at Your Table, Lord 
Music: Tallis’ Canon (‘All praise to Thee, My God, This Night’)
Words: Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

We gather at your table, Lord:
We humbly lift our hearts to you!
Here all are welcomed, all restored,
And all are given work to do.

We share this meal and we are fed.
Such basic gifts become your sign:
We see you broken in the bread;
We know your love in common wine.

God, pour your Spirit on us all,
And on these gifts that we receive;
For in Christ’s presence we recall
His life and death, and so believe.

From North and South, from West and East,
Now reconciled, we gather near;
We taste your Kingdom’s banquet feast,
So finding strength to serve you here.

No Longer
Tune: Leoni; Words: Carolyn Gillette Winfrey

No longer Jew or Greek, no longer slave or free —
In you, O Christ, we’re given wondrous unity.
Here in your church we learn that nothing can divide;
Here men and women, called by God, serve side by side.

No longer in your church should there be rich or poor —
You taught us kingdom values worth our struggling for.
Here some have wealth to give, and some, great faith to share.
The life we live together is an answered prayer.

No longer left or right, defending our own case —
O God, we’re sinners in your sight, in need of grace.
The common bond we know is Christ who sets us free;
In Christ we live and love and grow in unity.

O God, we look around and know (each one) our guilt;
By your own Spirit, now break down the walls we’ve built.
When we were all baptized, we died to our old ways;
A church diverse, yet one in Christ, we give you praise.

O God, in Christ You Call Us
Tune: Aurelia (‘The Church’s One Foundation’)
Words: Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

O God, in Christ you call us to witness to your grace —
To share the life you give us in every time and place.
So many things divide us — yet we are not our own;
For we belong to Jesus who prayed, “May they be one.”

In Christ is our salvation; in him you’ve set us free —
We make this proclamation in bold humility.
Your image is in others who follow different ways;
Together, seeking justice, we offer you our praise.

In Christ, we’re bound together; in him we find your peace.
Yet even as we gather, the wounds of war increase.
Where terror brings division, God, make us brave to say
Our churches share a vision of Jesus’ peaceful way.

In Christ, the poor and hungry are shown they matter, too —
And where your church has plenty, you give us work to do.
Now may we put in practice the faith that we declare,
Seek economic justice, and find new ways to share.

In Christ, you bless creation and show this planet’s worth;
May every congregation find ways to tend the earth.
Now fill us with your Spirit, that we, as one, may be
A faithful, loving witness to all humanity.

I come with Joy (Brian Wren) – music and words on Hope Publishing here

Verse 5: Together met, together bound
       by all that God has done,
we'll go with joy, to give the world
       the love that makes us one.

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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