In January 2023, I properly submitted the following resolution to the 2023 North Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. On May 4th, with no prior dialogue, the Resolutions Committee informed me that the resolution will not be presented to the conference for a vote. The resolution, I am told, is not necessary and only the Discipleship work area of Connectional Ministries can speak on this matter. The rules for submitting 2023 resolutions are in section 700, page 171 of the 2022 Conference Handbook. I present it, then, for public consideration.
WHEREAS Jesus instituted, and in his holy gospel commanded us to continue, the sacrament of his body and blood as a perpetual memory of his precious death until his coming again , and
WHEREAS the Apostle Paul declares that the cup of blessing that we bless is a sharing in the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a sharing in the body of Christ , and
WHEREAS Jesus said that unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you, and that those who eat his flesh and drink his blood have eternal life, and he will raise them up on the last day; for his flesh is true food and his blood is true drink, and that those who eat his flesh and drink his blood abide in him, and he in them , and
WHEREAS the United Methodist Church confesses that the Lord’s Supper “is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ’s death; insomuch that, to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise, the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ” , and
WHEREAS “the practice of the Christian church from its earliest years was weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day,”  and
WHEREAS John Wesley called Christians to receive the Lord’s Supper as frequently as possible, writing: “If we consider the Lord’s Supper as a command of Christ, no man can have any pretense to Christian piety, who does not receive it (not once a month, but) as often as he can. … Let everyone, therefore obey God, by communicating every time he can; like the first Christians, with whom the Christian sacrifice was a constant part of the Lord’s Day service. … As our bodies are strengthened by bread and wine, so are our souls by these tokens of the body and blood of Christ. … We must never turn our backs on the feast which our Lord has prepared for us,”  and
WHEREAS John and Charles Wesley published a volume of 166 Hymns on the Lord’s Supper in 1745, which the Duke Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition describes as “likely the largest single collection in Christian history of hymns devoted specifically to this focus,”  and
WHEREAS John Wesley directed superintendents to inquire whether the preachers were neglecting the means of grace through failure to take communion at every opportunity, and to press others to do the same , and
WHEREAS John Wesley prepared an abridged version of the Book of Common Prayer to send with Dr. Coke in 1784 to be the liturgy of the Methodists in North America and called on elders to administer the Supper of the Lord on every Lord’s Day , and
WHEREAS the weekly celebration of Holy Communion lamentably fell out of favor among American Methodists through a combination of unavoidable circumstances (scarcity of ordained clergy , long distances, slow travel) and human misjudgments, and
WHEREAS the 2004 General Conference of the United Methodist Church encouraged congregations “to move toward a richer sacramental life, including weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper at the services on the Lord’s Day,”  and
WHEREAS the Book of Discipline assigns to pastors the duty of administering the sacrament of the Supper of the Lord according to Christ’s ordinance and encouraging regular participation as a means of grace to grow in faith and holiness , and
WHEREAS “an ordained elder or a person authorized under the provisions of the Book of Discipline presides at all celebrations of Holy Communion,”  preventing the laity from receiving the mercies Christ bestows at the table apart from the sacramental ministry of the clergy,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church grieves for the faithful who are harmed by withholding Christ’s precious gift of Holy Communion, affirms both Word and Table as essential elements of weekly Christian worship, calls on clergy to lead their charges in sacramental renewal, and encourages congregations to take steps toward weekly celebration of the sacrament through leader advocacy, congregational education, experiential learning, and prayerful discernment.
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