Juan Oliver, an Anglican liturgy scholar is keen to recover people’s experience of worship as meaningful and formative. One way to bring intentional awareness to what we do in worship and why we do it is an Instructed Eucharist. These can happen annually, at a newcomer’s class, during preparation for baptism or confirmation, or another good time in your parish’s calendar. An Instructed Eucharist offers a time to slow down and learn again, or for the first time, the core elements of our Sunday liturgy and why they matter.
A number of colleagues have developed resources to help with putting an instructed eucharist together. Others farther afield in the Anglican church have done so too. Feel free to use and adapt as may work best for your community.
All of the files linked below are also available to download here: https://tinyurl.com/teachingeucharist
An Instructed Eucharist bulletin
Reverend Liz Hamel annotated the Eucharist on pg.185 of the Book of Alternative Services. It’s in an easy to read and accessible format, providing people with lots of details that free up the presider from talking too much during the instructed eucharist itself.
Dean Christopher Pappas offered an annotated bulletin during a recent guided Eucharist. The sidebars could be used any week of the year to offer quick and easy formation on the eucharist for newcomers and longtimers.
St. Clement’s in North Vancouver produced a worship-focused welcome book. It’s available to newcomers and describes each part of the Eucharist with pictures.
An Instructed Eucharist script
During the Instructed Eucharist there are natural pauses where a few minutes of core teaching can take place. For example: 1) After the opening/gathering hymn, 2) during the homily time 3) after the offertory 4) after the prayer after communion.
Here is an instructed Eucharist with script for two speakers in dialogue that follows the four pauses. With thanks to the Reverend Rhonda Waters who developed this while serving at Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal.
There is another script in the form of a 7 part commentary on the actions and meanings of the Eucharist. It was written and produced by the Reverend Kevin Hunt at St. James’ Anglican Church in Vancouver. It could also be published and shared as one document.
And more! You can find another two hander script from the Reverend Laurel Dahill at St. John the Divine, Maple Ridge. The presider is accompanied by a second speaker who provides the teaching on each part of the liturgy.
An Instructed Eucharist for kids
And for elementary-aged kids during the Instructed Eucharist, or any Sunday really, these two books are helpful:
What We Do in Church: an Anglican Child’s Activity Book– a fun teaching and activity book for 7-11. Once you buy it you have a license to make copies of the activity sheets for your church. (Available on Amazon.ca)
We Gather at This Table – a lovely introduction to the Eucharist written by Episcopal priest, Anna Ostenso Moore. This book is for younger kids 5-7, and can be read out loud to pre-readers. (Available on Indigo/Chapters)
Godly Play also has a few stories that allow children to explore and wonder and learn about the Eucharist including The Good Shepherd and World Communion, The Circle of the Eucharist, and The Symbols of the Eucharist. The first two are available for borrowing from the diocesan office.
An Instructed Eucharist for at home or in small group study
If an instructed eucharist isn’t something you can do or if you want to share something for folks who won’t be able to make it, there’s other ways to intentionally form people in the deep spirituality and meaning of the Eucharist. Here are some things:
This beautifully produced video by a priest in the Episcopal church takes you step-by-step through the celebration of the Eucharist. Watch and reflect as an individual or in a small group. All materials are free to download. (https://how2charist.com/)
This is a slim volume for small groups to do a six week study of the Eucharist together and grow in understanding of how this rite forms us as followers of Jesus, and gives us vision and strength to live in the realm of God. Each session follows a simple laid-out pattern of prayer, discussion, reflection, and brief readings for the week. St. Catherine’s, Capilano has used it several times to positive response. (Available on Amazon.ca)
Eucharist: God’s Way of Embracing Us - 2 part video
Ron Rolheiser, OMI, a Canadian RC priest, offers a two part talk on the many meanings and spiritual depths of the Eucharist. He explores what it means to gather and celebrate this mystery of love. The videos are free to watch and download.
Part 1 is here: https://vimeo.com/showcase/8489527/video/553038709.
Part 2 is here: https://vimeo.com/showcase/8489527/video/553038806