Once a quarter throughout the year, Patterson Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church celebrates a Communion Service. It includes prayer, music, a short sermon (homily), foot washing (Ordinance of Humility), and eating unleavened bread and unfermented grape juice (the Lord’s Supper).
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:14-17 NIV)
By washing one another’s feet, we remember Jesus’ humble and loving example of service to others.* Eating the Lord’s Supper symbolizes our acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and our faith in Jesus to save us.**
“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.’ Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:19, 20 KJV)
The unleavened bread is a symbol of Jesus’ body, which was broken for our sins. The unfermented grape juice is a symbol of His blood, which was shed for our sins. The reason the bread and grape juice are without yeast or fermentation is that the Lord Jesus lived a holy life while on Earth. In the Bible, yeast represents sin, so yeast was eliminated from the homes of the Israelites during Passover each year. Because of our Lord’s sacrifice, we have the blessed assurance of salvation for all that believe in and obey Jesus Christ.
In this experience of Communion, Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we take part, we joyfully proclaim our Lord’s death and resurrection, and our belief that He will come again to take His people to their heavenly home.
Preparation for Communion includes examination of one’s heart, confession to the Lord of one’s sins, and true repentance. It is a time of renewal and recommitment. The Communion Service is open to all believing Christians.
After the sermon, the pastor will dismiss the congregation for the foot-washing service. The women will meet in the Fellowship Hall. Men will meet in the Annex’s first floor classroom area. During this time, two individuals partner to wash each other’s feet. Children are welcome to participate with their parents.
The foot-washing service is self-directed with chairs, basins, water, and towels provided. If you do not have a partner before entering the room, let one of our deaconesses know and they will help you find a partner.
Often, partners will pray with each other before returning to the sanctuary. Quiet reflection on Christ’s example and sacrifice for us is encouraged during this time.
Upon re-entering the sanctuary, please sit in the rows with white ribbons. This allows our deacons to serve individuals more easily during the Lord’s Supper. If however, no seat is available, individuals may sit in one of the unmarked pews.
**The Lord’s Supper
When all have returned to the sanctuary after foot washing, the pastor then presents the bread and juice in specially provided plates to deacons, who will distribute the unleavened bread and grape juice to the congregation. Each member will take one of each as it is presented to them.
Please wait to eat and drink until all have been served, so that the church family may partake together at the pastor’s signal.
After partaking of the bread and juice, the empty cups are placed in the round slots provided in front of each pew.
Participation in the church’s Communion Service is encouraged, but not mandatory. We hope that participating will bring you into a closer relationship with our Lord and will fill you with a sense of peace and thanksgiving.