The place of communion in the life of the church

"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes." - 1 Corinthians 11 v 23-26

Over many centuries, Christians have been getting to grips with these verses. More specifically, getting to grips with what these verses are instructing Christians to do. Attempts to be obedient to these instructions have led to enormous variations in practice; many Christians follow these instructions very differently.

At City Church, our tradition has been to include communion in our Sunday services once a month, and we encourage Connect Groups to frequently take communion in homes across the city.

"42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." - Acts 2 v 42

When Paul visited the believers in Troas, Luke, the writer of Acts, indicates that it was their weekly practice to break bread together. We might also note that the believers in Jerusalem also took the breaking of bread very seriously. It was a regular exercise that they were ‘devoted’ to doing together.

Communion is intended to put Jesus at the centre of church life. It reminds us all of what he has done and how we are called to respond.

Mozambique Part 3

On our recent trip to Mozambique, Paul Wood and I had the privilege of sitting and chatting to Darryl and Joy Greig, who were part of our church here for 9 years before moving to Nampula, Mozambique. They now run the Ebenezer project, a training centre for rural Africans which provides a three month training course on agricultural and business skills, alongside bible teaching and discipleship.

In their interview video (shown below), Darryl and Joy share the work of the Ebenezer project and the impact it makes on the lives of their many apprentices and graduates. They share their hope to become practically and financially self-sustaining, and to improve support for their graduates. Darryl and Joy are already so thankful for all the support and prayer they’ve received from us as a church, but I would encourage us to continue to get behind them in prayer as part of their wider church family. 

Please be praying for the Ebenezer Project: that God will provide for their needs and protect the project from any physical or spiritual harm. Pray that the training has a real impact on the lives of the graduates, and that they find relationship with Jesus for themselves. Finally be praying for Darryl, Joy and the rest of the team, that God will give them wisdom in how to lead the project well, and support them and their families through all that they do.

Mozambique Part 2

Paul and I have now spent almost a week in Nampula experiencing life at Ebenezer. Every part of life here is affected by the movement of a tiny insect which has the power of life and death over the population. From mosquito nets to the daily anti-malaria tablet and insect repellent, the mosquito influences everything. At any one time, a significant percentage of the work-force is suffering from malaria, dramatically reducing productivity. 

For the pasty white Englishmen, it feels like an imposition, another challenge on top of the already considerable pile of challenges of living here. However, it has been a joy to see the Greigs and the Rowells taking life in the tropics in their stride and building business and church here. 

Their kids are thriving too and making an impact on the lives of those involved with Ebenezer. Tali, who’s currently studying for her GCSEs in Mozambique, wrote this for us:

“For me personally, the best bit about life here at the moment is teaching one man to read. I’ve been teaching him since June of last year, and he has gone from writing his first ever letter to being able to read (albeit very slowly) normal texts and sentences. That is very exciting, because when a person can read it opens up a whole world of opportunities that were never available before and particularly here, where job opportunities are limited and low income, being able to read could make the world of difference for him and his family.’

Me and Paul with the Greig and Rowell Families

Me and Paul with the Greig and Rowell Families

Standing on  Owerya Rock , meaning a uthority

Standing on Owerya Rock, meaning authority

We’ve also had the opportunity to join a meeting at the church on the farm. After a massive rainstorm the previous night the meeting was moved from the wet sands of the school playground to the drier veranda. We spent time worshipping and prayed for those affected by the cyclone that swept through Beira elsewhere in Mozambique. We also spent time looking at the Hebrews 11 heroes, led by a lady from the church who the previous night had her house flooded and whose husband was currently sick with malaria – we couldn’t help but think that this was “by faith” in action!

We also had the privilege of spending an evening with Scott Marques, who oversees many churches across southern Africa which are part of the Newfrontiers family.  Scott also helped to found Ebenezer. We’ve been very encouraged so far by our visit and are looking forward to developing a stronger relationship between Ebenezer and City Church in the future.  

Mozambique Part 1

On the 21st March, Paul Wood and I are travelling via South Africa, to Nampula in Mozambique. We’ll be visiting two families from City Church who live and serve in an exciting project based just outside Nampula. The project brings together business, training, discipleship and church planting on a huge scale. 

‘Ebenezer Mozambique’, a training wing of the project, describes itself as: ‘a Christian faith-based leadership training centre for young school leavers and has a strong emphasis on mentorship, agriculture, business and family. We are based in Rapale, near the city of Nampula, in northern Mozambique.’

Southern African countries are among the poorest in the world, with more than half the populations living in extreme poverty  – (on $1 a day). It’s easy to assume that the solutions to some of these huge problems are found in universities, government organisations or international charities. Whilst there is no doubt that these have vital contributions to make to these troubling, pressing issues, there is also no doubt that the church is and should be part of the solution. 

Ebenezer Mozambique aims to provide holistic training to young people in a mentoring environment, helping to equip them with agricultural and business proficiency, alongside teaching necessary life skills. Their vision is that young men and women are joyfully productive in rural Africa, sustaining themselves and their families, and bringing transformational leadership to their rural communities. 

We’re excited to be visiting Darryl and Joy Greig, Chris and Annelie Rowell and their families, who are currently passionately involved in these projects. Please be praying for us as we go, that God will use us, teach us, and keep us safe and healthy. 

We’ll be posting some pictures and videos of our trip soon for you to keep up to date with all we are doing.