Taking Communion

Updated on July 21, 2010
A.L. asks from Austin, TX
7 answers

What are the rules for taking communion?

I'm standing up for my best friend at her wedding next month, and she and the groom have opted to have communion as part of the service. It will be a Methodist service. The religion I was baptised in is Lutheran, though I admit to having had attended services only sporadically since my own first communion, and even then, I'm not picky about which denomination I attend. I do know enough not to take communion when I go to Catholic services, but are there rules for Methodist services as well? Do the Lutherans have restrictions on taking communion in another denomination's service?

Again, I don't attend many church services (something I'm trying to rectify for my children's sake - I've been to more services this year than in the previous 5 combined, I think), but I'm trying to be respectful. I appreciate any insight anyone can give me. (I know I could go to the pastor of the church I've been attending, but he is out of town right now, and to be honest, I don't know that I would recognize the interim pastor on sight.)

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So What Happened?

Thanks, ladies. I will definately ask the minister exactly what the protocol is. This is not the bride and groom's usual congregation, either, but they are using a guest minister who is a family friend. I imagine there will be lots of questions asked during the rehearsal about the way he does things. (That's why we have a rehearsal, right?) At least now, I know enough to know what exactly I need to ask him. Thanks again.

More Answers



answers from Atlanta on

Hi A.,

Communion is strictly for Christian believers in Christ, whether you are a Methodist or Lutheran. If you are a believer, then you can look further into whether you should take it or not.

There are several rules set out in Scripture.

First, the pastor or elder should "guard" the table. That means he should speak of the blessing for believers and the dangers of non-believer's taking the elements, explaining exactly what it is. If he does not, then it is not proper for anyone to take communion. This is the main reason that Paul admonished the Corinthian church.

Next, the pastor or elder(s) should administer the communion. God holds them accountable.

Believing sinners are welcome at the table but anyone knowingly in an ongoing sin that they refuse or don't even try to repent from are also warned not to come to the table. This is guarding your heart.

We attended a wedding this weekend and the pastor basically just said "come up and get it" and everyone was uncomfortable. Non-Christians felt obligated and Christians were not given any instruction. Many people left as soon as the service was over because they were offended that the table was simply a loosy-goosy step in the wedding ritual.

If you don't feel comfortable taking communion it would be perfectly appropriate to stand in your position until all are through. If you do feel comfortable I would ask the wedding coordinator or pastor if the wedding party could go first so they could get back into their positions without trouble.

This may have been more than you were looking for but we should take communion very seriously as it is one of our means of Grace. You are very wise in asking your question!

God bless,


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

Ask the pastor at the rehearsal for the proper protocol. Or you can have the bride (or groom) ask him (or her) for you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Talk to the minister who will be performing the ceremony. When you take communion you are literally aligning yourself with the community. If you understand and believe what they believe, there should be no problem.

The reason why you don't take communion with Catholics (and why I as a Catholic don't take communion at other churches if it's offered) is that there are some fundamental differences in belief about the Eucharist between Catholics and most Protestants. Namely, the Catholic Church believes that the bread and wine BECOME the body and blood right there in the church when the priest prepares them. Most protestant churches believe that communion is a ritual to represent/remember the last supper. If you are on board with this church's understanding of what you are receiving, then go for it.


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answers from Springfield on

Talk to the minister who will be performing the ceremony. He/she will be able to explain how communion will be done, who is invited to partake and what is the polite way to decline if that is the appropriate thing to do. Hopefully he/she will be saying this (helpfully and politely) during the wedding, but this doesn't always happen.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree with speaking to the minister beforehand. I am Lutheran and at my church any baptised Christian is welcome to take communion. I've never been taught that Lutheran teaching don't allow me to take communion at services of other denominations. So if the Methodist minister allows it, I would participate.

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answers from Atlanta on

Our faith in Christ, is exactly that, our faith. Our Christian faith outlines the way to take communion in 1 Corinthians. There are specific instructions as Mimi pointed out below. We are urged to participate if we are not in rebellion. We are also warned not to take it if we are...1 Corinthians 11:27-29. Mimi used the phrase "means of Grace." That is so much more than "simply" a remembrance. It is a working of the Holy Spirit and can't be taken lightly.

Most Protestant churches include any and all believers. Very few have a closed Table. The order can be different but the main things HAVE to be there. A preacher/pastor/minister/elder gives the bread and wine and he must also warn people and protect the table too. If those points are there then any believer can take communion. If it is administered wrongly, then any believer would be wise to stay away. Speaking with the minister beforehand is a good thing. Make sure you get specifics.

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answers from St. Louis on

I am a Lutheran, and the "communion debate" is one that I have heard several times. In fact, my husband will be ordained and become a Lutheran pastor on August 1.

Because every single church (not just every denomination, but every congregation) has their own beliefs about communion, Shaun C. is right. Ask the pastor during rehearsal (or try to get there a bit early to ask before the rehearsal starts). He'll be able to steer you right.

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