That’s right, Rite III. We know well the Rite I and Rite II Orders for celebrating the Holy Eucharist. Our Prayer Book provides a third form, commonly known as “Rite III.” This Order “is not intended for use at the principal Sunday or weekly celebration of the Eucharist,” and it “requires careful preparation by the Priest and other participants.” (BCP, page 400)
There are times when we want to share Communion in an informal setting. This might be in the context of a study group, in a home, in a prayer group, in a retreat, before a meeting of the vestry or other church committee, or in an “alternative” service of worship. Our church requires that these celebrations have an order about them, and the Prayer Book gives us an outline. Everything that is to be included in worship where bread and wine are consecrated and consumed is included: the reading of Scripture, prayer for the world and the church, exchanging the Peace, and the consecrating and sharing of the Gifts of God. Except for the consecration of the bread and wine, the wording of each part of the Order is left to the worshippers and the priest. Even the forms these parts take, spontaneous or ordered, interactive or leader-led, are the choices of the people who worship.
Our Prayer Book holds so many treasures that we haven’t found yet. On Wednesday evenings at 6:00 we celebrate the Eucharist together in the Undercroft, using this Order. It is followed by supper and the video and fellowship. We sit and stand in a circle around the table where the bread and wine are consecrated; we pray together, and even the “sermon” is interactive.
Come and experience this form of worship – it’s different and familiar at the same time. Come often enough to know it well, and then give me your thoughts. You may come for worship only; it takes about 30 minutes. You may stay for dinner or for dinner and the video. If you want to have dinner, please call the church office, 222-3325, and make a reservation so we’ll have enough food. No reservations are necessary for worship only.
Pentecost is the Season of the Holy Spirit. It’s the time when we seek to open ourselves in new ways to the Spirit’s presence and activity in our lives. It’s a long season, the time when we can try new things in hopes of hearing God’s voice in new ways. Just changing the words and ways of worship can open us more to the Holy Spirit!
The Rev. Mary B. Richard