Some of you may remember when we were blessed to have a group from a Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, NC, visit us and lead us in a Moravian Love Feast. In fact, they were our guests several times, staying with members of our church family and establishing long-lasting friendships. A group of us traveled to Winston-Salem and worshipped in their church and toured Old Salem.
In one of the issues of the United Methodist Women magazine “Response”, there is an article on United Methodist Women and Love Feasts entitled “Break Bread”, which I would like to share with you.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, attended a Moravian Love Feast in August 1737 in Savannah, Georgia. By 1744, Wesley instructed Methodist class meetings and bands (small groups) to hold Love Feasts twice a month. The early American Methodists often met without a clergyperson present, necessary for Holy Communion, and the Love Feast offered the opportunity for those gathered to sing, pray, testify and still break bread together. As Methodism continued to grow in the United States throughout the 18th century and into the 19th, the Love Feast was an integral part of the church.
The origins of the Love Feast go back to the first-century Christians, patterned on the agape meal outlined in the Didache, the oldest known document on the orders of the Christian church according to Methodist historian Emory Stevens Bucke. One account of a Love Feast, by Thomas Ware from 1708, reads, “All that had obtained peace with God, and all who were seeking it, were invited, and the barn was nearly full.” At this Love Feast, Ware recalls that participants shared bread and water “not as a sacrament, but in token of our Christian love.”
As an organization of laywomen in the Wesleyan tradition, for United Methodist Women the Love Feast represents our commitment to Christ and our commitment to strive for personal and social holiness in all that we do.
Rev. M. Barclay has written the following liturgy entitled “For the morning”:
“God of fresh starts, of new beginnings, of renewal and restoration, we awake to your grace, embraced by love unconditional.
With each morning you birth new possibilities in us; around us.
We are surrounded by sacred potential.
There are so many ways to love. May we rise to the day’s call to listen for the aches, to give voice to the beauty, to be a companion to justice.”
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at 740-3686 or email email@example.com.
Photos of Family Fun & Fellowship Night
The UMWomen and friends were big supporters of the MMUMC Family Night held in September. Members came with donations and enormous creativity to make it a most meaningful night for all.
United Methodist Women’s Week