Moratorium, study urged on online communion

By Heather Hahn –

A group of 27 United Methodist leaders is urging the denomination’s bishops to call a halt for now on the practice of Holy Communion online and do further study of online ministries.

The recommendation — made just days before World Communion Sunday — came after more than 10 hours of discussion over Sept. 30–Oct. 1 among an unofficial group of United Methodist theologians, bishops, church agency executives and pastors. The participants at the Nashville, Tenn., meeting ranged from those who opposed the very idea of online communion to a pastor who already had offered the sacrament through his web ministry.

Their wide-ranging and prayerful conversation touched on the nature of worship, community, sacrifice, online engagement, baptism and the Eucharist. The conversation also encompassed objections raised by both individual United Methodists and the denomination’s ecumenical partners.

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