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  • Rev. Barbara Ballenger

Rector’s Note: A Memorable Bread Day- 4.11.24

This past weekend some of our youngest members learned how awesome Communion is on our first ever Bread Day.  Five families gathered in the parish hall to make bread, tell the story of the last supper, and get a close up look at and learn about the fancy names of the items we use to tell our story. What we call a napkin at home, is called a purificator at church, for example.

The request for this special learning about the Eucharist came after a family approached me last year hoping to have a First Communion service for their kids.  Which would be great, except that in the Episcopal Church children start receiving Eucharist as soon as they receive a piece of bread in their hand and eat it on their own. It’s hard to pinpoint the “first” in the sacrament of Eucharist as Episcopalians practice it. However, what can get lost is the learning around Eucharist – what it means, why we do it, how we do it.

So, Bread Day was born – a time to take a deeper dive into this special sacrament.

We grounded our learning around the story of Bread that Remembers by Joseph Juknialis. The story centers around the idea that bread remembers everything spoken in its presence – for good or ill, and those who take in such bread, take in the blessing or the curse of the words that the bread remembers. In the story, a town uses the special quality of their bread to restore wholeness to brothers who had been in serious conflict.

Throughout our time together we talked about the power of memory, storytelling, intention and love in the sacred meal that we call Eucharist.  We learned that Communion meant coming together in union, being together.  And we learned that Eucharist meant thanksgiving. And that Amen meant Yes and was a way of saying “come in” when Jesus came knocking on the doors of our hearts.

At the end of the program, the kids made stoles that held symbols of the items on the Communion table, as well as images of things they loved – hearts, favorite pets, words of love and care. They will wear their stoles on April 28 when we celebrate Awesome Communion Sunday.

That day our children who participated in Bread Day, either here at church or with a special at-home version of the program, will wear their stoles, get a close look at the storytelling around the Communion Table and even share a special song they learned. It’s not simply their day to celebrate Communion in a special way, but a day to remind us all of what they and the bread remember – that Jesus made a way to live inside us in a way that strengthens both our bodies and our souls, and to help us to love as he loved.

So if you see a child in a special stole on Awesome Communion Sunday, ask them what they remember. It should be a great story.

Thanks to Suzanne Teleha for orchestrating the bread making with wonderful instructions, ingredients and support. Then she grilled the flat bread for families to take home and share.


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