Explaining the Holy Communion Service

St. Benedict Biscop Church

Explaining the Service of Holy Communion


The church entrance with its beautiful flowers, is telling you that the church is a place of welcome.  We are all deeply loved and accepted by God.


The Eucharist is at the heart of Christian worship. It is celebrated by Christians around the world as a memorial of the death and resurrection of Jesus, in response to his words at the final meal he shared with his disciples, ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the Eucharist, God invites us to his table as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet which he has prepared for people of all nations and cultures.

Outwardly, the Eucharist takes the form of a shared meal of bread and wine, recalling the fact that, at the Last Supper, Jesus associated the breaking of bread and sharing of wine with his own imminent death, giving them special significance.

At a celebration of the Eucharist, the community gathers, asks God’s forgiveness for its sins, and listens to readings from the Bible, including a reading from one of the Gospels. A sermon may be preached and the community prays together. Bread and wine are brought to the holy table (also called ‘the altar’), the priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer, and everyone says the Lord’s Prayer together. The community then receives the consecrated bread and wine. At the end of the service, the community is sent out into the world as a ‘living sacrifice’ to live and work to God’s praise and glory.

The Service of Holy Communion

The Welcome and Preparation

The Priest welcomes everyone, reads the notices and will ask us to hold a time of quiet so that we can prepare ourselves to worship God and bring ourselves into the Presence of God. In the Name of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The prayer of Preparation is said together

The Confession.   Together, we say sorry to God for anything we have done wrong and the priest pronounces God’s forgiveness over us.

Gloria  is a prayer of praise and thanks to God.


The Bible is read to us; the Old Testament or the New Testament, or both.(the passages are printed out on the paper notice sheet).

The Gospel for the day is read out. The four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) tell us about the words, works and ways of Jesus.

We continue to listen, as the Bible passage is explained to us by the preacher what it may mean for us today,as individuals and as the church – the peoplegathered here.

The Creed   We stand to affirm our belief in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, by saying this together.


The Intercessions.   Prayers, said aloud by the server/congregation member. where we bring before God, the needs of the Church, the world, our local community, the suffering,  people in need (such as those who are unwell), those who have died and those mourning them and finally for ourselves for God’s guidance and help through the coming week.

The Peace is shared by greeting each other with a handshake.

The Collection is taken for the work of the Church which is both the day-to-day

running of the church and giving to those in need.

Preparation of the Communion Table by the Priest.  The bread and the wine are placed on it.

At the heart of the celebration there is always a special prayer of thanksgiving, or ‘Eucharistic Prayer’ (eucharisteinmeans ‘to give thanks’ in Greek). This is offered by the priest who presides at the service in the name of all who are gathered, giving thanks for all that God has given us in Christ.

The Priest reminds us of what happened on the night before Jesus died:

‘While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’. (Matthew 26: 26-28)

These are the wafer and wine we receive at Holy Communion.

After his resurrection, the disciples recognised Jesus as he broke bread to share with them. Each time we share the meal Jesus shared with his friends, we remember his offering of himself on the cross, we rejoice in his resurrection from the dead, and look forward to the coming of God’s Kingdom.

In the Church of England, we attend Confirmation Classes to help us to understand how Jesus transformed the Jewish Passover into Christian Holy Communion. The bread and the wine that we share at Holy Communion are to us the Body and Blood of Christ. 

If you haven’t yet been confirmed, you are encouraged to come up to the altar rail to receive a Blessing, when the Priest will gently touch your shoulder and say a short prayer of blessing over you. Just bring a service booklet with you to the altar rail as a sign to the Priest.


Prayer after Communion.

Wethank God for feeding us in Holy Communion.

We offer ourselves to God’s service in the week ahead.  We do this by sharing the love of God that we have received, with those we shall meet during the coming week.


The Priest says a blessing over us and ‘sends us out in the power of the Spirit to live and work to His praise and glory.’

The assistant will say: ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord’, to which the    Congregation reply ‘In the Name of Christ.  AMEN’.