Question and Answer
Serving Communion to the Sick
Do you provide for the serving of communion to the sick?
Yes. The Directory for Public Worship, Chapter IV-A-3 requires that the Lord's Supper (and Baptism) ordinarily should be observed in a public worship service. But note the following: "Nevertheless, if a session shall judge that very unusual circumstances shall obtain in a particular instance, the sacraments may be administered elsewhere; but, in any event, the church must be represented in the service."
This means that if a member in good standing is hospitalized or housebound due to illness or other incapacitating circumstances, the Lord's Supper can be administered outside a regular worship service. However, "the church must be represented at such a service." That means that a pastor must administer the sacrament, accompanied by at least one other elder. It is highly appropriate that other members of the church also be present and partake with the shut-in. So the church, in principle, is present though not in totality. In churches that I have served, certain ill or disabled members are so served in the afternoon of the day on which communion is regularly served.
We believe that the Lord's Supper is a means of grace, and that every believer is entitled to that means of grace, the sick and the infirm particularly! Of course, when this is done, the Session at its next meeting should record the fact in its minutes. And if you are interested in having the Lord's Supper served to such a person, you should feel free to request to your session that such be done.
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