CON Contact Us DON Donate
Our History General Assembly Worldwide Outreach Ministries Standards Resources

Question and Answer

Disposing of Communion Elements


What is the proper way to dispose of the communion elements? Is it okay to eat the bread after the service?


Thank you for your question to the OPC Q & A Web page.

For the OPC, the elements which we use in our communion service are but ordinary bread and wine. In other words, there is nothing sacred about them outside of the service. During the communion service, however, they are set apart for the special task of celebrating the sacrament of our Lord. Our Confession explains it this way:

Westminster Confession of Faith 29.3: "The Lord Jesus has, in [the Lord's Supper], appointed his ministers to declare his word of institution to the people; to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use...."

Westminster Confession of Faith 29.5: "The outward elements in [the Lord's Supper], duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ ... albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before...."

But after the service, those elements are ordinary bread and wine. Therefore, it seems to me, they may be put to common use. Certainly, we do not believe that the elements ever change in nature—as if the bread and the wine become the body and blood of Christ—so as to lead to a superstitious use (or non-use) of them outside of the communion service.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to follow up with me, should you need further clarification.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

© 2019 The Orthodox Presbyterian Church



Chaplains and Military Personnel

Diaconal Ministries


Inter-Church Relations

Ministerial Care

Planned Giving

Short-Term Missions


Church Directory

Daily Devotional

Audio Sermons

Trinity Hymnal

Camps & Conferences

Gospel Tracts

Book Reviews



Presbyterian Guardian