For All

by Kathy Henningsen

My husband sent me an e-mail today which said, “Not many Lutheran Churches will have this on their website.” I clicked on and read “Communion at the Vatican.” It was a beautiful touching story, and inspired me to think about my experiences with Holy Communion.

I grew up in Chicago, and was raised in an Irish Roman Catholic family. The church was a very important part of our lives. My sense of faith, family, and ethnicity were intertwined like a circle. I smiled reading about the nuns in “Communion at the Vatican” as they were a vital part of my twelve year parochial education. Even though I was raised in the city, my environment was sheltered or really made up of people with the same faith and ethnicity as my family. Religious education focused on why our religion was the right one. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and attended a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran Church. The message he received was similar to mine in that his church was the right one, and the focus was not on outreach to those who were different.

This brings me to think about the message taught at St. Philip the Deacon. It is ecumenical, and reaches out to those of different faith backgrounds. The message before Holy Communion is welcoming, and invites those in the congregation to come to the table and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This truly is God’s message. Like the story at the Vatican, there are no questions, no one is denied. It is a unifying and communal. Communion is the culmination of the service, and very important to me. It is a special time to reflect and pray. It is one of the reasons I enjoy attending the Saturday evening services where Communion is served each week.

During Lent 2011, we are encouraging the St. Philip the Deacon community to reflect on the Sacrament of Holy Communion — recalling early memories, describing memorable celebrations of Communion, or reflecting on how Communion informs daily life. This post is part of that series. We invite your reflections about Communion, as well. If you would like to submit something for this series, please send it to Pastor Cheryl Mathison at

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