Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Celebrating the Eucharist in Style

Kyle Swedenborg, Staff Writer

On the first Sunday of each month, many United Methodist churches celebrate the Lord’s Supper, also known as Holy Communion or Eucharist. Those who participate in the sacrament normally share a small piece of bread and a sip of grape juice. Worshipers at Bread of Life UMC in Baton Rouge, however, are now receiving a complete culinary experience.

Bread of Life debuted its new Communion concept, “Brunch with Christ,” at last Sunday’s service. Instead of the usual Communion line or kneeling rail, a host seats worshipers with prior reservations at one of several tables set up near the altar. Once seated, servers offer coffee, juice and wide selection of muffins and pastries. A buffet set up in the choir loft contains eggs, sausage and bacon, potatoes and fresh fruit. All this costs only $29.99 per person. Tip is not included.

Visitors or parishioners without reservations are not left out. They can still sample a Wonder Bread cube and a small cup of thawed Welch’s grape juice. First-time guests are given a two-for-one coupon for their next visit.

Pastor Jon Hodgman noticed a significant difference on the first Brunch with Christ Sunday. “It added a whole new level to the sacrament,” he said. “I could tell the people were really savoring Christ this morning. The eggs were a little rubbery, though.”

The church’s Stewardship Committee chairperson, Neva Norwich, also believes Brunch with Christ gave the congregation a spiritual boost. “When the people who get the free bread see how much the others are enjoying brunch, it will encourage them to increase their giving by that $30 each month,” said Norwich. Her committee felt the brunch would also be a way to compete with the town’s bustling Sunday morning breakfast business and bring in more members.

Despite the morning’s success, Hodgman has even bigger plans. “By January, we hope to have an omelet bar.”


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