A School of Charity: The Formative Dimension of the Holy Eucharist for Ministry and Mission

Thumbnail Image
Stutler, James Boyd
Issue Date
School of Theology Thesis 2020 , Holy Eucharist , Teaching about the holy eucharist , 1979 Book of Common Prayer , Educational process
This paper provides a theoretical and practical basis for teaching the meaning of holy eucharist in the parish. The approach is Anglican, inspired by the liturgical movement as expressed in the 1979 book of common prayer. It is premised on the eucharist as the center of parish life. The eucharist gives structure and substance to the individual and corporate lives of the parish in spiritual growth, mission, and ministry. Fundamental to this process is that the eucharist, while clearly instructional, is essentially sacramental and therefore more broadly formational. The weekly regularity and seasonal variation of the eucharist, particularly when engaged intentionally, form holiness of character. This occurs through the basic structural elements of gathering, word, presence, and vocation which have been received in the eucharistic tradition. Superficially, this might look like a serial process where the parish gathers to hear the word of God in order to experience the presence of God so that they might be sent out to do the work of God. However, these elements are best understood as interdependent and overlapping rather than sequential. This interdependence is empowered by the similarly interrelated themes of thanksgiving (eucharistia), memory (anamnesis), and hope (escatology) which permeate the entire structure. Formation occurs through all these elements, in word and sacrament, engendering a trajectory which both deepens the spiritual life and informs the missional purpose. This paper explores this process through relatively short teaching modules of variable complexity in order to reach a large constituency of ages from child to adult.