This Sunday we will have the pleasure of welcoming back to EPUMC Rev. Mary Brown. Rev. Brown and I have worked together a few times over the past several years. We served on the planning team of the last Eden Prairie Interfaith Service in 2013, and I have also led two summer services here with Mary when we observed the Sacrament of Holy Communion. And we’ll be doing this again Aug. 7.
What makes this Sunday and those previous two Sundays so important is that Mary is not an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church; she is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have had since 2009 a “full communion agreement” which means that each church acknowledges the other as a partner in Christian faith and the ordained clergy of both denominations can preside over the sacraments in either church. So it is a real ecumenical joy for me and for EPUMC to welcome back Rev. Brown.
As I was thinking about just how to put my thoughts on paper for this week’s memo, I kept having one choir anthem that’s in our music library run through my head. It’s an anthem that neither the Chancel Choir or Praise Team has sung, but you can bet you’ll hear it this coming year. It’s a great piece written by Joel Raney titled “The Welcome Table”. Joel is a prolific composer and arranger and does a masterful job with his works, either original compositions or arrangements of existing works. “The Welcome Table” is one of his best. Joel has crafted together two great spirituals – the traditional “I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table” and a communion song that most of us are very familiar with, “Let Us Break Bread Together.”
What kept running through my head were the opening lines from each of these songs and how they capture what we will experience this Sunday. Those two lines are – “I’m gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days, Hallelujah” and “Let us break bread together.” And for me, “let us break bread together” is something that so many people not only here in Eden Prairie, but across the country and around the world need to do. Let anyone and everyone sit at the welcome table and break bread together!
I hope that you will be able to be here Sunday and experience the meaningful coming together at our welcome table as we celebrate Holy Communion.
See you in church!
Director of Worship & Music