On Tuesday, August 7, The Rev. Mary K. Morrison, rector of the Episcopal Church of St. James the Apostle in Paso Robles, will lead a certification workshop for any in the diocese of El Camino Real who have been approved and trained locally to serve as Eucharistic Ministers (EM) and/or Eucharistic Visitors (EV) and now need certification or re-certification. Click here to register online.
The Episcopal Diocese of Albany, NY, offers a foundational teaching in their Handbook for Eucharistic Ministers and Eucharistic Visitors. The quote below is from the manual.
As Eucharistic Ministers and Visitors, one’s first and primary ministry is to the Lord Himself. The desire to serve others must grow out of an even deeper desire to serve Him and grow in our relationship to Him “in grace and in knowledge.” [2 Peter 3:18] Our devotion to our Lord opens us up to the suffering, pain, and acute needs of others. Our ministry to others is an expression of Christ’s ministry to them; it is, in fact, one of the ways God touches others – through us.
The most important preparation for your ministry as a Eucharistic Minister or Visitor is faithfulness to your own relationship with God through prayer, Bible study, the sacraments, and fellowship with other Christians. To neglect your own spiritual life and relationship with the Lord for the sake of the ministries with which He has entrusted us is neither necessary nor helpful; it is, in fact, dangerous for ourselves and those whom we seek to serve. Worship of God must always precede work for Him: if we keep this priority straight we will safeguard this all-too-common pitfall.
Eucharistic Ministers (EM)
These ministers assist with the distribution of wine and bread during the Holy Eucharist services. Beyond the admonition above, it is important for those serving in this ministry to:
- Understand the names and uses of altar vessels and linens;
- Understand and appreciate the service of Holy Eucharist;
- Administer the elements with an awareness of God’s abundant grace and love;
- Have an awareness of the culture and/or an intimacy with the congregation so as to communicate God’s grace in the sacrament effectively
- Understand the significance of Holy Communion in one’s life.
Eucharistic Visitors (EV)
These ministers are responsible for bringing Holy Communion to those who are unable to participate in Sunday worship. Beyond the admonition above, it is important for those serving in this ministry to have/be:
- A sense of calling to pastoral and caring ministries
- Prepared and able to graciously interact with those who are home-bound, ill, incarcerated, nursing home residents, terminally ill, and dying;
- A skilled understanding of aging and family dynamics;
- Able to keep confidentiality;
- Clear as to when they need to ask clergy for assistance and notify them when changes have occurred in those visited;
- A commitment to report regularly to the clergy about all pastoral visits;
- Available to visit those in need regularly and as scheduled;
- An understanding of the liturgical services in the Book of Common Prayer that are used in ministering to the sick and shut-in, including services and prayers for healing and anointing and Holy Communion under Special Circumstances.
The Rev. Mary K. Morrison has been the Rector of St. James’ Church, Paso Robles, since 2008. She has served as Pastoral Associate at St. Luke’s Church, Los Gatos, as Program Director for the Center for Anglican Living and Life (CALL) at CDSP in Berkeley, and as an instructor in liturgy and Dean of Chapel for the School for Deacons.