Original Research - Special Collection: Theology and Economy and Environment

Rethinking the Eucharist in the aftermath of COVID-19 disruptions: A comparative study of Reformed and Pentecostal theology of sacraments

Buhle Mpofu
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6547 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6547 | © 2021 Buhle Mpofu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 February 2021 | Published: 03 August 2021

About the author(s)

Buhle Mpofu, Department of Practical Theology and Mission Studies, Faculty of Religion and Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


This contribution recommends a re-thinking of Christian traditions with regards to sacraments and use of technology in the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It is a comparative study that employed field observations from two congregations with different traditions: one from Protestant Reformed tradition and another from Pentecostal Charismatic background to analyse how they conducted Holy Communion services. By highlighting positive aspects of COVID-19 disruptions on traditional practices, the study challenged traditional understanding of ‘sacred space’ and re-appropriates the virtual role of a priest as symbolic embodiment of the presence of Christ extended through virtual, audio and tele-visual presence. The contribution also demonstrated how ontological questions help us discern what separates the sacred from the secular and concluded that the transformative nature of the sacrament of the Holy Communion has a uniquely power-levelling role in communities.

Contribution: This article contributes to conversations on the role of technology in sacraments within the Reformed Christian tradition and presents a systematic and practical reflection on the intersecting modes of sacramental practices within different Christian traditions.


Eucharist; COVID-19; virtual communities; Reformed theology; Pentecostal theology; transformation


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