Original Research - Special Collection: Being a Change Agent in a Post-Covid South Africa

Celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion during COVID-19: A Methodist perspective

Wessel Bentley
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 3 | a6741 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i3.6741 | © 2021 Wessel Bentley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 April 2021 | Published: 14 July 2021

About the author(s)

Wessel Bentley, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

This article forms part of the change agents special collection. It investigates the way the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) has engaged the question of practicing Holy Communion in the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown. Mainly using communiques by the Office of the Presiding Bishop and contributions made by clergy and laity on the practice of online worship services, and Holy Communion in particular, the article not only describes points of contention but also matters for consideration in balancing church polity whilst being contextually present and relevant. The article then celebrates the work of the Doctrine, Ethics and Worship Commission (DEWCOM) of the MCSA in potentially providing a way forward for the denomination that holds polity and relevance together in meaningful tension.

Contribution: This research contributes to the ongoing dialogue within the Methodist Church of Southern Africa on how the sacrament of Holy Communion should be practiced in the context of a social lockdown as precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Keywords

Holy Communion; Methodism; COVID-19; lockdown; sacrament

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