Weekly Communion Without Ordained Pastor Present?


We are hoping to move to weekly communion at our church. There is currently one Minister of the Word and an unordained pastoral intern (me). The two of us share the pulpit so that we can focus on other aspects of church life during our non-preaching weeks, as well as enjoy a Sunday service from the pew with our families. 

We would like to have communion every week as a result of a study done on the sacrament by the church last year. But since only one of us is ordained, that requires the pastor to be present every Sunday to administer the sacrament. This is not a problem when he is around, but it means that on the Sunday's where he is either on holiday or providing pulpit supply within our classis, we cannot come to the table as there is no one in our congregation that can currently fulfill the requirements to lead this sacrament. 

I was wondering if there were any stories out there of ways in which we can celebrate communion weekly, without our ordained minister present, while still honouring church order (since we have an ordained minister, it would not be within church order to request that classis grant an elder permission to lead)? 

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Another church I served in moved to weekly communion, and we requested permission from Classis for two of our elders to administer the Lord's Supper on weeks when no ordained Minister was present. The "need" was to maintain weekly service of the sacraments and Classis approved this need. They approved our request at that time. I don't think church order prevents you from asking Classis for this kind of approval, especially if your study has led you to move towards weekly communion as a congregation. Classis is supposed to support the ministry of your congregation and this is one way in which they can do that.

 Quite often the rules of church order seem to be too restrictive. The advice of Benjamin Gresik is sound. I would refer you to Henry DeMoor's commentary: Christian Reformed Church Order. Article 55 allows for "in the case of need, for an ordained person who has received the approval of classis". That would cover you or another elder, IMHO. Ministers of the Word are tasked with administration of the sacraments, but consider... The Ethiopian eunuch was baptized by (gasp!) a deacon! Bottom line, the sacraments are not about who administers but the Who that is celebrated. 

Good afternoon everyone, and a good remaining one: 

I read with interest the article on “Communion without a Pastor”.  I will respond with a brief note.

Personally I have always favoured an elder to have equal participation in the sacraments as the pastor.  In the important tradition of the Reformation we have always held the view that the sacraments are subservient to the preaching of the Word, this in that total distinction with the RC church where sacraments are held superior, & thus left only for the priest to conduct.

If we allow an elder to read/give a message when needed, & we have no difficulty with that fact, something I very much agree with. Yet in my understanding the sacraments are subservient to the Word, and so the domain to administer should permit an elder to lead as well, & to recognize the Reformed understanding of the sacraments & their role. During my active ministry I never ‘pushed’ this view, but in retrospect I should have.

I will leave off but glad to respond. Regards and best wishes,

Henry  Numan
Pastor Emeritus