Bread and wine at home

News | November 28, 2017

Vi Ramsey opens the door to her home and welcomes Jan Schmidt inside. Four times a year, Jan visits Vi, ready for lively conversation
and recollections of a life well-lived.

Vi shows Jan the hairdresser’s studio that she worked from before her retirement. They talk about their families and how they spend their days. Vi loves to watch the cars go by her front windows. At some point during the visit, Jan brings out a small box. Inside are bread, wine, and a short liturgy. It’s hard for Vi to make it to church, so Jan brings church to her. 

Vi, the body of Christ, given for you.
Vi, the blood of Christ, shed for you.

Vi and Jan are one of about two dozen pairs of people who celebrate communion together in the homes and care centers where St. Paul people live. Vi is nearly 91 years old. When asked how long she’s been a member at St. Paul, she said: “Oh my goodness, forever and ever. Fifty years. It’s been a long, long time. I’ve been through several ministers. I love the church.”

Jan is a new leader of the home communion team. In partnership with Pastor Ron Huber, she and her sister Georgia Dugan and their spouses, are part of a storied history of ensuring all people of St. Paul can receive communion.

“This is a gift that is very important to people,” Pastor Ron said.

Jan retired about four years ago. She knew going into retirement that she wanted to be a part of taking communion to people who could not be at church. The reason? When she was hospitalized with a broken leg, a pastor brought her communion. It touched her deeply. Now, she helps coordinate approximately 20 volunteers. Home communion takes place four times a year – February, May, August, and November – on the first Sunday of the month.

Jan makes calls to volunteers to confirm if they can help, and sends a reminder postcard. She and Georgia organize the kits – they can be seen lined up on a table inside the church office after a blessing.

Jan really enjoys her time with Vi.

“Her hair is always beautiful,” she said. “And she always has a box of chocolates waiting for visitors in her buffet.”

Pastor Ron tells touching stories of his experiences taking communion to people in their homes and care facilities. One is of visiting a woman admitted to the hospital for treatment of mental health concerns. She cried as she took the bread, bit by bit, and wine, sip by sip. Ron asked if she was OK. “Yes,” she answered. “I know Jesus is with me.”

Another is of a woman who was a bit unsettled – until it was time for the familiar Words of Institution. He recited the words quietly to her.

In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread,
gave thanks; broke it,
and gave it to his disciples,
saying: Take and eat;
this is my body, given for you.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup,
gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink,
saying: This cup
is the new covenant in my blood,
shed for you and for all people
for the forgiveness of sin.
Do this for the remembrance of me.

And then, just like countless others before her did, and countless others will do, she took a taste of bread and drink of wine as a reminder that God remains with us always.

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