Three Liturgies for World Communion Day

Below you will see three liturgies for World Communion Day. The first one prepared by Prof. Paul Galbreath from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond VA; the second one by the Disciples of Christ Church, and the third by the Presbyterian Church USA.

Hear these words of Scripture:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock,

If those who hear my voice open the door,

I will come in and eat with them

And they with me.


At this table, all are welcome.


God of creation,

We give you thanks for the beauty of this earth

That sings to you in songs of praise.


We thank you for prophets and teachers

who teach us of your mercy and grace.

Today, we give thanks for the witness of Job

as we join our voices with Christians around the world

who gather at this table:


Holy, holy, holy Lord

God of power and might

Heaven and earth are full of your glory

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord

Hosanna in the highest.


We hear of your holiness

and we give thanks for our brother Jesus

whose teaching, healing, dying, and rising

show us the way, truth, and life.


We take this bread made from the grain that grows up out of the earth

And this juice made from grapes flourish in the sun and the rain that you provide

And we celebrate the gift of life that you provide for us.

Here, we offer ourselves that we may become signs of your grace in our world.




Great is the mystery of faith:


Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again.


Send your Spirit upon us

and upon this bread and this cup

that these gifts of creation

may show us your presence

in our world, in our neighbors, and in our lives.

Send us out into the world that we may work for the coming of your reign.


Help us feed the hungry,

welcome the stranger,

clothe the naked,

care for the sick,

visit those imprisoned,

and discover your presence with them.


Fill us with hope

so that we may share this baptismal life that you give us.


Unite us in Christ by the power of your Spirit

as we offer our thanksgiving to you

the Creator and Sustainer of all.


Lord’s Prayer


When Jesus was at table with his friends

He took bread, blessed it, broke it and shared it, saying


This is my body.  Whenever you eat this, remember me.


He also took a cup and passed it around, saying

This is the new covenant which I make with you.

Whenever you drink it, remember me.

These are the gifts of God for the people of God.

Worship Resources (*Prepared by Ron Allen and Linda McKiernan-Allen)

  • Call to Worship
  • *
L: Praise the Lord!
P: How good it is to sing praises to our God
L: For God is gracious. God heals the brokenhearted and binds us together.
  • P: Great is our Lord, and abundant in power
All: Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving, and praise God’s holy name!
  • Opening Prayer
  • *
God of mercy and of grace, you alone are God! This day, your people who follow Jesus gather around a table which stretches 25,000 miles, around the whole of Earth. Open our eyes, our minds and our lives that we might welcome one another, even as you continue to welcome us through the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup. Fill us as we worship you. Then send us out to be the Body of Christ alive with the Good News of the Gospel. AMEN

• Litany

  • L: On this World Communion Sunday, we thank our Creator God for calling us as stewards. We see and feel the textures of the world. We pray for reconciliation among God’s people. We listen that we may hear God’s Word and know that God is full of grace, even now;
  • A: Even now, O God, even in Africa.
  • L: Africa. Where the church grows rapidly. Where faith is exuberant. Where a bright mosaic of culture shows the world the vibrancy of God’s love.
  • A: Even now, O God, even in Asia.
L: Asia. So vast, so deeply rooted in tradition. Where the church may be small but where religion is great. Gentle Asia, beautiful Asia, divided Asia.
  • A: Even now, O God, even in the Middle East.
L: Middle East. The cradle of the church; the birthplace of Jesus; the land we call holy. Where the pain of the cross is so vivid; where the pain of war is so relentless; where the dry earth is watered by the tears of its children.
  • A: Even now, O God, even in Europe.
  • L: Europe and its Christian heritage. Where art, music, and architecture inspired generation upon generation and empty church buildings now stand as monuments to a faith of yesterday.
  • A: Even now, O God, even in Latin America.
  • L: Latin America. Where the church struggles valiantly for the weak and the poor. In Latin America, so rich in the bounties of creation, so misused by outsiders.
  • A: Even now, O God, even here in North America.
  • L: North America. Where so much affluence hides so much poverty and disease. North America, the sometimes hollow land, with so much to give. May we be bold in the Spirit, but humble in our work. May we share God’s grace in Word and deed. May we assume the servant’s role as Jesus did. May we share our blessings as the Samaritan did.
A: Even here, O God, even here at ______________ Christian Church.
  • L: At Christian Church, in a denomination that seeks to be “a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world,” a church inspired by the prophet Micah to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.”
L: Here, O God, and throughout all the earth, we trust in your abiding care. God of wisdom, teach us respect. Help us to learn from those who express their faith in different ways. Deepen our understanding of tradition, serenity, and prayer.
  • A: Lift us above strife. Show us the places of injustice. Point us toward the pathway of peace. Show us your grace, even now;
L: God of grace, help us to believe and trust in your eternal promise. Answer Jesus’ prayer that all may be one in him, even now;
  • A: Even now. Amen.

[You may want to use “A Litany for the World” by John Bell, Iona (Chalice Hymnal, 664)]
◦                     Children’s moment*

Invite children to be seated around a flat world map and asked if they know where their ancestors came from. As each child responds (or as parents of the children are invited to respond), the leader lights a votive candle and places it on that country. Children are then invited to recognize their church family represents the world family.

◦                     Invitation to the Table

 On this World Communion Sunday, when we gather in this familiar place, we recognize and remember the great cloud of witnesses who also participate in this meal! Across time and space,

  •  the table extends to include people we may never know, yet with whom we are connected. And as we commune, we find our faith increasing, just as the disciples found so long ago. When Jesse M. Bader, a Disciples minister who served as Executive Director of the Department of Evangelism in the Federal Council of Churches, began to promote the idea of World Communion Sunday, his idea was a mustard seed, but that idea moved the mulberry trees of the world’s churches. When Martin Luther King, Jr., and the ministers conceived of the Montgomery bus boycott, the idea was a mustard seed when compared to the massive structures of racism in that city. When we face the reality of hunger and poverty around the world, we can imagine Jesus’ followers taking bread and cup, finding ways to plant seeds of food and seeds of hope. When we taste these elements, we can taste the goodness of well-fed sisters and brothers, and step forward to share from our abundance.

Just as Jesus assured his disciples that their faith (the size of a mustard seed) was sufficient to move a massive tree into the sea, so today we take this tiny bit of bread and small sip of juice (wine) and believe it is sufficient for great ministry in Jesus’ name.

So come, for the feast is prepared and you are invited. “Come take the bread, come drink the wine, come, share the Lord” (from CH 408, Come Share the Lord).

• Closing Prayer

You have nourished us at this Table, God of abundance. So now send us out to live abundantly, sharing your love, your grace and your peace, through the power of Jesus Christ we pray, AMEN.

Suggestions for Celebrating World Communion Sunday

A. Preparing and serving breads from around the world is a wonderful way to bring the symbolism of World Communion Sunday to life. It also provides an object lesson that makes more real to us the concept of the basic food for human life in each culture. While the churches in the United States may recognize a loaf of bread, wafers or tiny crackers as our communion staple, these items would be quite unusual to Mexicans, Indians, Asians or Africans. And though many U.S. grocery stores are beginning to carry a variety of food staples of other cultures, these items may not be readily available in your area. You may be able to get tortillas, pitas or rice cakes, but why not increase the adventure and bake your own international breads?

With a little research you may find recipes from the cultural heritage of your congregation members and beyond. You may be able to provide several different types of bread for the worship service, or have them available during Sunday School or Coffee Hour with artifacts and information about the country the bread originates from. Recipes are available in a variety of places, cookbooks, the library, grocery stores, friends, family and the Internet. The following link may have just what you are looking for:The Free Internet Bread Recipe Archive-

Some recipes are for traditional, common ethnic or national breads. Others are more modern breads made by people from different countries. You’ll find unleavened bread, Sardinian Parchment bread, Indian (Native American) Fry Bread, Indian Puris bread, Indian Roti, Swedish

rye, Irish soda bread, Irish brown bread, Portuguese Sweet Bread, Latvian Sourdough, Chinese Pan Bread, Ancient Essene Bread, Norwegian Landbroed, Challah and many more.

  1. Use songs and anthems sung in other languages (Numbers in parenthesis are from the Chalice Hymnal)
- “Halle-Halle-Halleluja” (41) – “Dona Nobis Pacem” (297)
- Spanish language hymns (indexed on page 831)
- Use songs from the Taize songbook available from GIA Publishing
(, search for “Music Editions from Taize”) or Cokesbury ( These songs are written or translated into 43 languages, including Latin.
  2. Use instruments from other cultures: drums, whistles, flutes, maracas, stringed instruments, etc.
  3. Read the scripture aloud in two or three languages. Get those who are studying foreign languages to practice and then read the scripture aloud in worship. If you have people in your congregations for whom your worship language is not native, ask them to read in their own tongue.
  4. Invite a missionary (or former missionary) to attend worship and tell of their experience. What does “communion” mean where they minister? What elements correspond to the bread and wine?
  5. Have a pulpit exchange with another church in your community. Exchange preachers or invite members to visit each other’s congregations for the day.

*** Please let us know how you celebrated World Communion Sunday: I would love to hear about what you did and what unique observances you have in your community. Send any ideas, suggestions and stories to Robert Welsh, Council on Christian Unity, PO Box 1986, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1986 or e- mail to


Resources from the Peacemaking Offering (

include a complete Service for the Lord’s Day.

Prayers for Church Unity

O God,
you are the giver of life.
We pray for the church in the whole world.
Sanctify her life, renew her worship,
give power to her witnessing,
restore her unity.
Give strength to those who are searching together
for that kind of obedience which creates unity.
Heal the divisions separating your children one from another, so that they will make fast, with bonds of peace,
the unity which the Spirit gives. Amen. (BCW, p. 811, a prayer from Zaire)

Holy God, giver of peace, author of truth,
we confess that we are divided and at odds with one another, that a bad spirit has risen among us
and set us against your Holy Spirit of peace and love.
Take from us the mistrust, party spirit, contention,
and all evil that now divides us.
Work in us a desire for reconciliation,
so that, putting aside personal grievances,
we may go about your business with a single mind,
devoted to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. (BCW, p. 812)

good beyond all that is good,
fair beyond all that is fair,
in you is calmness, peace, and concord.
Heal the dissensions that divide us from one another
and bring us back to a unity of love
bearing some likeness to your divine nature.
Through the embrace of love
and the bonds of godly affection,
make us one in the Spirit
by your peace which makes all things peaceful.
We ask this through the grace, mercy, and tenderness
of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCW, p. 812, Dionysius of Alexandria, died 264)

Litany Of Confession1

Gracious God, who made covenant with our ancestors,

we gather here today as a rebellious people.

We want to act out your intentions for us,

but we get sidetracked by the false glitter of the world.

You tell us to honor Creation

But we use other people, animals, and plants for our own gain.

You offer bread to every living creature,

and we steal that bread from our brothers and sisters in the name of greed.

You promise us new life,

But we shrink back in fear, clinging to our death-dealing ways.

Heal us, O Lord, lest we destroy ourselves and the planet.

We need your healing presence among us,

That your good intentions for all of creation might be fulfilled at last

Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

A Great Prayer of Thanksgiving for World Communion Sunday [tdls]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise
for you looked upon all your hands wrought
and called it good.
You smile upon purple mountains soaring above wildflower plains where grasses raise their backs to meet your Spirit’s caress

You send clouds scuttling across reflective waters
and set stars to wink upon the earth in deep, knowing delight. You call the tune for dolphins dancing in the play of waves. As giraffes amble across savannahs,
birds sing in full-throated praise
and children of various hues giggle
as they run free in your image.
Despite your created goodness,
we use our freedom for ourselves alone
without regard for your intentions for all.
Still, you chase after us to save us from sin’s harm,

1 Katie Holmes and Teresa Stricklen adapted this from “Sacred Spaces and an Abundant Life Worship Spaces as Stewardship,” 2010 National Council of Churches’ Eco-Justice Program, Earth Day Resource, which, in turn, was adapted from the U.N. Environmental Sabbath, Earth Gospel 120.

freeing us from slavery to give us a new world

flowing with milk and honey. When we chase after other gods,

you call us back to you

through cries of prophets,
which we ignore,
until at last you send your own child to be for us the goodness we refuse.

Therefore we praise you,
joining our voices with the choir of creation

and all the saints of all times and places who forever sing to the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed are you, O Christ,
for coming to us as a little child
to live baptized in the muck of our fallen world. Embodying God’s desire to bless all people
you spoke peace to a war-mongering empire, and were blessed to be a blessing to all people. When threatened with the terror of crucifixion, you did not keep silent but stood up
with resurrection new life
to turn the bread of human affliction
into manna from heaven,
and to turn the bitter dregs of sin
into the cup of joyful celebration.

So as we await your coming among us

In the fullness of your sovereign glory, we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.

Praised be you, Holy Spirit, blowing through time

to enliven your people, the church,
to live as Christ’s body,
in God’s ministry of repairing our broken world.

Come hover over us now

with your bright brooding wings in the breaking of bread

and in the celebration of this cup,

that our eyes may be opened
to recognize Christ among us
and in all who share in this feast.
Knit us more closely together
in the fellowship of your sovereign Way.
We offer ourselves, our lives, our resources,
To be your hands reaching into the world
With your unfathomable compassion.
Fill us like breath fills flutes
To be instruments of your peace.
Where there is lack of regard for your creation
Prod us to speak up.
Where people fail to see the dignity of all persons,
Open blind eyes.
Where there is silence about others being hurt,
Impassion us with a desire for justice.
Lord, your creation groans under abuse.
Renew the earth with goodness.
Your children are starving across this globe.
*To those who hunger
Give bread.
And to those who have bread
Give hunger for justice. *2
People languish in prisons,
Some unjustly,
Some without repentance,
And some for standing up for your Way.
Release the captives, Lord.
O God, our Sovereign, leaders in all lands
take bribes and afflict their peoples.
Topple oppressive powers with your rule
and send the rich empty away.
Your church luxuriates in the comfort of faith;
Send us to be your servants in service to the world. The sick suffer forgotten in pain
Heal their hurts in body, mind, and spirit.
People have solicited our prayers
And others needing our prayers weigh heavy on our hearts So we offer these, our prayers to you:
{Name those for whom you are in intercession before God}

2 The prayer between the asterisks is from Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, W. Mark Koenig, ed., Justice and Peace Shall Kiss: Praying through the Year (Louisville: Presbyterian Church (USA), n.d.), 17.

Gather all these prayers and praise

And join them with those of all the saints And with our Great High Priest
who taught us to pray, saying . . .

The Lord’s Prayer {using the language closest to your heart}

Words of Institution


During communion, you may wish to sing “We Come to This Table.”

KREMSER (“We Gather Together”)

We come to this table, O God, with thanksgiving. We lift up our hearts, we remember, we pray.
We hear Jesus’ welcome– inviting, forgiving;
We know your Spirit’s peace as we feast here today.

We dine at your table as sisters and brothers,
Diverse in our cultures, yet nourished as one.
The bread and the cup that we share here with others Are gifts uniting all who are claimed by your Son.

We grieve for your world here; we cry, “How much longer?” We pray for the cycles of violence to cease.
Yet here, in Christ broken, we’re fed and made stronger
To labor in his name for a world filled with peace.

We rise from this table with new dedication
To feed the world’s children, to free the oppressed, To clear out the minefields, to care for creation;
We pray, O God of peace, that our work will be blest.3

Other appropriate communion music may include hymns of praise from other countries.

Prayer after Communion:
Help us rise in your resurrection power
from this table where you,
the Ruler of the Universe,
have served us by your own hand,
that we may extend your arms
of peace to a world at war.
This we ask through Christ, in Christ, with Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

3 Text: Copyright 2002 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved. Copied from Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (Discipleship Resources – Upper Room Books, 2009). Email: AcompletelistofCarolyn’

May all honor and glory and dominion be yours Now and forevermore.

Preface for World Communion Sunday

(Book of Common Worship, p. 133)
This may be substituted for the beginning of the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving before the Sanctus (“Holy,

holy, holy. . .”)

You formed the universe in your wisdom, and created all things by your power. You set us in families on the earth
to live with you in faith.

We praise you for good gifts of bread and wine, and for the table you spread in the world
as a sign of your love for all people in Christ.

World Communion Sunday Resources II – (Disciples of Christ-United Church of Christ)


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