Disciples News Service

The Already and Not Yet: WCC dispatch #9

In addition to proclaiming the Word during a noontime Eucharist service, General Minister and President Sharon Watkins presided over the Table, serving alongside the United Church of Christ’s general minister and president, Geoffrey Black. Michael Kinnamon, Disciple scholar, receives communion from Watkins.

The Already and Not Yet – Celebrating the Eucharist

By Nathan Wilson

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the world reformed communions, including the United Church of Christ, hosted a celebration of the Eucharist at the World Council of Churches’ 10th Assembly meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea. The celebration was open to all assembly attendees. 

The Rev. Dr. Robert Welsh, ecumenical officer for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), emphasized this point when he welcomed participants stating, “This is not a celebration of the Lord’s Supper for the Disciples and Reformed. This is a celebration of the one church gathered around Christ and responding to his gift of oneness and unity for all.”

The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), read scripture and preached. Watkins began her homily with a powerful family story emphasizing the centrality of the Eucharist. Watkins’ mother reminded their family that they “go to church for the communion!” 

“Here at this place we are so aware of the dance of ecumenical life: We are here celebrating the unity that we already have in Christ Jesus.  Jesus did all.  And yet, there is a reality of the broken body.  Some eat, others don’t – whether it is this table or the other tables out there,” said Watkins.

“We experience the already and the not yet,” said Watkins, referring to the gift of unity already given by God and the not yet reality of lived church unity.

Along with Watkins, celebrants were Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches; Geoffrey Black, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ in the United States; and Sarah Lund, associate conference minister of the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ. Tércio Junker, assistant professor of worship at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, led music for the worshippers.

Wilson pastors First Christian Church in Shelbyville, Indiana, and coordinates the “Faith & Values” section of The Indianapolis Star. He is an accredited media representative at the WCC’s 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea.