Please feel free to adapt the following letter for use in your congregation.
Break Bread Together
The United Methodist Church celebrates open communion in the spirit of a Sacrament of Remembering the Last Supper. John Wesley emphasized communion as "the grand channel whereby the grace of His Spirit was conveyed to the souls of all the children of God."
This congregation includes believers whose health is at risk by consuming any wheat, barley, rye and common oats. An estimated 1 in 100 Americans are affected by wheat sensitivities and celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune disease. In seeking an opportunity for full open communion, Pastor Johnson inquired about a positive way to serve parishioners who cannot eat wheat. In our discussions, it became evident that the bread formulated without wheat and gluten was suitable for the entire congregation.
In the spirit of bringing us together as a community, this church will initiate the use of communion bread free of wheat, barley, rye and oats - a bread uniting this congregation in a common experience. Modifying the ingredients of the Communion Bread visibly models "community" for all.
The November 4 service of Holy Communion in this church will have special meaning for me. As a person with celiac disease, it has been 21 years since I could participate, totally, in a shared Sacrament of Communion. In preparation I studied Paul's words to the Corinthians on the Lord's Supper.
References: John Wesley Sermon I, 440
I Corinthians 11:17-12:31
With special thanks to Pastor Johnson
Mary Schluckebier, Executive Director
Celiac Support Association