Public Worship and Communion by Extension

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Joint Liturgical Studies 53

In June 1993 the General Synod of the Church of England received a report from the House of Bishops outlining some preliminary thoughts about ‘extended communion’ – that is, the practice of distributing bread and wine consecrated in the liturgy of one congregation to another, separate congregation.’ The report observed that the question had ‘received intermittent attention’ since the late 1970s, and that the time had come to consider official regulation and authorization of a practice that was already widespread.’ Eventually, in 2001, the House of Bishops published an official rite for Public Worship with Communion by Extension.’ Thus it now seems that extended communion is an established feature of Anglican worship. The purpose of this essay is to examine the pastoral
and theological issues that have led to the authorization of extended communion, and to discuss whether the new liturgy represents an adequate response.

Alex Hughes