The Theory and Practice of Extended Communion: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Theory and Practice of Extended Communion

1st Edition

By Phillip Tovey


210 pages

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Three churches have recently produced liturgies for 'extended communion'. This is the distribution of previously consecrated elements at a public service by lay people or a deacon in the absence of a priest. This development began in the Roman Catholic Church with the Vatican 'Directory on Sunday Worship in the absence of a priest' in 1988. The Methodist Church produced a service of Extended Communion in 1999, and the Church of England authorized 'Public Worship with Communion by Extension' in 2001. In this book Phillip Tovey examines these churches to discover the reasons for the production of these services and their theological rationale. An in-depth examination of case studies draws conclusions highly relevant to the wider church.


’This book is useful in providing information about the ministration of communion apart from Eucharistic celebration. It is pioneering as one of the first English monographs employing emerging methodologies for discovering participant understanding of worship, in the form of a bibliographically well-resourced case study of local practices and interpretations.’ Practical Theology ’The ecumenical liturgical movement has emphasized consistently the centrality of the Eucharist in the Sunday gathering of the Christian assembly. In most churches the presider at the Eucharist is ordained for that ministry. But what happens when such leadership is no longer available to every assembly? In The Theory and Practice of Extended Communion, Phillip Tovey explores the ways in which three ecclesial traditions - Roman Catholic, British Methodist, and Anglican - have responded to the growing shortage of persons ordained for sacramental ministry and the consequences these responses are having on eucharistic practice and theology… Tovey's research in important. He addresses a timely and difficult question shared across denominational lines: if the Eucharist is to be central to the Sunday assembly, how will the Church provide for its celebration in the assembly? However we answer this question, Tovey helps us see that extended communion in its several forms creates perhaps more problems for the Church than it solves.’ Worship ’There is no question that Tovey has produced a well-written, well-researched study and I hope his findings will be disseminated appropriately. This should, in my view, lead to a revision and reform of the current liturgical provision for extended communion within the Church of England (and beyond)… it is a 'must read' for anyone studying extended communion, and […] many of its conclusions are important and should be taken very seriously.’ Anaphora ’I believe [this book] will serve as a major contribution to the much-needed oversight

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: the nature and scope of this book; Part I Developments in the Churches: The Roman Catholic church; The Methodist church; The Church of England and the Anglican Communion; Part I: conclusions. Part II A Case Study and Theological Implications: Case studies from the rural parishes; Case studies from the urban parishes; Repercussions for ministry; Questions of liturgical practice; Implications for ecclesiology; Part II: conclusions. Part III General Conclusions: General conclusions; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Phillip Tovey has worked in ministerial education for almost a decade and is well known for his many publications in the field of liturgy. His last major book was 'Inculturation of Christian Worship: Exploring the Eucharist' published by Ashgate. He has conducted in-depth research into the issue of Communion by Extension over a number of years, and this book is one of the most extensive discussions of this modern phenomenon.

About the Series

Liturgy, Worship and Society Series

The Liturgy, Worship and Society series provides a library of innovative scholarship in liturgical studies at a time of vital changes in liturgical life and vigorous debates in academia. The series highlights contemporary work in liturgical studies, attuned both to traditional scholarly inquiry and to recent and emerging questions. In particular, the series is committed to exploring the relationship between liturgical life in Christian churches worldwide and the broader cultural and social contexts in which worship takes place. By offering a thorough grounding in the historical and theological foundations of liturgy as well as determined attention to contemporary developments and concerns, the Liturgy, Worship and Society series is set to make a vital contribution not only to scholarship in liturgical studies but also to the practice of Christian worship in the world today.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General