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What are these Yellow Books?

posted 9 Oct 2013, 08:38 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 9 Oct 2013, 08:53 ]

Our newly acquired service resources, called in the SEC the ‘yellow books’, are used for ‘Extended Eucharist’ or ‘Communion with Reserved Sacrament.’ This term describes a service of communion which is led by a deacon or lay person. Our Lay Readers are all licensed and trained to preach and lead, and have years of experience in it; but they are not ordained. They have been called to a very different ministry role, one focused on ‘the word’ – reading, preaching, teaching, and listening. This is leadership of a very high order, a very important gift to a congregation. ‘Reserved sacrament’ refers to previously consecrated bread and wine, reverently stored for future communion services. In our tradition, only a priest or bishop is authorised to consecrate the communion elements, in worship with others. You will recognize the sequence of prayers of consecration from our various books: we thank God; we remember Jesus as he asked his disciples to do; and we ask God to send the Holy Spirit upon us and upon the bread and wine.

With reserved sacrament, that prayer has already happened. At a service of Holy Communion with Reserved Sacrament we start with whatever form of the first part of the service is set for the day (e.g. 1970, 1982, Family Communion). After the offertory we move into the adapted form: we continue by remembering the congregation that was present when the elements were blessed. Sometimes we cannot name the exact date, or list each name of those present, but God knows. For us it is enough to remember that we are in communion, through communion, in so many ways.

We then prepare our hearts to receive these blessed gifts by using one of the prayers of thanksgiving in the yellow book. Two of the options include responses from the congregation, which is why we have purchased enough copies for everyone. You’ll see by the publishing date that these books have been used as the authorized practice in the Scottish Episcopal Church for twenty years. They have allowed our congregations to respond at a time when we have more local worship than priests to lead it. Lay people who officiate at this form of the service are still required to be trained and licensed for it, by the Bishop and with the supervision of the local Rector or Priest-in-charge.

The outline of Deeside Sunday Services given elsewhere in this magazine uses the abbreviation HC/Res Sac to indicate when this form of service is planned.

Feel free to take a copy home to study. Ask questions. Make suggestions. It’s good to understand what we do, and why. It is vital to pay attention to how we pray. Our early Christian forebears put it this way: we pray what we believe; we believe what we pray.

Lisa Eunson, Interim Priest in Charge