Sunday Worship – Extended Eucharist


Margaret Nicholas

Worship lasting two and a half hours? And with a coffee break in the middle? What were the planning team thinking of?

In fact it was a really refreshing experience to be able to worship and take part in the communion service without the pressure of time and this was a good ‘sending out’ after a conference which had given us so much to ponder.

Opening prayers, from India, culminated in the Lord’s Prayer presented by Arul Midgeley’s Indian dance workshop, to the Caribbean setting of the Lord’s Prayer. The children made their own contribution while others gave a dramatised presentation of the Bible reading John 4:3-42, the Samaritan woman at the well. This provided the theme for the stirring sermon given by Dr Daleep Mukarji, the then Vice President of the Methodist Conference who, coming from India, was able to relate the story to issues in that country raised over the weekend. After this, the climax of the first part of the service, we shared the peace before breaking for coffee.

The second part began with the offertory and was devoted to the Eucharist. Rev Rosemary fletcher presided and the words, taken from different Asian liturgies, including the prayer of invitation by a Dalit writer, were arresting and thought provoking.

A welcome ingredient of MWM Conferences is the chance to sing world church hymns and this service gave us great variety including Saranam, Saranam from Pakistan and a Dalit chorus led by Rob Newton with his guitar. We finished, fittingly, with

Sent by the Lord am I;
my hands are ready now
to make the earth the place
in which the kingdom comes.

Les Judd

Closing worship reflected the ethos of the conference. The Asian liturgy contained a variety of pleasing images from the Indian sub-continent and was interpreted by a deeply moving Indian dance. The vice president, Daleep Mukarji, preached about Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman. He pointed out Jesus’ vulnerability in asking for a drink, and his willingness to cross religious, cultural, ethnic and gender boundaries. He challenged us to do the same.

As a post communion reflection Jyoti Sahi, who had introduced his work in a plenary session, suggested that the soul of the artist resides in us all. This well within us is the key to understanding human need and the way to discover our common humanity. I found the worship deeply moving. It reflected the simultaneous challenges of engaging in meaningful meditation, and being called to action, for the benefit and blessing of the world.

Jill Baker

In the heart of every community is a source of water, and the motif of the well recurred throughout the weekend – most powerfully for me when Jyoti Sahi ‘broke the image’ of his painting of the woman at the well on the Saturday.

Gathering around the well for worship on the Sunday morning gave us the opportunity to engage with others who are thirsty as well as to draw from the living water ourselves. Through dramatized Bible reading, dance and preaching, the encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman was presented to us in different ways.

In communion, we were then invited to drink of the living water ourselves. There in front of us was the ‘broken bread’: shared amongst us as a tangible symbol of all we had received over the weekend. The Sri Lankan liturgy, which formed the framework for the entire service, added new perspectives and further refreshed us.


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