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United Methodist Beliefs: Open Table

Do you have questions about the meaning of some of the terms and teachings of The United Methodist Church? In this series, we ask clergy to share their understanding of topics. No preaching, just conversation. In this episode we discuss the important United Methodist concept of the open table for Communion with the Rev. Gary Henderson.


The Rev. Gary Henderson: “When we use the term 'open table,' we’re really referring to the Communion table where all are welcome; welcome without regard to difference. It is a table where there are no barriers to community. It is a place where we experience the love of God. ‘God so loved the world that God gave.’ The image that I have is the image of a banquet where everyone is a VIP, a very important person with a special seat at the table. At this table, I know I am special. I know that I am honored here. I just want to be present and linger a while in the company of others. I sense at this table, that God is present and the real guest of honor. We have some scholars and worship leaders who will state that there are actually some restrictions – they will note the liturgy in the Book of Worship and other places include phrases such as “all who love him, who earnestly repent of their sin and seek to live in peace with one another.” So, the table is open to all without regard to age, gender, ethnicity, intellect, other things that are visible, but the invitation does ask for some self-examination. John Wesley invited all to the table. The Lord, Jesus Christ invited all to the table. All are welcome at the open table.”


To find a pastor to talk with and a church to visit, try Find-A-Church.

View the entire series Reflections on our Faith.

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN.
Media contact is Joe Iovino.

This video was first posted on September 7, 2017.

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

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