Presbyterian churches hold joint service for World Communion Sunday

Oct. 02, 2013 @ 12:26 PM

On World Communion Sunday, two Triangle Presbyterian churches will be in communion for communion.

For the 17th year, Covenant Presbyterian Church in Durham and the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill will gather for a joint worship service on World Communion Sunday, this Sunday. This year the service will be at Covenant Presbyterian on Weaver Street, led by Rev. Jimmie Hawkins.

Howard Carter is a member of the Church of Reconciliation, which is also Presbyterian, and chairs the worship committee that helped plan the event.

“It’s a sweet event. We usually alternate their house and our house, and have also held it at a park in Durham,” Carter said. “In good weather, we have communion outside.”

Sue McLaurin, a member of Covenant and clerk of session, thinks the joint service is “a wonderful gathering of people in terms of worshipping not as individuals, but collectively worshipping -- what World Communion Day is all about.”

World Communion Sunday originated at a Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1936 to bring churches together in a service of unity. It is now observed by multiple denominations, including the United Methodist Church and United Church of Christ. It is held on the first Sunday of October.

Hawkins and Rev. Katie Ricks, associate pastor of the Church of Reconciliation, will each preach a short sermon. This week, the choirs from each church rehearsed together, with a song picked from both. In addition to the shared sermons and music, each church also will have four communion servers, two greeters, four ushers and two children to pick up the communion cups.

Carter, who has served on the worship committee since 2001, said he likes working behind the scenes to make the event happen, which includes figuring out things like parking. Reconciliation members plan to carpool to Covenant.

After the service, “we talk to each other, the usual chitchat, so I know people from before,” he said.

McLaurin said they get to know each other and that Covenant members look forward to the service each year.

“It’s just an inspirational day,” she said, that embodies the whole idea of celebration, brotherhood and discipleship. “The fact is, it’s unity,” McLaurin said.

The service at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2620 Weaver St. in Durham, will be held at 11 a.m. For information about the churches, visit or