Divided by Communion
File this under "Only in Evangelicalism": retired engineer Wil Greenlee has invented a Communion cup filling machine, reducing the average time it takes to fill a 40-cup tray from 5 minutes to 2 seconds. The time savings really add up at Greenlee's church, massive Southeast Christian in Louisville, which goes through 20,000 cups of juice in three weekend services. A process that used to take a 75-member prep team two nights to complete can now be finished in one morning, and with less spillage.
"Professional, worshipful, neat, clean and sanitary," Greenlee says of the improved routine.
For centuries, Catholic laypeople received only bread during Communion. No one knows exactly when the practice became common—worshipers in the early church shared bread, wine, and often a whole meal. But as the sacramental elements took on greater significance within Catholicism (they are believed to actually become flesh and blood upon consecration), greater pains were taken to preserve and protect them. By the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, when Hussites agitated for Communion in both kinds, the Catholic church was entrenched in its insistence on bread alone. This position was set by the Council of Trent, in the sixteenth century, then mitigated by Vatican II in the 1960s. The documents of Vatican II allow for Communion in both kinds in certain circumstances (a person's first Communion after baptism, for example), but many churches have extended the practice much farther.
The Eastern Orthodox church, like the Catholic church, asserts the "real presence" of Christ in the eucharistic elements, but it defines "real presence" differently. More accurately, perhaps, the Orthodox shy away from any strict definition. According ...