Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Scottish Communion Season

This week is a communion season in our church.  I'm guessing that most of my readers know how a Scottish communion season works.  But in case you don't, here's a nice article by David Murray of the Free Church Continuing.

The Scottish Communion Season

A few things about our communion seasons differ from the article's description, but the pattern of services is basically the same.  One thing that the article doesn't mention is how people often travel to visit other congregations' communion seasons.  Communions are definitely a special time of fellowship.

I've only been through one Scottish-style communion season, liked it very much, and am looking forward to this one as well.  We will have Rev. Roddie Macleod here from Scotland to assist with the communion services.  He is the minister who married my brother and his wife.

The rest of this week will be busy, so goodbye until next week. :)


  1. Not all FCC churches have all the services anymore, but probably it is still done in the highlands and islands of Scotland...but I don't know for sure.

  2. or maybe it is free church im thinking! :S

  3. Sharon,

    I have to admit, as much as I read all things related to Scottish Reformation/history, Presbyterianism, etc. I have never heard of the "Scottish Communion Season" I have read Murray's article and have some thoughts/questions/comments regarding it:

    How often does a congregation of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (FPCS)take communion?

    The structure of the week eerily reminded me of the papist easter week, especially with the mention of a "fast day" (lent?)

    How does the administration of the "question" and "speaking to the question" during a service fit into the regulative principle of worship?

    I have a strong affinity for the FPCS and was rather surprised that they do something like this, I'm not saying its wrong ;), How do they justify it biblically?

    I'd welcome any response from you.

    In HIM, Larry

  4. Hi Larry,

    Thanks for the questions.

    Most FP congregations take communion twice a year, with members also traveling to attend other congregations' communion seasons as able.

    I believe that the question meeting is not considered public worship; so the regulative principle would not apply. It's also referred to as a fellowship meeting.

    The main elements of the communion seasons (preparatory services, thanksgiving services, etc.) developed shortly after the Scottish Reformation, and they have been times of refreshment and revival on many occasions through the history of the Scottish church. Sadly, communion seasons are not as widely practiced as they used to be, though they are still done in the FP church and in a few others (though often in abbreviated form.)

    I know I've read articles that did a good job of explaining the Biblical justification for communion seasons, but I wouldn't know where to find those articles now. Let me ask around and see if I can find a link or two for you. :)


  5. Sharon,

    Thanks for the reply! Anything you find would be appreciated. I'm leading a class on the WCF and would like to bring up the Communion Season when we get to that part of the confession. I've been reading much on the FPCS as of late and envy you, getting to be on the ONLY congregation in the entire USA.. Hows the new job?

  6. ok, I forgot to identify myself in my reply I just sent

    It's Larry

  7. A quote from Rutherford with proof texts for the various elements of the Lord's Supper, including preparatory services and thanksgiving services:

    "This Sacrament requiring a self-examination going before, 1 Cor. 11. 28. Therefore a Sermon of preparation is preached the day before, even as Christ prepared and dieted his guests with heavenly Sermons preceding the action, as is cleare, Luke 22. 14, 15. Marke 14. 18, 19, 20. Mat. 26. 21, 22, 23. Iohn 13. v. 13, 14, 15, 16. A Table is covered, not an Altar erected, as is Luke 22. 21. Iohn 13. 28. A Sermon for the pupose in hand is preached before, as Christ doth, Joh. 13. 18, 19 20. Mat. 26. 22, 23. as a Sermon goeth before Baptisme, Acts 8. 35, 39. Acts 19. 4, 5, 6. The banqueters sit downe at Table, even as Iesus sate downe with the twelve Disciples, as is Mat. 26. v. 20. and v. 28. Marke 14. v. 18. and 22. the Lord honouring them with Table-honour with himselfe, as is cleare, Luke 22. 21. Iohn 13. 24, 28. The Pastor taketh the bread, and before he breake it, he giveth thanks, and prayeth for the blessing of the Elements, to the end and use appointed by Christ, even as Christ did, Mat. 26. 26 and thereafter taketh the bread, rehearseth the words of the institution, and breaketh the bread, and giveth to the banqueters, and they divide it amongst them, at Christs commandement, as also he taketh the cup, and saith, drinke ye all of this, this is the New Testament; &c. as Christ did, Mat. 26. 26, 27. Marke 14. 22, 23. Luke 22. 19, 20. v. 17. In the meane time while the people are eating and drinking, the Pastor is speaking of Christs love in dying for man, of the Lords death, of faith required in annuntiating the Lords death till he come againe, even as Christ all the while entertained his guests with heavenly Sermons, as is cleare, Mat. 26. 28, 29. Marke 14. 25. Luke 22. 21, 22. Iohn 13. and having done, they sing a Psalme, as Christ and his Disciples did, Mat. 6. 28. Mar. 14 26 all the while Elders in reverend and decent manner attend the service of the Table as the banquet requireth; for that some serve at that Supper is gathered from Mat. 26. 19. Marke 14. 15. where mention is made of a large upper roome furnished and prepared, which is a cleare warrant for a large Table, a cleane and faire Table-cloth, Basons, Cups, and vessels decent and comely for that service, and from Christ his guirding himselfe with a towell, and washing their feet, and standing as a servant, Iohn 13. 4, 5, 6. Luke 22. 27. The nature of the Sacrament requires thanksgiving, and therefore afternoone a Sermon of thanksgiving is preached, which is also warranted from Mat. 26. 30."

  8. (The above quote is from Rutherford's "A Peacable and Temperate Plea.")

    And an article by Rev. Sherman Isbell of the FCC, which describes more fully the development of the communion season:

    Larry, I'll keep an eye out for additional resources. I hope your class goes well. What denomination do you attend?

    And the new job is great, thank you. It's nice working for/with friends from church.

  9. Sharon,

    Man, you don't mess around! Thank you so much for the info. I'll be sending you an email soon, its easier for me than the blog commenting, if that's OK with you of course ;)


  10. The follow articles may be found online in the FP Magazine. I hope these will be helpful:

    January 2004, p. 12

    October 2004, p. 304

    November 2004, p. 333


  11. Dorene,

    AWESOME! Thank you very much!!


  12. Dorene,

    Thanks very much for the links. They are helpful. I hope you and your family are well. :)

    Larry, if e-mail is easier for you, that's fine.


    1. Sharon,

      Yes, our family is okay. Thanks. It has been great seeing some of your siblings recently, especially with one of them conducting the services. :)

      A couple of years ago, those articles on the communion season were helpful in educating our family on its history and purpose.



      It’s nice to be able to share available information on Scottish Church History. Hope you receive much benefit from your studies. :)



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