We often see more focus on the sacraments during Lent as we celebrate Holy Communion more often and more people choose to be baptized. We also remember the Lord’s Supper and Jesus’ own baptism during this season.
Help your church experience a greater connection to these sacraments with these resources that offer a deeper understanding of baptism and Holy Communion for all ages.
Official United Methodist Resources
The United Methodist Church has official documents about our beliefs on baptism and Holy Communion. These resources reprint these documents and provide study guides for them.
By Water and the Spirit: Making Connections for Identity and Ministry by Gayle Carlton Felton includes our official understanding of baptism as approved by the 1996 General Conference. The book also includes a 6-session study guide. This book serves as a resource for congregational leaders who are helping members make connections between the baptismal covenant and discipleship in daily life.
The Meaning of Baptism in The United Methodist Church by Mark W. Stamm is a new companion booklet to By Water and the Spirit for individual and small group study. It is available as a free download.
Baptism in The United Methodist Church is a DVD companion to By Water and the Spirit. It includes personal stories, two sessions on how and why we baptize for adults, and one session each for youth (ages 12-18) and children (ages 9-11).
This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion also by Gayle Carlton Felton includes our official understanding of Holy Communion as adopted by the 2004 General Conference along with a study guide. The Media Center has 17 copies of this book available for borrowing.
This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion: A Study Guide for Children and Youth by Carolyn K. Tanner is based off of the official resource for adults by the same name. This book includes a 7-session study guide along with the official document and reproducible handouts.
Understanding the Sacraments
The author of the official study guides above, Gayle Carlton Felton, also wrote United Methodists and the Sacraments. This book is designed as a 6-session study with chapters that cover United Methodist beliefs about baptism and Holy Communion and an exploration of what it means to live out the sacraments in daily Christian life.
Mark W. Stamm has also written extensively about the sacraments, and he offers his take in Sacraments and Discipleship: Understanding Baptism and the Lord’s Supper in a United Methodist Context. Drawing on Scripture and Wesleyan heritage, as well as on personal and pastoral experience, Stamm discusses the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion as the living center of accountable Christian communities. This book comes with a 6-session study guide.
Holy Communion Resources
Holy Communion: Celebrating God with Us by Kenneth M. Loyer is part of the Belief Matters series edited by Will Willimon. This 4-session study provides insights and practical suggestions for giving this sacrament a more prominent role, not just in church life, but in the Christian formation of individuals.
Living Into the Mystery is a DVD produced by Discipleship Ministries of the UMC. It is a compilation of the stories of the experience and meaning of Holy Communion from laity, seminarians, and clergy from diverse settings across the United States.
Take Bread and Cup, Then Serve! by Donald A. Webb responds to a resurgence of interest in the traditional service of Holy Communion and arose from people in one Methodist congregation who sought to more deeply know God and to be Christ’s fellow servants. It includes the liturgy used by the congregation as well as scripture readings used during services.
Communion Services by Robin Knowles Wallace is part of the Just In Time! series. The book offers a collection of Communion prayers and ready-to-use resources for worship. Included is information on Communion elements, vessels, and methods with answers to commonly asked questions.
Conflict and Communion: Reconciliation and Restorative Justice at Christ’s Table includes 10 essays, written by a diverse group of church leaders, that reflect on practical ways to live the sacrament in the everyday and extraordinary life of congregations. Reclaim the radical restorative justice and interdependent community available through the Table of Holy Communion.
For Youth and Children
Touch the Water, Taste the Bread is a UMC-endorsed 6-week study, for children ages 4-8, that will help you introduce your children to the sacraments, the Bible story about Jesus baptism and the Bible story about the Last Supper. This resource comes as a CD-ROM that has everything you need, the Leaders Guide, PowerPoints for teaching, and lively music and sound effects that children will enjoy. Two accompanying storybooks, Come, Touch the Water and Come, Taste the Bread, are also available.
What is Baptism? and What is Communion? are UMC-endorsed books for ages 9-12. By working through the fun activities, puzzles, and games in these booklets, pre-teens will learn the basic fundamentals of Christian sacraments.
Happy Baptism Day is a children’s picture book for ages 4-8 in which a child remembers what made her baptism day special. The book helps children understand and celebrate their own baptism day. The author, Judy Jolly, and the illustrator, Susan Harrison, are members of the North Carolina Conference.
If your group is exploring other spiritual practices during Lent, consider using resources listed in our Spiritual Disciplines pathfinder.
Request These Resources
These resources can be borrowed for free by anyone involved with a United Methodist Church in the North Carolina Conference. We can even mail them to you! All you need to do is fill out the Resource Request Form.