Ladies Helping Distribute Communion
Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed some changes during communion. We have started inviting women, typically but not exclusively, the wives of elders, to distribute the elements with the elders. I would like to briefly explain why we have made this change.
First of all, we never made a conscious decision to only have men distributing the elements; it just kind of happened that way. Originally in the old days, I distributed communion to everyone, then as we grew, we began to use more stations and needed more people to distribute. As we needed more assistants, the elders began recruiting their own helpers, and felt more comfortable asking men than women.
Several months ago the session realized that by having men only serve, we were unintentionally communicating that only men do ministry in our church. That has never been the case. Since the very beginning, RiverOaks has followed the Bible’s instructions of having women minister to women. Presently we have a Women’s Care Committee that meets regularly along with women’s bible studies and we have several women going through the Soul Care classes at Plumbline.
We wanted to include women in the distribution of the elements to correct a false message. Women are very much included in the work of this church.
We also wanted to communicate a positive message. We believe that by putting a few women in a public position, we are guiding our members. We believe these ladies are mature, godly women who would be good people to seek out for counsel. As our church grows, we will not continue to enjoy the situation where everyone knows everyone. We felt the need for a way to quietly but clearly communicate who some of our female leaders are, and thought communion was a great way to do that.
I do want to make clear we are in no way changing our views of women’s ordination or even discussing it.* We have not changed who administers the sacraments. The pastor who breaks the bread, prays the prayers of consecration, fences the table and invites everyone to participate is “administering” the sacraments. Only those who have come before the elders to make a profession of faith (which you did when you joined this or another church) are invited to the table. The elders are in no way abrogating our responsibility to administer the Lord’s Supper.
However, we are thoughtfully inviting women to help us distribute the sacraments.
We hope this letter clarifies any confusion this change may have caused. If you still have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of your elders.
Ricky Jones, Jonathan Dorst, Adrian Potts, Greg Marino, Bill Boyd, David Hall, Tim Nokes, Bevan Houston, and Taylor Gilpin
*For further reading about our view of gender roles in the church, please consult Jesus, Justice and Gender Roles by Kathy Keller. We have copies on the guest services table in the sanctuary.