Reception of Holy Communion

Do you have open or closed communion? Do I have to be a member of a WELS church to receive Communion?

Our practice is close communion. It is the historic and biblical practice of the Christian Church. The practice has the purposes of ensuring that, as far as humanly possible, those receiving the Sacrament do so to their benefit and not their harm (1 Corinthians 11:27-30), and that the oneness that is expressed in receiving the Sacrament is genuine and not contrived (1 Corinthians 10:17).

Reception of Holy Communion is an expression of unity and fellowship with others who receive it. How do we know that those who receive the Sacrament are united in the faith with one another? We certainly cannot look into their hearts, but we can hear their common confession of faith. That is where church membership enters the picture. We see church membership as a way in which Christians acknowledge Jesus before others (Matthew 10:32) and publicly indicate their unity in faith and doctrine with fellow believers.

What this means in practical terms is that our pastors commune those who belong to churches of our fellowship. This link will take you to the website of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, which explains our worldwide fellowship.

I would encourage you to speak to the pastor of your local WELS congregation to learn what it might mean for you to join that congregation.