Communion Call (Benodiging tot het Avondmaal des Heeren, Invitation to the Lord's Supper). In the Dutch congregations much stress was laid on this benodiging, for the formula of the benodiging stated who was to partake. Originally only closed communion was known. Safety required it. In the early 17th century it was customary to invite members of other congregations or other Mennonite groups to take part in the communion. The conservative groups opposed this practice. In several Flemish congregations strife was engendered by this question. In 1678, for instance, at Alkmaar all those were invited "who were baptized upon confession"; in Leiden the formula invited "all those who were baptized in their maturity and are at peace with their congregation." This benodiging was customary with the Zonists. The Lamists used to have open communion. When the Flemish and Waterlander congregations in Leiden merged in 1701 they agreed on this benodiging: This table is the Lord's table . . . for those who confess the Lord Jesus in the knowledge of the truth, which is according to godliness. . . . Therefore we judge (ordeelen) as belonging to this table all nonresistant Christians, who have been baptized upon their faith, are free of the works of the flesh and offensive living and who entreat God daily for forgiveness for their weaknesses. But whereas there are Christians who differ from us on some points, if these are of an edifying life and a holy walk, and are not excluded by Christ the Lord in His Holy Word, and may be inclined to share with us this holy ceremony: with such we testify that we wish to observe the Holy Communion of the Lord, . . . (L. G. le Poole, Bijdr. tot Kennis v.h. Kerk-Leven onder de Doopsgezinden . . . te Leiden, 1905, 94 f.).
Still broader was the benodiging adopted by the congregation at Rotterdam at its unification in 1700. There "all Christians who wish to take Holy Communion with us are heartily invited," so that Remonstrants and even unbaptized Collegiants could participate in the communion. Gradually this became the current formula. In most congregations, however, it was customary that only the members of the congregation take part. In Friesland this was the case until very recently. Members who moved out of the region kept their membership with the congregation in which they had been baptized and came from far and near to take part in the communion service.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 655. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Communion Call." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/communion_call.
APA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1953). Communion Call. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/communion_call.