LOUISVILLE

Most Presbyterians worship in congregations that celebrate the Lord’s Supper once a month, and most like that frequency.  One-third of ministers, however, would prefer weekly Lord’s Supper celebrations.

These are findings from the February 2009 Presbyterian Panel survey on sacraments.

Three-quarters of members, elders, pastors and non-pastoral ministers are part of a congregation that celebrates the Lord’s Supper once a month. Seven in 10 ministers and three in five members and elders prefer monthly celebrations.  On the other hand, one-third of ministers, but only about one in 10 members and elders, would like their congregation to celebrate the Lord’s Supper weekly.

“Although some ministers would like to celebrate the Lord’s Supper every week, most Presbyterians are fine with doing so monthly,” said Perry Chang, Presbyterian Panel administrator.

In addition to preferring monthly Lord’s Supper celebrations, many Presbyterians believe that both adults and children who have not been baptized should be able to participate in the Lord’s Supper.

Three in five members, elders, pastors, and non-pastoral ministers believe that adults who have not been baptized should “definitely” or “probably” be permitted to participate in Lord’s Supper celebrations. Half of members, 55 percent of elders, and three in five pastors and non-pastoral ministers believe that children who have not been baptized should “definitely” or “probably” be permitted to participate in Lord’s Supper celebrations.

About one-third of members, elders, pastors, and non-pastoral ministers oppose permitting participation by children who have not been baptized. The rest are “not sure.” One-quarter of members and elders and about one-third of pastors and non-pastoral ministers oppose permitting participation by adults who have not been baptized. The rest are “not sure.”

“Although Presbyterians are somewhat divided on whether worshipers who haven’t been baptized should be able to participate in the Lord’s Supper, more say ‘Yes’ than say “No’ to this,”  Chang said.

The Presbyterian Panel is made up of randomly chosen Presbyterian church members, elders and ministers who respond to questions on different topics four times a year. The Panel assembles a representative sample every three years and provides a way for church leaders to learn the opinions of rank-and-file Presbyterians.