Holy Communion modern blogtheologikanetEvery now and again my blog stats show that someone is looking for information on receiving Communion in another church. 

Whilst the answer below may not be 100% complete, I hope it will help those looking for an answer to this question.  If you are reading this and have comments, please let me know. 

First, what is ‘closed Communion’?  It is the practice of allowing only church or denomination members to receive the Sacrament. Open Communion is for all baptised Christians.  Exclusive Communion is for churches where there is a prior arrangement.  Universal Communion is for anyone who wishes to receive it, including non-Christians.

A quick answer as to who may receive Holy Communion is to check with someone who will know: a friend who may be a church member or ring the church yourself and ask.  The receptionist will know the policy.  Don’t be embarrassed to ask!

An important note for Catholics: Whilst other churches listed below may allow you, as a baptised Christian, to receive Holy Communion, the Catholic Church technically allows you to receive it, although your parish priest (like ours) will probably say it is forbidden. But, have a look at this passage from the 1993 Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms of Ecumenism (see p. 4 of this link):

Catholics who attend non-Catholic churches are ‘encouraged to take part in the psalms, responses, hymns and common actions of the Church in which they are guests’.
 Closed Communion churches
  • Catholic
  • Lutheran Church – Canada
  • Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS)
  • Presbyterian (except for PCUSA — see below) 

Open (or Exclusive) Communion churches:

If you wish to add to this list, please let me know.  Please include a URL, if you can.  Many thanks!