Love Feast & Declining Church Standardsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
Since becoming an AME member five years ago a little known celebration, at least to me, was brought to my attention. It is called Love Feast. Now at least in my experience this "celebration" is poorly attended. Is this true in other AME churches around our Zion? Is so, why? One of my fellow members once told me that in the "old days" non-participation in Love Feast effectively barred a member from partaking in the Holy Communion Service the following Sunday. Is Love Feast still viewed as a prerequisite for Holy Communion? Does the current lack of participation in Love Feast signal we have succumbed to declining standards?
-- Anonymous, November 03, 2000
Bill, you have a knack for in to our heads. I first encountered the Love Feast in the AME Church and have never seen it anywhere else. The late Presiding Elder Alto L. Brown always celebrated the Love Feast at the opening of his meetings. I was uncomfortable because I didn't understand the Love Feast and so would not participate. (I believe that one cannot worship without understanding.) I still do not know the orgin of the Love Feast, perhaps the Corinthian letter of Paul's. It will be interesting to see some answers to thei question.
-- Anonymous, November 04, 2000
Bill as you know I too am new to the AME church. But I am familiar with the love feasts in other denominations and as assistant pastor have participated in the love feast in United Methodists churches. The Love feast is also called the Agape Feast and hails from the early church when it was part of communion. The premise of the Agape Feast was unity in the church for ALL people. It was done daily and was like a thanksgiving meal. Everyone brought food to the church and the poor and widows were invited. They did not have to bring anything. They were fed by the congregations. By the way the church of Corinth was the first church to break the tradition of the agape feast by stressing economic status instead of unity in the church and the feeding of the poor. Paul admonished the church for their treatment of the congregation. Agape Love is the most powerful and perfect love of all for it is unselfish and unconditional love. No where in the scripture does it says we must have a Agape Feast, but the old testament does tell us to take care of the poor. Later the Agape Feast evolved into the passing out of sweets and fruits to members. Also in the early church a collection was taken and the money given to the poor. And the agape feast was held in the homes of the wealthy. I cannot answer the second part of your question about standards going down. For I am not been a part of the AME church. But what I have seen from the activities listed on the web pages of the AME churches, it seems to me we are taking care of the poor, with economic development initiatives, food bank drives etc. Perhaps You can suggest a yearly date for an Agape Feast in your church. Such as Laity Sunday, Men's Day, Women's Day etc. Bill thanks for the interesting question. Rev. Denise Rogers
-- Anonymous, November 04, 2000
At St. Paul AME in Cambridge, MA we have a Love Feast following the Wednesday night Bible study, the Weds before the first Sunday. We partake of water to symbolicly cleanse the body and we break bread in fellowship. In breaking bread, we form smaller groups in which each person breaks a piece of bread from each other person and introduces themselves and so on around the group. Then the small group prays together, including addressing any prayer requests. I have found the Love Feast significant for me in preparation for the Lord's Supper and it offers a great opportunity meet other members at a personal level and pray with them.
-- Anonymous, November 06, 2000
In Emmanuel, Philly, we too celebrate Love Feast the Wednesday before first Suncay. Like St. Paul (from which I came), we use only water to signify cleansing, and bread. After a brief service (see the AME book of worship for the format), we form a circle. Each goes to the other in the circle taking a piece of their bread, and giving a piece of their own. In doing so each repeats "I take part of you burden." We thus dedicate ourselves to sharing in the burdens of one another. We close with the song "We are One in the Spirit".
-- Anonymous, November 07, 2000