First Hamilton Christian Reformed Church

Hamilton, Ontario

Project Director: Dawn Berkelaar

To nourish the faith of worshipers by experiencing and reflecting on different ways of celebrating the Lord's Supper and reconnecting it to the preaching of the Word.

Provide a brief summary of the purpose and goal of your grant.

With our grant, we explored the Lord’s Supper as the meal that feeds us and forms us. We set aside time for listening to each other share past experiences with the Lord’s Supper. We learned together through a book study and through five separate online learning events. We leaned in to the practice by celebrating the Lord’s Supper every Sunday during Advent and during Lent.

What are two questions that have generated reflection on worship and helped shape your project?

1. How can we celebrate the Lord’s Supper when we are not able to worship together?

2. How can we best prepare children for participation in the Lord’s Supper? What guidance can we offer to parents as they teach their children about the Lord’s Supper? (Two of our online learning events related to children at the Lord’s Table. One was geared toward parents, the other was geared toward young children. Our book study was also chosen with children in mind.)

What impact has your project had on the worship life and habits of the congregation? 

Our project gave us a common focus during this year of being apart. Most elders and deacons were able to connect in person with church members when distributing books for our shared book study and when delivering special communion pottery sets and an artist’s print. A participant shared, “During this time where we yearn to be together with the body of Christ, the freedom and mystery of the cross have taken on a new meaning. This gift is a gorgeous and powerful reminder of what Christ is doing.”

What have been your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?

Restrictions due the COVID-19 pandemic challenged us greatly. During most of the year, our congregation participated in worship services from home, via a live-streamed worship service. Some of what we originally planned was no longer possible, and most events shifted to online Zoom format. However, as a result we had money available to commission two unique art projects--so it turned into a beautiful opportunity.

What would you like to share with other Project Directors?

Your project will very likely end up looking different from what you planned. That’s okay! The staff at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship are supportive and ready to help as a sounding board if that would be helpful. It is a great blessing to have your church’s leadership (pastor(s), elders, deacons) excited about your project.

Learning Artifact

The Lord's Supper: The Meal that Feeds Us and Forms Us