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Dear Friend of The Falls Church Episcopal,

First, let me thank everyone who sent in questions the last two weeks to help me find topics for these e-news blurbs.  I got some great questions about "churchy" things, and I look forward to answering them over the next couple of months (and if you have a question you'd like to submit, please feel free to keep sending them!).
Many of the questions I received had to do with how we understand the Eucharist (aka "Holy Communion", aka "the Mass") and more specifically what happens to the bread and wine during the Eucharistic prayer.  There are many variations in how different Christian traditions understand what happens during Holy Communion, but there are four approaches that are the most common.
Transubstantiation refers to the idea that the bread and the wine are transformed in their substance and become truly the Body and truly the Blood of Christ.   Consubstantiation is the belief that the bread and the wine somehow remain both bread/wine AND become the Body and the Blood of Christ at the same time.   Real Presence is another observance which says that Christ is really present in some way in the Eucharist but is unspecific as to how.  And  Anamnesis (the Greek word for "remembering") is a theology that says when we celebrate Communion we are strictly remembering Jesus (as he asked us to at the Last Supper) and there is no change in the bread and wine.
So which one do Episcopalians believe?  
If you like clear answers, then I'm about to frustrate you.  
One of the hallmarks of the Anglican tradition (of which the Episcopal Church is the American branch) is that the Book of Common Prayer leads us all to pray with the same words, but those words may mean somewhat different things to each of us.  Our unity comes from our life of prayer together, not from strict adherence to a series of doctrinal statements.  So when it comes to Communion, many Anglicans find affinity with an ancient phrase from the Orthodox churches - that we maintain a "pious silence about technicalities."  

In other words, some things are meant to be a mystery.
That may be a frustrating answer to some.  But I think the prayer book offers guidance in the words clergy are instructed to say when giving someone Communion: "The  Body of Christ, the  bread of heaven."  I hope that phrase makes space for people all along the spectrum of beliefs about the Eucharist.  If you believe it's the Body, there's room for that.  If you believe it's bread, there's room for that too.  If you believe it's both, excellent!  There's room for you as well.
These are the kinds of questions that seminarians stay up all night debating with one another, and this little e-news message certainly can't bear the weight of two thousand years of debate on this topic, but I hope it gives folks a place to start.  And considering that our gospel readings for the next several Sundays are all about Jesus and bread, I suspect there is much more discussion on the Eucharist to come.

See you Sunday,

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Summer Worship Schedule 
 We continue our 10:00 combined summer worship service schedule (in the Historic Church)  through Labor Day weekend (September 2)

New? Curious?   The next 3-session newcomer/membership class starts on August 12, 2018.  This is a great opportunity, if you are new to The Falls Church or to the Episcopal Church in general, to connect with others and learn more about the "who, what, where, when, why and how" of being a Christian in the Episcopalian tradition, and what The Falls Church Episcopal has to offer you for fellowship and service opportunities. Meets in the upstairs parlor following the service. Childcare provided. Sign up at .


School Supplies Drive for Shelter House

While we've just finished the school year, Shelter House is collecting school supplies for the children in their family shelter. Please join us in helping these children start the school year prepared by donating: Clorox wipes, tissues (large boxes), gallon and quart Ziploc bags, pocket folders (with punched holes, not grommets), binders (1 inch), multi-subject notebooks (college ruled), blue/black ball point pens, safety scissors, glue sticks, dry erase markers, and backpacks. Donations will be accepted through July 29. A donation box will be located in the Historic Church. Want to help, but don't have time to shop? We'll do the shopping for you! Checks should be made out to "The Falls Church Episcopal" with "Shelter House school supplies" in the memo line and can be submitted in the collection baskets through July 22. For questions, please contact Katie Niemi or Shayna Hadley at

Bailey's Crossroads Shelter Dinner Prep

Our next time to prepare dinner for the people living at the Bailey's Crossroads Homeless Shelter is the afternoon of Sunday, August 12th.  If you are interested in helping to prepare our taco bar, please sign up here.  Children and Teens are allowed to help with food prep at the church, but you must be over 18 to serve the meal at the shelter.


A Special Message for Summer Travelers  

If you have plans to travel this summer, electronic giving gives you a convenient way to keep up with your intended offerings. There are two easy ways to set up a recurring giving schedule.  Either visit our website  to set up online giving direct from your bank account or through a credit/debit card, or visit Realm , click on "Giving" on the left hand menu then click on the blue "+Give" to set up online giving from your bank account only. Please email if you have any questions.

The Falls Church Episcopal

115 East Fairfax Street  

Falls Church, Va. 22046  

Phone:  703. 241.0003

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