Chapter 29 in the The General Handbook of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , “Meetings in the Church,” section bears the title “Sacrament Services in Unusual Situations.”

“Every member needs the spiritual blessings that come from partaking of the sacrament. If members are unable to attend sacrament meeting because they are confined to a home, nursing home, or hospital, the bishop may assign priesthood holders to prepare, bless, and pass the sacrament to these members.”

The next paragraph says that “unusual circumstances” may result in the bishop occasionally giving authorization for a sacrament meeting to be held away from the meetinghouse.

With the global spreading of the Coronavirus the Church of Jesus Christ recently suspended all worship services worldwide, we clearly are now living under “unusual circumstances.”

The March 12, 2020 letter to Latter-day Saint leaders and members reminds members of the Church of the “Lord’s love during this time of uncertainty,” and that “He will bless you to find joy as you do your best to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in every circumstance.”

It also includes the direction that “bishops should counsel with their stake presidents to determine how to make the sacrament available to members at least once a month.”

“Once a month” allows for challenges created by extreme distances and extreme circumstances as in the current situation.

However, bishops and stake presidents still retain the authority to oversee the availability of the sacrament to local Latter-day Saints.

The sacrament offers a chance for reflection, repentance and renewal of covenants.

The principle of a “home-centered, Church-supported” gospel learning does not mean that a household takes over on its own the conducting of sacrament service, without bishop’s authorization.

The Church’s General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helps provide further directions on how the sacrament ordinance can and should be administered in a home setting.

We need to remember that performing or receiving some ordinances and blessings — including sacrament — requires approval from a presiding leader who holds the necessary priesthood keys.

This is why bishops and stake presidents — as well as branch and district presidents — are currently in discussion as how to provide the sacrament to local member and many have already given direction on how to handle the sacrament ordinance in homes this weekend and in coming weeks.

For a more complete discussion of this topic see the Church News article Suspended worship meetings and the sacrament: What we can learn from the First Presidency letter and the General Handbook


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)