This Sunday is World Communion Sunday, a time in the liturgical year during which despite all the ways Christians have disagreed since even the first days of Jesus, Christians around the world commemorate the radical oneness of the living Body of Christ of which we are all a part. As we prepare for this day, I'm delighted to share with you an article written by our own Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Roger Davidson, whose interest about the story of the bread we use at FCC each Sunday resulted in some fascinating information about the "feeders of our faith" at FCC Tacoma throughout it's many generations of community since it's inception over 120 years ago. Thank you, Roger, for sharing the fruits of your research and love with us! Let us feast!
Before I sign off, I'd like to draw your attention to a new thing we are starting this Sunday afternoon, a Blessing of the Animals at 3pm in the front terrance seating area adjacent to the parking lot.
Speaking of the liturgical calendar, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi is celebrated by many in the church during the first week of October. St. Francis of Assisi's life exemplified a passion and blessing to the animals of the world. Our Blessing of the Animals will be a chance for congregants to bring their pets (all kinds are welcome!) to the church for a blessing of their own. As you likely already know, I can speak firsthand to the companionship and joy animals bring to our lives. Whether you have an animal pal of your own or would simply like to come and be a part of the short, sweet ritual, you and your beloved animals are invited this Sunday at 3pm!
See you Sunday!
"The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?" -1 Corinthians 10:16 NRSV
Written by Rev. Roger Davidson, 2022
The First Christian Church in Tacoma, Washington, was established March, 1884. Like other churches in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) family, the Tacoma Church has from its beginning observed The Lord's Supper, The Communion, weekly as the heart of the worship service. The preparation of the bread for this special weekly event has been the responsibility of only four people for well over 120 years.
Donald McPherson was born in Scotland and emigrated to Tacoma where he established the Federal Bakery at the corner of 11' Avenue and K Street (now known as Martin Luther King way). In 1899, he united with the First Christian Church, which was then on the comer of 13t and E. Street (now known as Fawcett Avenue). Soon after joining the church McPherson began to prepare the bread for the weekly communion. Harry Fulton was born in 1902 and attended the church as a child and was baptized when he was fourteen years old. As a youth Fulton was employed by McPherson to work in the Bakery after school and at other busy times. He did clean-up and other odd jobs, which gave him the opportunity to learn something about the baking business.
In 1941 Harry, and his wife Olga, bought a bakery at 2812 6* Avenue, which they called Fulton's Bakery. Donald McPherson died in 1944. Some time between 1941, and 1944, Harry Fulton took the communion bread recipe, that McPherson had been using for years, and assumed the baking responsibility for the church. According to Harry, Donald McPherson studied what he could find in the Bible and then asked some of his Jewish friends about the "Passover Bread." As near as he could determine he had created a recipe for unleavened bread that would be a close approximation to the Passover Bread that Jesus used with his disciples.
Along with the recipe, a homemade utensil, known as a "docker", was passed from McPherson to Fulton. The docker was a round piece of wood, about five inches in diameter, bound by galvanized metal, with a number of nails driven into it. After the bread was rolled flat the docker was used to dot or imprint the bread for baking. The Fultons sold their bakery in 1965, but Harry continued baking the communion bread at home for another 13 years.
In 1978, for health reasons, Harry felt that he could no longer prepare the communion bread. He baked his last batch on July 13. It was a thrill to him to learn that Sandy Earnest was willing to assume this dedicated service. The recipe was written out on a page of Olga's notepaper with Harry's love and wit showing through. Harry proudly and lovingly entrusted Sandy with the recipe and the docker. Sadly, Harry suffered a stroke just three months later, which left him impaired for the rest of his life. He died in March
1984, within days of the 100' Anniversary Celebration of the Church.
Sandy Earnest carefully and lovingly baked the communion bread from 1978 to 2012. She used the same recipe and the old, homemade, docker that has been a part of First Christian Church history for more than a hundred years. At the end or her 34 years of service Sandy said, "I have always considered preparing the communion bread as a special honor and a loving service that I was able to give to the whole church." In 2012 Karen Murray responded to the call and assumed the duty of baking the communion bread. She still uses the same recipe that goes all the way back to Donald McPherson.
With the exception of several months during 2020 - 2022, when limitations on gatherings and person to person contact were being observed because of the Covid virus pandemic, fresh baked communion bread has been a part of every worship service. Like the three individuals that served before her, Karen has considered it an honor to serve her church and fellow worshiper in this significant way. She has expressed her feelings with these heartfelt words, "I feel so honored that I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve the church by the regular baking of the communion bread. Each Sunday I feel like I have touched the life of every single member who participates in the Lord's Supper." 1899 to the present, what a remarkable history! And to think that only four people have been responsible for this act of dedicated service. Those who participate in the Lord's Supper each Sunday are blessed by God in many ways. One of those blessings is the dedication of those who have prepared the bread.
Among this Week's Joys and Prayer Concerns
Among our Joys
We give thanks for the gift of Communion, the common bread and cup which unite the Body of Christ around the world. Let us feast!
Among our Concerns
We lift up:
Roger Davidson, undergoing surgery this morning (Friday, September 30)
Rose Filgo, sister of Bill McDaniel, who has recently been diagnosed with cancer.
We continue to hold in our prayers:
Larry Mosher and his spouse, Susie Mosher.
Bear, Melanie Peabody's partner
Daniel Davis, friend of Susan Pearson
Rachel Morford, daughter of Mary Morford
We pray for our homebound friends, Helen Bosley, Harry and Margaret Lobberegt, Jane Nelson, Marylu and Joseph Mills and Jim and Kay Thompson.
Among our local and global community concerns:
For all in the southeast region of the country who continue to brace in the midst of Hurricane Ian. We pray for the first responders on the ground, and for all providing support in the days and weeks to come in the wake of this storm.
For those living at the village on 6th and Orchard and for the many without a place to sleep tonight. We pray that our elected leaders and all community members alike coalesce for the good of our most vulnerable neighbors.
This week, we lift up our Global Ministries partners in Thailand.
If you'd like to share a prayer joy or concern, please contact Pastor Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the church office. Please indicate whether your prayer is to be shared publicly, or if you'd like it to be kept private.