Holy Communion Easter service like no other

Thousands of Christians logged in and participated in marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ from their homes.

For Peter Odidi, Easter Sunday was an experience he is not likely to forget in a hurry. The member of Christ is the Answer Ministries (Citam) Embakasi church followed the special Holy Communion service from home together with his wife and four children.

“It was an experience like no other for me because this time, I was leading (the serving of the Holy Communion emblems) as the head of my family under the direction of our bishop,” Mr Odidi told the SHEPHERD in a phone interview.

To prepare for the service, he had bought a bottle of Ribena and a loaf of bread earlier. He then gathered his family so they could follow the live online ceremony led by Citam’s Presiding Bishop, David Oginde.

“I have not done this before at home but I liked the experience. As much as sharing the Holy Communion in church is ideal, this brought the message of the death and resurrection of Christ closer home and enhanced family cohesion,” he said.

During the ceremony, Bishop Oginde took the plate of broken pieces of bread and passed it first to Pastor Juliet Mahugu from Citam Embakasi, who was on his right, and then to his deputy, Bishop Karita Mbagara, on his left. Both observed the social distancing rules necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He then asked his online viewers to do the same wherever they were. “I know you have prepared for this great day and have the emblems ready – the bread and juice,” he said.

Taking a piece of bread for himself, Oginde lifted it up and gave thanks to God while giving a narration from the scriptures: “Jesus Christ on the night He was betrayed, took bread after He had given thanks and gave it to His disciples, saying: ‘This is My body that is broken for you. Take it in remembrance of Me.’ Now let us eat the bread together,” he directed.

There was a solemn mood as the three chewed their pieces of bread.

Then it was time for the Cup and Oginde once again asked his viewers to distribute their cups of juice among themselves. Bishop Karita led this section: “In the same way after supper, Jesus took the cup saying: ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of Me.’ Let us now take the cup together,” he said.

Karita also prayed for any unsaved viewers, that they would receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour before taking part in the Lord’s Supper.

At the end of the ceremony, Oginde asked Pastor Juliet to offer a final prayer before concluding: “I believe this has been of great importance to you. According to your faith, may it be done to you.”

This was the first time Citam was presiding over a Holy Communion service remotely via various social media platforms owing to the pandemic that led to the banning of all public gatherings, including churches services, last month.

Easter Sunday had 9,720 people following the Citam service via YouTube and more than 23,000 others on Facebook Live. The service was also aired on NTV. The church usually celebrates Holy Communion every first Sunday of the month but this time opted for April 12 because it was a day for Christians to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.