Lent begins. Over the next 40 days (following last year's series on baptism), I plan to share 40 different accounts of eucharist. Day one repeats an account from the same Baptist church in the 18th century:
As soon as the afternoon public service was concluded, such as chose to go home went. Such as chose to be spectators went up the galleries. The outer gate was fastened for the avoiding interruption; always hurtful in public worship, particularly so in the Lord's-supper-time. Mary Norris, the servant of the church, covered the table with a clean linen cloth, and sat thereon bread in a basket, the crust being taken off: two borrowed silver cups: and three pints of red port wine. The pastor took his seat at the upper end of the table. The deacons next him, two on each hand. The elder men-members at the table. The younger men in the pews on the pastor's right hand. The women in pews at his left. The pastor began with a short discourse on the occasion, nature, benefits, etc. of this ordinance.
Then he read 1 Co. xi. 23 till he came tot he words 'took bread', then, taking the bread in his hand, he read, 'and when he had given thanks' and said, 'Let us do likewise,' on which, the congregation rising, he gave thanks. This ended, and the church sat down again, he added, 'When he had given thanks, he brake it:' and broke the bread. During which he spoke of the sufferings of Christ, etc. Then, delivering the plates of bread to the deacons, he said, 'Take eat; this is my body, which is broke for you: do this in remembrance of me.' The deacons then carried the bread round to the members: during which the pastor and all the church sat silent. The deacons at their return took bread and ate: the pastor last of all because the servant of all. After he had eaten the bread he rose again and added, taking the cup in his hands, 'After the same manner also he took the cup.' The congregation rising again he gave thanks again. Then he poured the wine from the bottles into the cups, discoursing as while he broke the bread. The deacons rising at the close, he gave them the cups saying 'This cup' and so on the end of the 26th verse. After the deacons returned, and were seated, they drank, and last the pastor: all sitting silent from the delivery of the cups to the deacons. The pastor rising subjoined, Our Saviour and his disciples 'sang a hymn and went out,' let us do likewise. An hymn or psalm was then sung: after which a collection for the poor was made: the blessing added: and the assembly dismissed. The whole time was about three quarters of an hour.
The Stone Yard Meeting House, Cambridge
28 June 1761
English Baptist Records 2: Church Book: St Andrew's Street Baptist Church, Cambridge 1720-1832 (Baptist Historical Society, 1991), pp.27-28 cited in Christopher Ellis, Gathering (SCM, 2004), p.176.