Communion Service with Feetwashing (Grace Brethren)

1. Purpose. The communion service was instituted by the Lord Jesus for remembrance, for fellowship, and for edification of believers. In this service the frail memories of believers are refreshed with the truth pertaining to their salvation. While the memory is being refreshed, believers are sharing these precious truths and are rejoicing more abundantly in the Lord who provides so graciously and so freely. And the result of remembrance and fellowship is the spiritual growth of the believer in the most holy faith. In order that this service may accomplish its purpose, it is necessary to make full and careful preparation.

2. Preparation. This service, to which a whole evening is devoted, is threefold, consisting of feetwashing, love feast, and the eucharist. Ample provision must be made for each. Quarters should be provided to seat comfortably at tables all those who expect to commune. In order that men and women may wash feet by themselves, other quarters may be provided with water and toilet facilities, and with seating capacity for all the women and all the men at one time if possible.

For the feetwashing service one tenth as many basins should be provided as there are people. And for cleanliness there should be a small towel for each person. Fresh water should be supplied in the basin for each person, and toilet facilities for the washing of hands after the rite is completed. In order that this portion of the service may be attractive and spiritually uplifting every effort should be expended to make it sanitary and well ordered…

Feetwashing

Prayer and confession. The minister, resident elder, deacon, or several people in the congregation should lead the people in prayer or prayers of confession. This should lead to personal confession of all known sin before the service is carried further and it should prepare for the blessing of the service (1 John 1:9).

Retirement for washing. Then the minister should read John 13:1-18 and make appropriate explanations. Then let the deacons and the deaconesses retire for serving, followed by all those participating in the service, the men and the women retiring to their respective rooms. Feetwashing may be cared for at the tables when propriety and a division of sexes is maintained.

Return and thanksgiving. When all the communicants have finally finished the washing of the saints’ feet and have returned to the tables, then the one in charge may pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the reminder of daily cleansing thus wrought by the Word of God.

Note: the Holy Kiss of Love (Rom. 16:16, 1 Pet. 5:14) is often practiced by some following the washing of feet.

(An extract from the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches Ministers’ Handbook, revised 1986, pp30-34)