Has God gone virtual? Today, many nondenominational and denominational churches are offering services such as worship seminary and ordination counseling. Nondenominational churches have started to even offer online communion.
Communion is an expression of faith to reenact the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. Most churches offer communion once a month or as often as they want. The practice of communion is to eat bread or crackers as a symbol of Jesus's body and to drink wine or grape juice as symbol of the blood he shed.
According to the Huffington Post, the leaders of the United Methodist Church have met to discuss of an online campus that comes with the possibility of offering online communion. They will be the first denominational church to make online communion available. If the United Methodist Church embraces online communion, this will correspond with their tradition of "circuit-riding" preaching. Their goal is to spread the word of God to the next person. However, it contradicts their history of accountability. Online communion makes checking on member accountability more difficult.
There are a few opposed to the idea of online communion. Many leaders fear that online communion takes the fellowship portion of communion away. Brent Laytham, professor of theology at St. Mary's Seminary and University, writes that communion requires bodies that touch. People often hug and kiss after partaking in communion.
This argument raises a lot of questions. With people spending more time than ever online, should the traditional definition of community be reformed, and if you have faith when partaking in communion does your location really matter?
The leaders can present this debate to the denominations law-making body, The General Conference, in 2016.