What do various protestants use for the bread/wine in their communion services?

My participation in another thread has gotten me to thinking about my own protestant past, and the various protestant communion services that I have attended (my family, and my wife’s family, are all protestant, scattered among various denominations).

Protestants either use wine or grape juice. In my experience, grape juice is most common, being used in all of the Baptist, Methodist, and AoG ceremonies I have attended. The Episcopal church is the only protestant denomination that I know of that regularly uses actual wine. I have never attended a protestant service that used anything that was not derived from grapes (ie, no milk, or apple juice, or grapefruit wine).

There seems to be a much broader variety of breads. Many protestants use leavened bread, cut (or broken) into pieces (as the Eastern Orthodox Church does). Some (such as the Episcopal Church) use Catholic-style wafers. I’ve been to many communion services which use Nabisco Oysterette crackers, or regular saltine crackers broken into quarters.

In posting this question, I am not attempting to engage in discussion about which is more preferable - I am simply asking what folks have observed when attending protestant communion services.

Please share your experiences.

Our local United Methodist congregartion uses pita bread and grape juice. We generally receive the elements by intinction.

Dear David Filmer,

As a former member of the Church of England (Anglican), I can attest to the fact that wafers and actual wine are used in the service of Holy Communion, regardless of any ‘party’ loyalty. Thus this is the form used by both High Church and Low Church, Anglo Catholic and Reformed Evangelical…and yes the Liberals as well.

However, there has been, and possibly still is in some quarters, some controversy over the type of bread to be used. Although wafers are commonly used, some Anglicans feel that the loss of symbolism is great and that the ‘one bread’ should be used. They would appeal to St. Paul’s language (see I Cor. 10: 17) about all being partakers of the one loaf , which, so they say, is meaningless if each communicant is given a complete wafer which was clearly never part of a larger whole. As Anglican scholar Cosslett Quin remarks, “If wafers are materially convenient, bread is symbolically better”.

Having said this, in all of my 25 years in the Church of England I never actually heard this issue debated among the clergy or the laity, so perhaps the controversy died a natural death.

I do hope this is of some help but if you have any further queries on the Anglican Communion, please let me know.

Warmest good wishes,


Pita bread makes more sense than the crackers we used when I was a Baptist.:wink:
But why the grape juice? Do they bar alcohol (even mixed with water) from the service? I know Baptists do.

Now it’s been a loooooong time since I went to my old church, but I could swear that we used cranberry juice. And the bread was odd… they were little tiny, tinier than a chiclet, pieces and I think somebody actually made them for us, I don’t think you could actually buy anything like it at the store. However, before I quit going you had a choice between the chiclet bread and a big french loaf to pinch a piece off of. I guess our pastor liked to actually “break” the bread, hence the french loaf. :slight_smile: And this was First Christian Church: Disciples of Christ.

My wife used to be Disciples of Christ and they used a loaf they picked a piece off of.

Going back to 1966 when I was in the army… There were only three choices of worship services offered then; Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish… At that time I was Methodist.

The Sunday before Communion the Chaplin announced that the following Sunday was to be Communion Sunday. He also announced that he would accommodate all the various denominations… Communion Sunday arrived and there are small bits of bread broke to look like little squares, and the traditional wafer… There was wine and grape juice… The liturgy was pretty generic… There was a rail for those who received at the rail… For those who received standing, he served them as well… And to some he took communion to their seats where they may be kneeling or sitting…

Yes, the Chaplin did it all…

I am not a life-long Methodist, and have never researched the issue. I believe the main reason that grape juice is used instead of wine is not to exclude those people who have a problem with alcohol. The UMC’s offical stance (to my belief, I may be wrong) is that it is best to abstain from the consumption of alcolol. Also there is the age old debate about the beverage used at the Upper Room meal. Many biblical scholars will tell you that the word(s) translated as wine often referred to unfermented grape juice. I think the important thing to remember is that Jesus used the most common beverage of the day. If the Passover meal had called for a cup of milk, I think he would have used that. But the bottom line is that Jesus used a beverage that was the fruit of the vine. If that beverage is unfermented or fermented would seem to be of no great importance.

Question: who “picked a piece off.” Was it the recipient, or the person administering the bread?

The recipient.

The little Evangelical Baptist church I was raised in used grape juice, poured into those little individual communion cups, and plain white bread, which the deaconesses cut into little cubes. The trays were passed along the pews and each person took their own (or not) as the tray went by, then everyone consumed simultaneously when the pastor repeated the “take and eat/drink this all of you.”

After the service any leftover juice went back into the bottles and into the fridge to be used for snack time or whatever, and leftover bread cubes into the rubbish - pretty emphatically no belief in any sacrament, there!

Lutherans use essentially the same elements as Catholics.


We use the round wafers, and wine from grapes. Any other technical specifications I’m not sure of. That’s what I meant by essentially.


Actually, I am not sure that the Catholic Church requires unleavened bread. It was required of the Passover meal (so it is appropriate for Eucharist), but I don’t know if the Church teaches that unleavened bread is *required *for Eucharist. It is customary, but I do not know if it is required. I know that it must be bread made from wheat, but I don’t know if yeast is proscribed.

Surely, though, someone here can provide a citation one way or another.

I don’t know how to reference a previous thread, but in one titled “Requirements for Communion Wafers” I found the following:

Canon 924 §2.

The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling.
The instruction *Redemptionis Sacramentum* further specifies:
[48.] The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition. It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament. It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. Hosts should obviously be made by those who are not only distinguished by their integrity, but also skilled in making them and furnished with suitable tools.

[quote=gcnuss;5869091In [a thread] titled “Requirements for Communion Wafers” I found the following…

Thanks. It is not often that I am educated in Catholic practices by a Lutheran (and it’s kinda cool).

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