Study to focus on communion


Dr. Gayle Carlton Felton returns to Tupelo First United Methodist Church this month to lead a study on the sacrament of Holy Communion. 


The study entitled “Come to the Feast” is designed to provide United Methodists with a deeper understanding of this sacrament and to explore ways to practice a higher, fuller and more frequent encounter with the risen Christ through Holy Communion. 


Felton will provide the sermon at both the 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. worship services on Feb. 25 and will speak during the Sunday school hour.  At 4:30 p.m., Felton will provide a special session designed for parents titled “What Do I Tell My Child About Communion?” This session will be followed by supper and an evening session at 5:30 p.m. in Wesley Hall. On Feb. 26, Felton will speak at noon and at 6 p.m. in Wesley Hall. 


On Feb. 27, Felton will conduct a day-long study on Holy Communion for clergy although lay members may attend. The cost of the day-long event is $35 with pre-registration required. Course credit of one-half continuing education unit may be earned by clergy members. 


Felton is an elder in the North Carolina Annual Conference. She was a member of the denomination’s Committee to Study Baptism (1989-1996), wrote the final version of “By Water and the Spirit: A United Methodist Understanding of Baptism,” and presented the document to the 1992 and 1996 General Conferences. She continued as a member of an advisory team of the General Board of Discipleship which worked to reconcile the provisions of the Discipline with this document and with the ritual. She is the principal writer for “This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion,” an exposition of that sacrament comparable to the earlier work on baptism. “This Holy Mystery” was presented to the 2004 General Conference and approved. These documents now comprise the denomination’s official interpretive positions on the sacraments. 


Fenton is also the author of This Gift of Water: The Practice and Theology of Baptism Among Methodists in America (1992); By Water and The Spirit:  Making Connections for Identity and Ministry (1997-98); The Coming of Jesus (2000); This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion; and a variety of articles on Methodism, sacraments, and the teaching ministry of the church.  She is the editor of How United Methodists Study Scripture (1999) and a regular contributor to the New International Lesson Annual. Currently she is working on a book on the sacraments to be published by Abingdon. 


Felton works with the General Board of Discipleship as a speaker, writer and consultant, as well as serving as minister of Christian formation at Calvary UMC in Durham, N.C., and as an adjunct member of the faculty at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.


For information or to obtain brochures, contact Tupelo First United Methodist Church at 662-690-8100 or email