“Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.”
This traditional blessing is given in both Hebrew and English over the challah concluding Shabbot service at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island every Friday.
Rabbi Edward Maline next cuts the challah, a rich, sweet egg bread, before everyone moves to the social hall for the Oneg Shabbat or social gathering.
Bread plays a central role in all of Marco’s houses of worship. In the Jewish tradition it represents God’s bounty and food that sustains us.
However, its meaning in the Christian churches is deeper and more profound. The Church Lady visited Marco’s houses of worship to explore the Bread of Life, the food that sustains and strengthens us.
Many Christians refer to Communion as the Breaking of Bread, the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Table or Eucharist. The word Eucharist is derived from the Greek word for giving thanks. Many churches use unleavened bread because when Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper he used bread without yeast.
“We are a Eucharistic people,” said Hilda Brosky, Liturgist and Eucharistic Minister for San Marco Catholic Church. “The Eucharist defines who we are as a people. It feeds and sustains us.”
“When I give communion it is a privileged moment to stand there and see the faith in the eyes of the people,” said Brosky, one of her church’s 200-plus lay ministers who administer Communion.
During Mass the bread and wine are consecrated by the priest and becomes the body and blood of Christ. “The whole of Christ is present in both the bread and the wine,” she said.
The Catholic church uses thin unleavened wheat wafers known as Hosts. Gluten-free Hosts are available for those with celiac disease. However, the gluten-free Hosts still contains a trace amount of wheat so that they may still be considered bread.
Following the Mass, any remaining consecrated Hosts are treated reverently and kept in a special place called a Tabernacle.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church also uses Hosts for Communion. Nan Moll, church administrator, shared snippets from “The Book of Common Prayer” to explain the Holy Eucharist.
The bread and wine, is a “sacrament commanded by Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection, until his coming again.” “The inward and spiritual grace in the Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ given to his people, and received by faith” and “The benefits of Lord’s Supper are the forgiveness of sin, strengthening of their union with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is their nourishment in eternal life.”
“Jesus claimed to be ’The Bread of Life,’” said the Rev. Kevin Koenig, Marco Lutheran Church’s senior pastor. “We believe He is.”
“In Communion, God adds His presence to the bread, in a similar way as God adds His presence to water thus making a washing, a Baptism,” explained Koenig. “The bread we receive is more than bread. We receive Christ himself.”
“Luther’s Small Catechism” states that we should take Jesus’ word at face value when He said in Matthew 26:26: “Take and eat; this is my body.” It also states: “Through Jesus’ work in this experience, we receive forgiveness of sins which Christ’s body and blood won on the cross.” They also use unleavened wafers.
“Pentecostal churches treat the Lord’s Supper as memorial in nature, with no salvific potency,” said New Life Community Church’s Pastor Thomas McCulley. “That doesn’t mean we don’t treasure Holy Communion, because we teach it is powerful,” he said.
McCulley also referenced Paul’s warning about abusing Communion in 1 Corinthians 11:27. “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.” Furthermore participating “in an unworthy manner” brings judgment. His church uses ordinary matzah broken into small pieces.
Marco Presbyterian Church also uses matzah to celebration the Lord’s Supper. “Matzah is unleavened, representing Christ as having no sin,” said the Rev. William Lyle, lead pastor. “Its appearance is striped, bruised and pierced; as His body would become for us. It also breaks quite dramatically and is a visual of what Christ’s own body would go through for us; He would be bruised, striped by the cruel Roman whips, pierced by nails, and a spear — His body broken, not His bones, but His body, His flesh.”
For us Communion is “a remembrance of Christ’s death for our sins,” said Wesley United Methodist Church’s Pastor Kirk Dreiser. “At communion, Christ is present with us in a mystical way, and so communion is a transformational act. John Wesley, the first Methodist, saw Communion not only as transformative, but also as a ‘converting ordinance.’ Transformation could even be such that a non-believer could come to know Christ in a personal way during administration of Communion.
“In our congregational tradition, each believer partakes in this sacrament to remember that Jesus died for our sin and His body and blood become a sacrifice for our sin,” said United Church of Marco Island’s Pastor Richard Adair. Prepared pieces of bread and rice cake are used to commemorate the body of Christ. “We have no particular strong view on trans-substantiation or con-substantiation where the bread and wine actually become the body of Christ,” he said. “For our tradition this is a symbol…”
Kathleen Tuttle, a Marco Island resident since 1987, has written articles for various non-profits for more than 25 years. She is a community volunteer, former science teacher and microbiologist. Kathleen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women’s weekly, Friday, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Bible study, Beth Moore’s “The Patriarchs: Encountering the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” continues. Area women and their preschool children will delve into the concepts of blessing, covenant and promise, and how they shaped the lives of Abraham, his descendants and today’s Christians. Study guides are available for $17 at the Bible study or the church office. Preschoolers will learn the same Biblical concepts through song and fun activities. There is no charge for children but pre-registration is required. Call the church office for information.
The public is invited to free a showing of the movie “Courageous,” 7 p.m., today. The movie, from the creators of “Fireproof,” follows the lives of four law enforcement officers who are confident and focused as they serve and protect. However, their biggest challenge is fatherhood. The movie is rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content. No tickets are necessary.
Grief Share with Seasonal Pastor, the Rev. Rod Whited, continues 10 a.m. every Monday.
“Praying Life” with the Rev. Rod Whited meets 10:30 a.m., Wednesdays.
The ladies book club will discuss Catherine Marshall’s “Beyond Ourselves,” 9:30 a.m., Feb. 16 in the choir room. Books are available at Amazon.com. Information call Peggy at (904) 608-9469.
Annual talent show, 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17. The evening begins with appetizers in the courtyard followed by the show entitled “Marvelous Marco Music.” There will be everything from a bagpiper to jazz to dueling pianos. There will also be a special presentation by the bell choir. The evening will conclude with dessert in the courtyard. Free.
The “Music for the Soul Concert Series” continues, 6 p.m., Feb. 19, 6 p.m. Vocalists Alan and Linda Sandlin will join the organ piano duo of Babs Hillenbrand and Marv Hollenbeck. The concert will include classical selections and traditional hymns. Free. A love offering will be received.
The Alzheimer Association’s Memory Loss/Caregiver Support Group will have a memory screening 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., today, free. The Alzheimer Association’s Southwest Region’s Education Director Catherine Cruikshank will administer the screening. The faith-based support group meets from 10:30 a.m. to noon on the fourth Monday of every month in the church library. The next meeting will be on Feb. 27. Activities to try with those with memory loss will be shared. Information call, Shirley Woolaway, (239) 394-8097
Fr. John Ineson’s Friday morning class continues 10 a.m., in the Willis Ministry Center’s Community Room. They are studying Marcus Borg’s “Embracing an Adult Faith, What it Means to be Christian.” Workbooks will be provided for the class. Please RSVP the church.
The Rev. Sue Price will celebrate Morning Prayer at 9 a.m. every morning in the Chapel through Lent. Information call Rev. Sue, (239) 331-4626.
Annual Giant Flea Market, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 16, featuring books, ladies boutique, electronics, furniture, garden, gourmet, house wares, jewelry, kids corner, linens, men’s wear, sporting goods and nearly new. There will also be fresh strawberry shortcake, chocolate strawberries, hot dogs, soda, coffee and donuts.
Marco Lutheran Church
The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League will host a rummage sale, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday. There will be furniture, clothes, kitchen and housewares, art and baked goods.
GriefShare, a Christ-centered support group for those who have lost a loved one through death continues 10 a.m. each Thursday. Sessions are proceeded by a time of fellowship and coffee at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at noon. For information call Joyce Waidelich at (239) 793-4601 or Dory Catalano at (239) 389-2363.
The Artist Series continues with Clarinetist Dave Bennett 7:30 p.m., Feb. 21. His style and sound has been likened to Benny Goodman’s. Tickets are $20 and need to be purchased in advance; call (239) 391-5579.
of Marco Island
The 9:30 a.m. Torah study and 10 a.m. service continues every Saturday.
The Jewish Film Festival will feature “Berlin ’36,” 2 p.m., Sunday. The movie was inspired by the true story of Jewish high jumper Gretel Bergmann. Lox and bagels will be served before the film at 1:15 p.m. Tickets are $25.
The Saul Stern Cultural Series will feature the Naples Philharmonic Brass Quintet 7:30 p.m., Feb. 15. They will play classical and popular selections followed by pastries and coffee. Advance tickets are $25.
JCMI and the Marco Island Historical Society will present a Presidents’ Day reception and lecture, Feb. 25. Abraham Lincoln historian, Dr. Thomas F. Schwartz, Director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, will present “The Life and Legacy of Abraham Lincoln.” Dr. Schwartz is one of the key figures in the development of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and for 26 years the official caretaker of Lincoln’s legacy in Illinois. JCMI will host a light dinner and reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The 7:15 p.m. lecture will be at the museum’s Rose History Auditorium. Patron Tickets, $45, include the dinner reception and reserved seating at the lecture. General Tickets, $25, include the lecture only. Tickets are available at the JCMI office or the museum’s gift shop. For additional information, contact Estie Karpman at (239) 642-4049 or email at email@example.com.
New Life Community Church of God
New contemporary worship service, “Saturday Night Life!” 6 p.m., Saturday.
Women’s Tuesday evening weekly Bible Study, Beth Moore’s “Daniel, Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy” continues at 6:30 p.m. Session 2 begins 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21. Christians today face many of the same trials and temptations as the prophet Daniel — pressures to compromise one’s faith in a hostile culture. The study shows how individuals can live with integrity in today’s self-absorbed society. The two, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., six-week sessions may be studied independently. Cost: $20, scholarships are available. Call the church office for information.
Denoon Institute of
Jana Denoon will teach on the role of women and their equality according to the Bible. The series continues 6 p.m., Sunday and Feb. 19, free. Refreshments will follow. For information on the Denoons and its ministry go to: www.Israelreturns.com. For the Marco location call 800-494-2298 or email IsraelReturns@aol.com.
29th Annual Marco
Island Prayer Breakfast
The Annual Prayer Breakfast will be held 7:30 a.m., Feb. 14 at the Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, 400 South Collier Blvd. Marco Island. The doors open at 7 a.m. and the breakfast will conclude at 9 a.m. The group will pray for the city council, police, firemen and public works officials. They will also honor veterans and first-responders.
Guest speaker, retired Chaplain, Brigadier General Doug Lee will give the keynote address, “Service with a Smile.” Mega Ministries Mega Praise Team and pianist Marv Hollenbeck will provide music.
Tickets are $20 per person for a full plated breakfast and are available at the Marco Chamber of Commerce and most area churches. Today is the last day to purchase tickets. Information: marcoislandprayerbreakfast.com, (239) 642-3622 and LDKolowsky@aol.com.
Interfaith Community Adult Education Series
The Rev. Kyle Bennett will discuss the Episcopal faith, 7 p.m., Feb. 16, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. The Rev. Kirk Dreiser will discuss “The Roots of Methodism,” 7 p.m., Feb. 29 at Wesley United Methodist Church.
Capri Christian Church
The church has a new website: