A recent thread on a Episcopal Church-related group raised a very good question: has passing The Peace gotten out of hand? The OP had concerns that The Peace often turned into more of a social occasion than part of the liturgy. Some of my thoughts based on the comments:
- For those who don’t plan to stay after the service, this is a great opportunity to welcome visitors with God’s peace. Remember, visitors will often base whether they make a second visit on how warmly they are received.
- Part of the concern that The Peace is treated as an intermission, instead of a liturgical act within the service, may stem from many parishes placing the announcements immediately between The Peace and the Offertory. Maybe we (collectively as Episcopalians) need to realize that the world won’t end if the announcements take place before or after the service. 🙂
- Although The Peace serves an important role in making sure everyone is at harmony with each other before breaking bread together, it isn’t a substitute for fellowship outside the service. If a person doesn’t receive a warm greeting when arriving or is ignored at coffee hour, we’ve missed the point entirely.