Agape_feast_03In connection to some other related projects, I’m working on an exploration of the Agape feast as a pre-Christendom practice that may well serve certain needs of our post-Christendom context. (More on this later.)

I’ve tracked down Agape liturgies in the following worship books:

I’ve also found two recent books on the Agape:

This will all be helpful for me. But to the best of my memory I’ve never actually participated in an Agape feast. I’ve heard of them used in contexts in which it was impractical or impossible for a pastor to lead a communion service, but I have no firsthand knowledge.

Do you? Have you ever participated in such a service? Have you ever led such a service? What were your experiences and impressions?

John W. Vest

John is a "church hacker" attempting to overcome the limitations of church as we know it. To connect with him and learn more about his work, please visit

Reader Interactions


  1. I participated in an Agape Feast at a regional gathering of Presbyterian college women. There were two Teaching Elders present, but they thought the Agape Feast would be better to do than communion, to help expand our understanding of gathering around the table. You know, actually eat a whole bunch of good food, couched in intentional liturgy (they probably wrote it themselves with lots of great feminist theology), as another way to understand the goodness of God and the meal Jesus shared with his disciples. It is also possible that it is a hassle to get non-parish gatherings (neither teaching elder was from that presbytery where we were staying) approved. In fact, when I tell people I can’t celebrate eucharist without prior approval, they laugh at me.

    It was one of the most memorable/meaningful experiences of communion that I have had.

  2. When I was a youth pastor we planned to have a time of Communion with our high school group one week. The problem was that we didn’t have prior Session approval. So when I talked to the pastor, he said, “Don’t worry about. Just call it a ‘Love Feast’.” So we did!

  3. The Presbyterian Cursillo and Presbyterian Pilgrimage programs use an Agape feast as part of their programming.

    A pastor friend of mine once said to me, “We must remember: anyone, anywhere, anytime can (and should) celebrate the Communion of the Saints. There is no restriction on Communion. If there were, there would not be much to celebrate. The PC(USA) places restrictions on the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper. That sacrament and ritual are; however, only one means of celebrating the Communion of the Saints. It should never be treated as the ONLY way to celebrate our Communion.”

  4. My wife and I have been attending Agape Feasts monthly for about 4 years. We were introduced to them by Fr. David Keller and his wife, Emily Wilmer who at that time lived in Ithaca. We take turns leading them now–all lay people. For a format (something like an “order of worship”) contact David and Emily. You can reach them through their excellent website, Oasis of Wisdom, for which their is a link on my blog “Meditations on the Daily Lectionary,” which is at If you would like to mention my name, please do. And feel free to ask if you want more info.

    David and Emily emphasize that the Agape Feast is NOT a communion service, but has much value in its own right. We agree.
    Elmer Ewing

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