At New Life, we welcome everyone to communion. And one of the lines in our welcome to the table that everyone at New Life knows is, "You can't do it wrong." We tell people to dip their piece of bread in either the wine or the juice cup, OR to eat the bread and take a sip from either cup. This line is one of the things often remarked on by visitors: this idea that there isn't a right way, that you won't do it wrong. So many people have stories of not knowing how to do communion (right? It is different at every church!), and feeling nervous, or, worse, stupid. We started saying this explicitly when one of our youth went to their grandparents' church on vacation and was angrily told they did it wrong in the communion line. We have a lot of people who've been hurt by church, and people who are brand new to church. We have a lot of visitors. We want coming to Christ's table to be a joy, not a time of stress.
And one of the other ways we lower the barrier is with our bread. No need to ask a server, no need to go to a special line: it is all gluten-free. These lovely small round, flat loaves are made by members of our community, Mary Ann and Gerard DiCola. They are delicious. Hearty, soft, just a tiny bit sweet. One bread for everyone.
This is also helpful for people who have celiac disease or a severe gluten allergy: often when gluten-free option is available, the regular bread is still dipped in the same chalice - which means the person dipping the gluten-free bread or wafer into that wine is also exposed to the gluten in the regular bread ( some churches have a separate chalice, but some don't). The DiCola's have a child with gluten intolerance, so their bread is made carefully in a clean and gluten-free kitchen environment (you don't have to remove all gluten products from your kitchen, but you do need to be careful).
Many people have asked for our recipe, and the DiCola's have shared it! They are also proud Italian-Americans, and great cooks - so they really experimented with this recipe, to make it the right consistency and to make it taste delicious. If you've had terrible gluten-free communion bread, and have despaired at finding a good one: this is your lucky day!
Thanks be to God for servants of the church like the DiColas, who bake bread for us so that we may share the bread of life.