Anadama Bread for Communion? Really?

The Bread of Heaven, locally sourced. You may have to be from New England to know what Anadama Bread is.  My deacons get it at Fiddleheads or at the Hancock Farmers Market held in the horsesheds behind the church. (Caveat: we don’t used it every time we celebrate communion—sometimes the whole wheat looks better that day, sometimes it’s a pita party).

Anadama Bread is yeast bread made with cornmeal and molasses. When I was growing up, the real stuff was made in Rockport, MA. Recipes circulate throughout New England and apocryphal stories are told about this bread with the odd name. One version–a forgetful wife once left a pot of cornmeal mush on the stove and her husband exclaimed “Anna, damn her!” Depending on the rendition, that can be damn as in damn good or damn as in damn stupid.

But can you use Anadama Bread for communion? You bet. Especially if you are are on the low church end of the liturgical spectrum as we are in Hancock. There are high church options in neighboring Peterborough—places where the worship life is more heavily ritualized and ornamented and tends toward the Catholic–and they are indeed lovely places to worship. But as we make sense of the stories of Jesus, we see him as taking ordinary bread and sharing it with ordinary people. Ordinary bread for us? Local bread. Whatever our neighbor-bakers have made. Sometimes that’s Anadama.

One other Communion note—If you worship with us on a Communion Sunday (generally the first Sunday of the month), our deacons will serve you the bread and the wine or juice (you have a choice) right in your own pew. Sometimes I’m asked about this. Is it because Congregationalists are lazy? Or especially considerate towards those with mobility issues? Nope. There is a theological reason. In Reformed traditions like ours, the elements are brought out to congregation to symbolize that God meets us where we are. Not just at the high altar and when we’re moving forward, but also where we sit and sometimes get stuck.

2 responses to “Anadama Bread for Communion? Really?

  1. I first heard of Anadama Bread when I volunteered at Holden Village, which is a Lutheran retreat camp hidden in the Cascade Mountains in central Washington. I never realized its origins were from out here in New England. You learn something new every day! : )

  2. Thank you for finally answering that question of communion in the pews! I’ve thought of it off and on since our first UCC congregation in Philadelphia and more after getting married in the Catholic Church and now attending a rather high Episcopal church, All Saints Pasadena.

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