Communion tokens

In Georgia Wesley had strictly applied the rules governing admission to the Lord's Table. In the early years of the Revival his Arminian theology led him to invite all penitent 'seekers' to participate in what he believed to be a 'converting' as well as a 'confirming' ordinance. But the large numbers who flocked to his Communion services, especially at West Street Chapel, London, caused him to apply safeguards against unworthy participation, by requiring either a class ticket or a 'note of admission' (as agreed at the Conference of 1747), renewable quarterly. The MNC and PM applied similar procedures, but the practice was gradually abandoned during the nineteenth century..

In Scottish Methodism metal tokens were used for this purpose, a usage that has been traced back to the Reformed tradition of the early Continental Reformation. These tokens were in use at Nicolson Square, Edinburgh at least until the 1860s.


'Last evening [at Sunderland] it was announced that all who had newly partaken of the love of Jesus might have the privilege of partaking of the ordinance this afternoon by coming to the vestry, where they would find ministers in attendance to give them notes of admission… [Dr. Palmer] returns and assures me that the pressure will not admit of giving notes. The Superintendent minister waits, and, as the crowd passes one by one before him, he says, "Do you enjoy peace with God?" An answer in the affirmative is the passport, and the newly received disciple enters in, and is permitted, with his elder brethren, to partake of the memorials of his Saviour's sufferings.'

Phoebe Palmer, Four Years in the Old World (1866) p.144

  • J.C. Bowmer, The Lord's Supper in Early Methodism (1951), pp.103-20
  • J.C. Bowmer, The Lord's Supper in Methodism 1791-1960 (1961) pp.26, 39 etc.
  • WHS Proceedings, 1 (1899) pp.134-5; 14 (1923) pp.7-9

Entry written by: JAV
Category: Subject
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