Mrs. Mac MakesCommunion Bread
A long time ago after Moses led the people from Egypt they had a feast called Passover as a way to remember their journey out of slavery. They also added another feast called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Israelites did not have time to make bread using yeast before their hurried departure after the Pharaoh let them go, so an unleavened bread was made using flour, water, and a little cream. It was this feast that Jesus and his disciples were celebrating during the Last Supper. When the early Dunkards began studying the Bible trying to follow Jesus' instructions on the last supper, they began the practice of using unleavened bread in their communion services because that it is what the disciples would have been using. Over the years the Dunkards have had many discussions as to how this service should be held. It seems that each part of the country has its own ideas; however, they are very similar. No matter where you participate in Love Feast, you will find the services all share the same idea—that this a very sacred and holy time of fellowship together.
Making the communion bread was done by the Deaconesses of the congregation as a very sacred act of service. The Deacons and Deaconesses would come together a few days before the Love Feast to help to make preparations. The men would boil the beef in large kettles out-side while the women made the communion bread. Before any of this was done, they would have prayers and sing a hymn. Each congregation had its favorite recipe for making the bread. Most recipes used flour, a little bit of sugar, cream or milk, and a pinch of salt. After the ingredients were mixed together, the sisters would start the kneading process. This took over an hour and required warm hands to make the dough become smooth and elastic. Often they would take turns kneading the dough. When the dough had been kneaded enough and reached that special stage, then it was rolled out using a special rolling pin that made it just the right thickness. One of the sisters would then mark the bread. This step in the process was very important and required great care. The strips of dough had to be an inch wide and be pricked with a three pronged fork. They made five rows of three in each little block. The three represented the trinity and the five Jesus' wounds. It was carefully baked and stored away for the special day. Some congregations leave the bread in long strips and simply pass the long strip down the row and each person breaks off a piece. Other congregations make small pieces. For many years the early Dunkard women were not allowed to break bread with another person. Bread was handed to them over their shoulder by one of the men deacons. After many years of talking, the women were able to have this changed by the annual meeting. The Dunkards consider this part of the Love Feast service to be very holy. Only those who have been baptized should take the bread and cup. This meant that children were not to eat the broken bread during the service. However, often the unbroken pieces would be saved for the children to eat later. It was a time for the children to learn the importance of holy communion and why we celebrate it twice a year. In the early days most churches did not have kitchens. You could always tell a Dunkard church, because it had a kitchen that was used for the special preparations needed to have Love Feast. Mac Jr. will be helping the children to make communion bread during Kid's Praise sometime in April.