Rev. Neal: This question is in regard to a local Part-time church where the pastor has her degree but is not ordained. In our church we typically celebrate the Eucharist on the first Sunday of the month, but our pastor will be away the first Sunday of May; one of our Lay Speakers will be preaching that Sunday. Can the Pastor consecrate the bread and wine the week prior and then the Lay Speaker serve Communion on the first Sunday? If no, can the bread and wine be taken to a another fully connectional, ordained UM pastor in the area prior to worship and then the Lay Speaker serve to the congregation? Thank you for your time and response.
The ordination status of your Pastor is irrelevant in this circumstance: the question is one of how one makes provision for the Sacrament when there isn't a duly authorized or ordained minister present in worship. Going out the gate it must be recognized that the Lay Speaker chosen to preach that Sunday is not authorized to preside at the Eucharist. By the Discipline, only an Elder or the Local Pastor who has been appointed to the church by the Bishop is authorized the preside at the Eucharist.
The 2008 General Conference passed legislation which would have authorized your pastor to consecrate the elements before leaving, and then the Lay Speaker or other Lay members distribute the elements on Sunday morning. However, in 2009 the Judicial Council ruled that the use of elements that have been pre-consecrated as you describe, for the purpose you describe, is a violation of our Eucharistic Doctrine. Reserved Sacrament is only to be used to commune people at home or in hospitals or nursing homes, and from elements that have been consecrated in the course of a regular worship service and are left over from that service ... and in a timely manner (within a day or two of the service). Consecrating elements outside of a worship service for use in a worship service a week hence is not valid in the UMC. This would also apply for having an Elder in another church prior-consecrate the elements to be used on the 1st Sunday.
The better course of action in your case is to not have Communion on the First Sunday of May. Instead, have communion early (on April 28) or late (on May 12). There is no regulation or guideline that says that you may only have Communion on the First Sunday of the Month, and there is every justification for having Communion on the Sunday when an Elder or the appointed Licensed Local Pastor is present.
If you really want to have Communion on the First Sunday of May, the only option available to you is to have an Elder come and preside at the Table. Any retired Elder, or an Elder serving as an Associate, or an Elder in a beyond-the-local-church appointment may preside.
I hope this helps. Please write again if you have further questions or would like clarification on this matter.