Mr. Fuglein: We need clarity regarding the Sacrament of Holy Communion in the United Methodist Church. If a Local Part-time Pastor is going to be away can he /she consecrate the elements before leaving and let the Lay Leader and Lay Servants serve the meal to the congregation on the following Sunday? If yes, how far in advance can this consecration take place? Also: can the elements be taken to a nearby Full-time UM Elder to be consecrated and then served to the congregation by the Laity? Can the elements be consecrated over the phone? If no to any or all of the above, when did the current rules become effective? Are these rules by action of the General Conference or the Judicial Council? Thanks for answering all of these questions!"
I have not looked this up in the Book of Discipline, but these answers are based on my experience in the UMC.
The Local Pastor who is to be away may consecrate the elements, but only for his/her assigned church. I've never seen it done more than a week or two in advance.
Yes, you can employ a local Elder for the same purposed.
I do not think the elements can be consecrated over the phone, but any Elder would know that, and any other rules.
Hope this helps.