In continuation of our previous discussion: this is the difficulty I see in the practice of a layperson bringing communion elements to an elder and having the elder "bless" them and then the layperson taking them off to administer them to others. Or, for that matter, the elder blessing the elements over the phone or by e-mail:
It strongly implies that the elder has the mystical ability to make bread and grape juice into the body and blood of Christ. The principle actor in the sacrament thus ceases to be God, and instead becomes the elder.
And that's bad sacramental theology.
Another problem is this: if the blessing of the elements makes it an effective sacrament, could not elders "bless" water and then send that water off with a layperson for the layperson to administer the sacrament of baptism? There is an inconsistency in United Methodist practice that we consider one sacrament to be effective in the activity and one to be effective in the elements.
At any rate, one of the principle duties of an elder is to ensure that the sacraments are "duly administered", and I would think that this would be difficult if s/he isn't, you know, administering them.
As I've said, the Discipline says something, I say "Yessir" and I do it. But I think that we need to clarify exactly what we think "consecration" means in the United Methodist understanding of Eucharist.