Admitting Children to Holy Communion before Confirmation Resource Pack Diocese of Worcester Contents What Do Children Think? Reflections on Children & Holy Communion  Frequently Asked Questions  Checklist  Directions of the Bishop of Worcester  New Regulations – General Synod  Four week course for Children on Eucharist  Resources  Blank Application Form Diocese of Worcester... Admission to Holy Communion Confirmation ... Page 1  before Blank Certificate   What Do Children Think? ‘I like being apart of carrying the bread or wine up to the front, but why can’t I take it?’ Why does the vicar say we are one body because we all share one bread, when I don’t get any? There are lots of things I don’t understand yet. But my family still feed me. I love Jesus just as much as everyone else! I think if I had been in that room with Jesus and the disciples, and I was hungry, Jesus would have given me something to eat and drink the same as the others. Some answers children have given. Question : What do you think about when you have the bread and wine? Answer : Being at the Last Supper with Jesus and His friends. It’s like being one of them. Question : Why do you think Jesus wants us to share bread and wine? Answer : To show what He did for us and So that he can be really near us. Question : Does the communion part of the service feel different? Answer : Everyone joins in and feels special. Question : What do you like about the Communion part of the service? Answer : When the Vicar blesses the bread and wine and prays blessing on those who don’t take bread and wine. Question : What do you like about having Communion? Answer : it’s great sharing the experience with other people. Diocese of Worcester... Admission to Holy Communion before Confirmation ... Page 2 Reflections on Children and Holy Communion We hope this pack of information will help you explore the opportunities offered when considering the admission of children to Holy Communion before Confirmation. The History The practice of the earliest Christians with regard to receiving Holy Communion is not clear but certainly whole households were baptised and it is assumed that children would have been included. It seems that Communion immediately followed Baptism, and there is no indication that children were excluded. The Eastern Orthodox Churches have always communicated children immediately after Baptism. The subsequent divorce of Communion from Baptism has been the combined result of the theological preoccupations and practical circumstances of following centuries: e.g. the doctrine of original sin led to the promotion of infant Baptism; church expansion necessitated Baptism by priests rather than bishops, followed by laying on of hands by bishops during periodic tours; the failure of parishioners to present children to the bishop on these occasions contributed to the bishops demand that laying on of hands precede Communion; the development of laying on of hands into a rite involving the confirmation of baptismal vows produced an emphasis on the need for teaching before Confirmation. The moves in recent times from afternoon to morning meetings of Sunday School, and towards Parish Communion as the regular Sunday service have led to a new practical situation in which children find themselves regularly in church at a service in which they cannot fully participate. The tradition of the church regarding admission of children to Communion is not represented by a static norm but is characterised by a continued development in practice in the light of changing situations: in the spirit of this tradition, what developments are appropriate to our situation today? Seeing it from the Child’s View Child psychologists and experts in children’s spiritual development alike point to the importance of children taking part in practical activities learning by doing and of their natural facility for engaging with symbol and mystery. Full participation in Communion is sometimes claimed to be an erosion of childhood, but instead it could be seen as cherishing and making best use of the very characteristics of childhood. One important characteristic of childhood is the need to belong. Partaking in Holy Communion is a powerful indication Diocese of Worcester... Admission to Holy Communion before Confirmation ... Page 3 of belonging to God, and to one another in the Church. Much is made of what children may or may not understand about the sacrament, but they will certainly

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