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Source: (consider it) Thread: When should children take communion?
St Deird
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So, my husband and toddler son went up to the communion rail, and priest gave husband communion, blessed son, and then paused and asked "Or... did you want him to have communion?" (We hadn't planned on it.)

My question:
At what age / in what circumstance should children be given communion?

Related question:
Does their baptismal status affect your answer?


Here's where I'm coming from...

My background: Baptist. Communion in teeny cups, no-one is supposed to have it until they've had an adult baptism.

My current denomination: Anglican.

My theory of communion: Real Presence, but with an unusual side of Priesthood of All Believers (I would have no problem with grape juice and Wonder White in a field, handed round by a bunch of randos being considered proper communion, whereas most Real Presence people seem to).

My theory of baptism: still mostly influenced by growing up a Baptist, although I have no problem with paedo-baptism these days. My son is NOT baptised, as I consider my own, adult baptism an important part of my faith journey. (Husband ditto.)

My thoughts on kids having communion: no idea. But my son (nearly 2 at the time) has had wee cuppies communion once. He asked, and I realised at that moment that I'd have a HUGE theological problem with my child asking for communion and being told no, given the whole "let the little children come..." thing. I briefly hesitated based on him not being baptised, but decided I would feel more disobedient refusing him based on a "rule" I wasn't sure of than allowing him based on a command I was pretty damn clear on.


So... thoughts?

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Helen-Eva
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Your explanation sounds very sensible to me and I think your (implied) conclusion that these things need to be decided on a case by case basis taking into account a huge pile of things including pastoral considerations also sounds right.

If pushed, I would say that generally I would expect someone taking communion to be baptised and confirmed (if a child) or baptised and with some knowledge of what they were doing (if an adult). I would feel uncomfortable with someone not baptised taking communion but I can accept there might be moments when it was better than turning them away.

I prefer children not to take communion until confirmed (even if they are baptised) based on my own experience as an adult convert. I was baptised in adulthood and felt left until I was baptised ["We were all baptised into one body" "I wasn't!"]. If even the smallest children of the church goers had taken communion when I as a newbie could not (for whatever reasons in theology or my own head) it would have made me feel very unwelcome.

That is an entirely pastoral reason and not based on theology.

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mr cheesy
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For me, children who are not baptised and confirmed shouldn't be taking communion. Others disagree.

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fletcher christian

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For me, once a child is baptised they can take communion. Of course there are sometimes practical considerations and there is a certain messiness about this approach that I understand gives people a certain 'just cause' to be concerned, but either baptism is full membership of the church or it is not. To me, it is that simple.

To use confirmation as a gate of access to communion is a terrible misappropriation of the sacrament and indicates a complete lack of understanding of what confirmation is.

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chris stiles
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If pushed I'd say that Baptism (either child or adult) is necessary because it's a signifier of entrance into the community, and communion is a rite of that community.

As communion has a caveat around 'examining oneself' I'd say that is where confirmation of some kind may come in (as in part it confirms the ability to self reflect), depending on the original circumstances of Baptism.

[ 10. January 2017, 11:44: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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Albertus
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Here in the Church in Wales we've gone over to communion for *all* the baptised, regardless of age (no wine for smallest kids) as of last Advent Sunday. It's not uncontroversial and if our parish is anything to go by we haven't really had the education and explanation that the Governing Body called for- we're just doing it.

[ 10. January 2017, 11:43: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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This is a live question in Baptist churches, and tends to centre on issues like "is there an age at which children can understand?" and "should young people take communion before being baptised (by immersion?"

A summary of the issues by a respected Baptist Union minister can be found here.

Of course, the "Grace" Baptists neatly solve the problem by making Communion (for anyone) contingent on Baptism - and sometimes refusing to recognise any earlier infant baptism.

[ 10. January 2017, 12:15: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:

Of course, the "Grace" Baptists neatly solve the problem by making Communion (for anyone) contingent on Baptism - and sometimes refusing to recognise any earlier infant baptism.

And not only those churches which operate under the Grace Baptist banner either. It is not unusual to find various churches (usually in the conservative end of Baptist/Evangelical) who will only accept baptism that they've done (or at a stretch by someone else they know well) and will only allow communion within the membership.

I don't think it used to be so unusual for Baptist Union churches to restrict membership to those who were baptised as adults (ie specifically not as infants in the Anglican or other church, even if they had been confirmed), but I think distribution of communion has been more relaxed for a long time.

In fairness, I don't think this has much relevance to the OP which is specifically talking about an Anglican context with a specific understanding of the sacrament.

[ 10. January 2017, 12:22: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I don't think it used to be so unusual for Baptist Union churches to restrict membership to those who were baptised as adults (ie specifically not as infants in the Anglican or other church, even if they had been confirmed), but I think distribution of communion has been more relaxed for a long time.

It varies/varied from church to church. Sometimes practice (especially in older churches) is legally regulated by what is stated in the building's Trust Deed.

I used to go to a church where anyone could be a member but the (lay) Deacons had to have been baptised by immersion. Other churches stipulate that "a majority" of deacons must be so baptised.

quote:
In fairness, I don't think this has much relevance to the OP which is specifically talking about an Anglican context with a specific understanding of the sacrament.
Fair enough - I'll bow out.
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mousethief

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For me the "let the little children come to me" applies to baptism as well as communion. For people who were not raised Christian, the adult conversion and baptism are an important part of their faith, and rightly so. For people born into church going families, the model does not apply. Many such people testify that there was never a moment when they "decided" -- they had always believed as far back as they could remember.

Hence, paedobaptism. And all the baptised should receive communion. (In the EOC, chrismation happens immediately after baptism. Chrismation is analagous to the Anglican or Catholic confirmation as the celebration of the receiving of the Holy Spirit.)

Hence we have tiny infants receiving communion.

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SvitlanaV2
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IME British Methodist churches invite anyone who 'loves the Lord' to take communion. Children who are old enough to ask will be allowed to participate. The wine is non-alcoholic, so perhaps this makes it easier.
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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I think MT has it right here.

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bib
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I grew up with the understanding that first communion followed confirmation. However, I notice that this seems to have gone by the board in some churches and I'm wondering if it is in part due to the fact that so few seek confirmation despite being baptised. There also seem to be some who take communion even though they have never been baptised. Maybe there is a lack of church teaching and people are ignorant of church tradition. I certainly don't agree with young children taking communion as they do not have the maturity to comprehend the significance. However, I can see that there may be different thinking in other denominations.

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Lucia

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I was baptised as a baby in the Church of England and didn't take communion until I was confirmed at age 15.

However with our own children we wanted them to have the experience of choosing and remembering their baptism so they were dedicated as infants. Both chose to be baptised at around 11 years old. As they were growing up we had explained that communion was only for those who were baptised but since their baaptism they have both been admitted to communion. In particular our younger one was desperate to participate and this is one of the things he seems to love most about church.

Don't know how our theology matches up with the official CofE view but no one has questioned our children taking communion. I would see them being confirmed to be more indicative of them choosing to be a member of the CofE rather than another denomination but I suspect that is not really in line with the theology either! I'm not sure what else confirmation signifies for someone baptised as a believer although it may be a useful reaffirmation of faith when they are a bit older.

[ 10. January 2017, 13:24: Message edited by: Lucia ]

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by bib:
I grew up with the understanding that first communion followed confirmation. However, I notice that this seems to have gone by the board in some churches and I'm wondering if it is in part due to the fact that so few seek confirmation despite being baptised. There also seem to be some who take communion even though they have never been baptised.

I should think that increasing secularisation has made some churches reluctant to put barriers in the way of the decreasing numbers of people who might still want to participate in this ritual.

Church teachings formally remain the same, but in practice churches adapt what they do to the circumstances they find themselves in.

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BroJames
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I think one of the engines of change has been the extent to which children are in church for communion. In times past they might have been in Sunday School for the whole service (my childhood experience). But now it's very common for children and parents to be rat the communion rail (or in the communion service) together, and IMHO there is not really a theologically or pastorally strong answer to the child who says why can't I receive. Baptism is full admission to the Christian Church. My experience is that even from very early verbal or pre-verbal ages children appreciate that there is something special about communion, and that their understanding and appreciation grows as they do.

I would certainly not turn away an unbaptised child (or probably an adult come to that), but if I knew that had not been baptised, I would be looking to have a private conversation (for a child, initially with the parents) about whether they ought to be baptised also - even if the child is quite young.

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Humble Servant
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
For me, children who are not baptised and confirmed shouldn't be taking communion. Others disagree.

Those are the rules I grew up with. Infant baptism. Confirmation at teenage. Communion only after confirmation.
But what is the reason for this? Why is communion dependent on confirmation, and why is confirmation dependent on age? I've never really questioned it.

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Og, King of Bashan

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I'm almost 36, and have been receiving communion since before I can remember, probably shortly after I was baptized as an infant. So infant communion has been the norm in my life, and the norm in TEC churches where I have attended. (Although the now-Bishop's son was in my Sunday School class, and he took his first communion at 8. I remember because we got cake in Sunday School. So holding off isn't unheard of.)

My daughter was baptized a little after her first birthday, and received communion at Christmas that year. Our rector left it up to us, but suggested that, in our tradition, the Sacrament isn't something that even adults "understand" completely, so we don't withhold from children. She doesn't normally receive, for two reasons. First, logistics. I'm in the choir, my wife normally stays at home, and with my singing duties, I don't have time to run to the nursery and get her before communion. Second, she has fun in the nursery, and I would like to avoid the impression that church is where daddy drags me when he has decided that I have played enough. I think once she can attend Sunday school with the rest of the kids and come back into church with her friends in time for communion, it will become a more regular experience.

I have seen attitudes towards confirmation change in my lifetime. When I was a kid, the high schoolers went through conformation class. I did it when I was 14 or 15. At some point, the church determined that most of the kids were only there because their parents were making them do it, so they pretty much cut off youth confirmation classes. However, in the last few years, they have gone back a bit, and had small youth confirmation classes for kids who really do want to take part. (That would have been me as a kid, but I suspect only two or three other kids would have joined in, as opposed to the 20 or so who were in my class.) So I don't think that even confirmation necessarily always indicates readiness and understanding, and I wonder if tying communion to confirmation might increase pressure from parents to get teenagers who aren't interested confirmed.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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On a practical note, as a former communion server, I had two occasions where parents dipped a finger into the wine so as to give baby (less than a year old, post baptism) a drop or two. I think one family tried to take up what they observed another do. I wonder if anyone else had experienced this? These were situations where someone did something unexpected; I would have, I think, prevented the parent finger from coming near the liquid had I been alert to this. I think that it is completely inappropriate for a child to take communion if they cannot take it independently, not back-wash from mouth back into cup, and that no additional deposits into the cup occur.
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David Goode
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Communicating children before confirmation is a diocesan decision.
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Charles Read
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Confirmation only developed in the west and is a late development. It does not really parallel chrismation in the east. Right through the Middle Ages in the west, most people never got confirmed when such a rite did develop and most received communion - albeit sporadically.

Using confirmation as a gateway to communion has no historical or theological basis and this is why denominations like the Church in Wales have moved to accepting baptism as the basis on which you receive communion.

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Erroneous Monk
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I wasn't baptised as a baby. I received baptism, first holy communion and confirmation three days before I turned 15 and made my first confession about a month later.

I'd like my children to go through what is the usual process in the Diocese where we live. They were both baptised as babies. My son received holy communion for the first time at the age of 8, following a programme of instruction, which included making his first confession. My daughter will go through the same programme next year, God willing.

Confirmation would be round about age 14, if they feel ready.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
... I prefer children not to take communion until confirmed (even if they are baptised) based on my own experience as an adult convert. I was baptised in adulthood and felt left until I was baptised ["We were all baptised into one body" "I wasn't!"]. If even the smallest children of the church goers had taken communion when I as a newbie could not (for whatever reasons in theology or my own head) it would have made me feel very unwelcome.

That is an entirely pastoral reason and not based on theology.

Helen-Eva, I take what you say about feeling unwelcome, but are you sure that in the situation you describe, it wouldn't have been right that you should have felt, if not unwelcome, at least partially, or inadequately welcome. And would it have been right or fair to deny small children communion because it might have made you feel unwelcome. After all, at the time, they were in the kingdom, and as yet, you weren't.

And pastorally, there was something you could have, should have, and now have done about that, which is really good.

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Beeswax Altar
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Baptism should precede communion. A child not ready to be baptized is not ready to receive communion. If anything, a desire to receive communion should be interpreted as a desire to be baptized.

Once a child has been baptized, it's up the parents to decide when they begin receiving communion. On one hand, any baptized child can receive communion. Why reject believer's baptism and then insist on believer's communion? On the other hand, a case can be made that first communion should follow instruction and confession. Waiting for confirmation isn't done in TEC. Then again, TEC struggles with the nature of confirmation.

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Sipech
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A lot does hinge on your view of the sacraments. I take a symbolic understanding of both and largely side with Jurgen Moltmann (short summary of his view here) in having a baptism that is a once-only event, taken as a step of obedience to a call to discipleship, but where communion is an ongoing practice which should be open to all.

I really don't think one is going to damned for saying "yes" or "no" though I err on the side of inclusion. To say to anyone that they cannot share in communion with you strikes me as somewhat less than Christ-like.

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Why reject believer's baptism and then insist on believer's communion?

well I suppose put like that it doesn't make much sense...but of course the theology of the CofE as was could perhaps be summed up as parents making promises on the infant's behalf at baptism (so bringing the child into the Christian family), then the individual making those promises/affirming those beliefs for themselves at Confirmation, and then taking communion.

Personally, I dodged confirmation classes at school (compulsory Chapel leaving me with a good working knowledge of Victorian hymns but not much theology), and it was something of a surprise to me, let alone my parents, when I found myself at the age of 22 volunteering to fit confirmation classes around my training at Dartmouth. Brought to God by the naval chaplaincy.

As far as possible, I believe people (within the CofE anyway) should stick to baptism-confirmation-communion in that order, but clearly other people have other views.

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Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
... I prefer children not to take communion until confirmed (even if they are baptised) based on my own experience as an adult convert. I was baptised in adulthood and felt left until I was baptised ["We were all baptised into one body" "I wasn't!"]. If even the smallest children of the church goers had taken communion when I as a newbie could not (for whatever reasons in theology or my own head) it would have made me feel very unwelcome.

That is an entirely pastoral reason and not based on theology.

Helen-Eva, I take what you say about feeling unwelcome, but are you sure that in the situation you describe, it wouldn't have been right that you should have felt, if not unwelcome, at least partially, or inadequately welcome. And would it have been right or fair to deny small children communion because it might have made you feel unwelcome. After all, at the time, they were in the kingdom, and as yet, you weren't.

And pastorally, there was something you could have, should have, and now have done about that, which is really good.

Thank you. Intellectually I entirely see and understand your point. Emotionally, however, even now it feels a bit hurtful (and we're talking nearly 20 years later). So if you were going to deploy that argument with potential adult converts I think it would be sensible to make them feel super-welcome in some other way.

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Zacchaeus
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In the CofE to take communion you must be baptised.
The BCP says those who are 'baptised and desirous of being confirmed’ can take communion, so in 1662 there was no requirement for confirmation to be able to partake.

In the past when bishops where on horseback, confirmation services were few and far between and there was no link between confirmation and communion. Somewhere along the way the two became conflated somehow.

But historically one was not dependant on each other.

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leo
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If they're baptised, any age.

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Humble Servant
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quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
... I prefer children not to take communion until confirmed (even if they are baptised) based on my own experience as an adult convert. I was baptised in adulthood and felt left until I was baptised ["We were all baptised into one body" "I wasn't!"]. If even the smallest children of the church goers had taken communion when I as a newbie could not (for whatever reasons in theology or my own head) it would have made me feel very unwelcome.

That is an entirely pastoral reason and not based on theology.

Helen-Eva, I take what you say about feeling unwelcome, but are you sure that in the situation you describe, it wouldn't have been right that you should have felt, if not unwelcome, at least partially, or inadequately welcome. And would it have been right or fair to deny small children communion because it might have made you feel unwelcome. After all, at the time, they were in the kingdom, and as yet, you weren't.

And pastorally, there was something you could have, should have, and now have done about that, which is really good.

Thank you. Intellectually I entirely see and understand your point. Emotionally, however, even now it feels a bit hurtful (and we're talking nearly 20 years later). So if you were going to deploy that argument with potential adult converts I think it would be sensible to make them feel super-welcome in some other way.
Yes, absolutely. I found Alpha very helpful for this. We were (or I was at least) aching to be allowed to receive communion, but had to wait together for baptism and confirmation. Alpha gives you a community and a welcome to support you during this fruitful period of impatient waiting.
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Humble Servant
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quote:
Originally posted by betjemaniac:

As far as possible, I believe people (within the CofE anyway) should stick to baptism-confirmation-communion in that order, but clearly other people have other views.

But you haven't explained why you believe that. What benefit does a baptised person receive from waiting for confirmation?
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Gee D
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When I was a lad, the rule here was baptism and confirmation before communion. That has now been relaxed to baptism, not necessarily in an Anglican church.

On a practical note, how do you explain communion (in any of the ways it can be understood in Anglicanism) to a 2 yr old?

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Humble Servant:
quote:
Originally posted by betjemaniac:

As far as possible, I believe people (within the CofE anyway) should stick to baptism-confirmation-communion in that order, but clearly other people have other views.

But you haven't explained why you believe that. What benefit does a baptised person receive from waiting for confirmation?
If they're not an adult, then confirmation ensures that they know their catechism - or at least the answers to certain questions, before they fully partake in sacramental life. 13 weeks or so with Hugh Montefiore's Confirmation Notebook, the BCP and a decent priest is a good thing (IMO).

If you're going to have infant baptism, which the CofE does and which I believe in, then having a second gateway later on when people make the professions themselves because they want to makes sense to me.

If they are an adult then bouncing quickly through both is a good idea, but I still think both is best.

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And is it true? For if it is....

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St. Gwladys
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As Albertus stated some while ago, the Church in Wales now allows communion to anyone, of any age, who has been baptised.
In our church, we have a very active.Sunday school, and about a week before the announcement was made, I was talking to the grandmother of one of the children who was telling me that the child had made a personal commitment, understood why we have communion, had been christened/baptised, and wanted to know why she couldn't have the bread and wine!
The issue was discussed at PCC and it was decided that children could take communion with their parent's consent, and that non alcoholic wine should be made available. There was going to be a course of instruction for parents and children, but as our vicar is going to be moving to another parish, this has become passing the parents a book to discuss with their children.
We now have several children who take communion, but not all as some don't want to, some aren't old enough to understand what it's about

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Og, King of Bashan

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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
On a practical note, how do you explain communion (in any of the ways it can be understood in Anglicanism) to a 2 yr old?

I think our priest says something about "this is a gift from God" when administering to our 2 year old.

Part of having a 2 year old is constantly explaining things that they cannot possibly understand, mostly out of the hope that they will start to pick up on the words, actions, and ideas, and gradually be able to form those parts into the whole that you are trying to explain. So this Christmas, even though she couldn't possibly understand the Incarnation, I still sat down with her and played with our nativity set, moving the characters around, telling her their names, and telling her the story. Maybe next year she knows the names, and that something was special about the Baby. A few years later other things will start to click.

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Gee D
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I like that first line.

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St Deird
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
For me the "let the little children come to me" applies to baptism as well as communion. For people who were not raised Christian, the adult conversion and baptism are an important part of their faith, and rightly so. For people born into church going families, the model does not apply. Many such people testify that there was never a moment when they "decided" -- they had always believed as far back as they could remember.

Not disputing this, but adding a different viewpoint:

I was born into a Christian family, and, like you say, always believed as far back as I can remember.

And yet, for me, deciding as a teenager that I wished to be baptised wasn't so much me deciding to "become" a Christian, as deciding to commit to following Christ no matter what it cost me. It was important for me at that moment. And is still important to me now, even though it didn't mark any kind of "conversion" for me. It was, to me, the first mark of my having "adult" faith.

While I now see some value in paedobaptism, I would prefer my son to have the opportunity of deciding to be baptised for himself, as I did.

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Pangolin Guerre
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I (Anglican) started reading this thread because I'm facing this question with a godson (eight years old). If he's to be going to church, I'll be the one taking him. However, this discussion raises a question for me with regard to the sequence of baptism-confirmation-communion. I intend to be confirmed, but have taken communion since I was baptised at the age of 23. The baptism itself was the culmination of a heated theological argument about baptism, in which I argued that, though desirous, I wasn't worthy, and the priest replied that no one is. I've since been in a state of continual theological engagement. Is confirmation really necessary? I doubt that it of itself would make any difference to my spiritual life other than being a a renewal of commitment beyond the renewal of baptismal vows. Thoughts?
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Graven Image
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When the child is old enough to sit at the Thanksgiving holiday dinner table. Child is nourished by the food, feels loved by being surrounded by family, and it makes not one difference that the child may not know we are celebrating a national holiday and that the food is important for growth and is made up of vitamins and that the lady paying attention to him and making him happy is his great grandmother. Child simply knows that somehow this meal is special and he/she is included in the celebration. Same goes for communion.

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Gramps49
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As soon as the child reaches for it, they can commune if parents allow it. We do have grape juice for minor children. Around 14 they will begin to take the wine.
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The Phantom Flan Flinger
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If a child is able to understand what communion means, and why we do it, they should be able to participate.

I don't like the expression "allowed" to take communion. Who are we to allow or otherwise?

I also don't see that baptism or otherwise has anything to do with it.

For info - my current shack is a Free Church, affiliated to BUGB.

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
I (Anglican) started reading this thread because I'm facing this question with a godson (eight years old). If he's to be going to church, I'll be the one taking him. However, this discussion raises a question for me with regard to the sequence of baptism-confirmation-communion. I intend to be confirmed, but have taken communion since I was baptised at the age of 23. The baptism itself was the culmination of a heated theological argument about baptism, in which I argued that, though desirous, I wasn't worthy, and the priest replied that no one is. I've since been in a state of continual theological engagement. Is confirmation really necessary? I doubt that it of itself would make any difference to my spiritual life other than being a a renewal of commitment beyond the renewal of baptismal vows. Thoughts?

For someone who is an adult when they come to baptism it is usually pastorally desirable that they should be confirmed as soon as possible after baptism, and in the meantime, as someone intending to be confirmed, they are able to receive communion. I agree with you that little is added by confirmation for someone who is baptised as an adult, although for some the sacramental significance of the bishop laying his hands on the candidate and praying for them to receive the Holy Spirit is an important matter. A conversation with your parish priest might be helpful, it might work well for you and a few family members/ friends to go to a confirmation service elsewhere in the diocese rather than waiting for the next time one comes to your parish.
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Rosa Gallica officinalis
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My gut reaction is whenever the discipline of the church denomination permits- otherwise one baptised person is deciding whether another baptised person is a suitable recipient (usually based on whether they can "understand")

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger:
If a child is able to understand what communion means, and why we do it, they should be able to participate.

Nobody understands it.

I had a hand in preparing children for first communion last year and was impressed by their grasp.

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Fr Weber
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I'd say that if your son hasn't yet been baptized, then he shouldn't be receiving. Once he has been baptized, you & your family should abide by the community's general standard. If you're in a place where young children receive communion, then by all means allow him to do so, but if that's not the custom where you are, you shouldn't insist on it.

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"The Eucharist is not a play, and you're not Jesus."

--Sr Theresa Koernke, IHM

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
I (Anglican) started reading this thread because I'm facing this question with a godson (eight years old).

Our place (TEC) does a formal first communion, usually for second-grade children (age 8), in which they have a series of lessons followed by a formal first communion (usually with the girls in mini bridal outfits etc.) This is probably strongly influenced by the Catholic culture in which we are embedded. Our parishioners expect us to have something that looks like what the Catholics have.

I'd estimate that about half the members of the first communion class have been regular communicants before their official "first communion".

My own personal children have received communion since they asked for it, which was around age 6 or 7. They routinely receive in both kinds (no grape juice here.) There are a couple of kids at our place who have received since they were 2 or 3.

I have no objection to communicating infants, but suspect that as a matter of practicality nobody at our place would know how to do it.

[ 11. January 2017, 21:07: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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Gramps49
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Does anyone really understand what is going on in communion? To me, it is a mystery. I accept it on faith even though I cannot explain it. And I have an M.Div. behind my name.

When a little girl wants to have Jesus. That is good enough for me.

Oh sure, as a person matures in faith, they do get a deeper understanding what is happening.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Does anyone really understand what is going on in communion? To me, it is a mystery. I accept it on faith even though I cannot explain it. And I have an M.Div. behind my name.

When a little girl wants to have Jesus. That is good enough for me.

Oh sure, as a person matures in faith, they do get a deeper understanding what is happening.

Yes.

I appreciate the comments above about confirmation and/or baptism (depending on your theology) as an entrance into the community and communion being an act of community. However, there are some logistical barriers here: generally in all but the largest of megachurches you will only have a few opportunities for baptism and/or confirmation a year-- things need to be coordinated in advance, there is instruction to be had, etc. But we have communion as an act of community every Sunday or at least (in my tradition) once a month. To exclude people-- whether children or adults new to the faith-- for weeks & months seems unnecessarily rigid to me (although that may be my non-sacramental theology coming out). That's where the experience of the poster feeling like an excluded "outsider" as an unbaptized convert seems informative.

I would prefer to build on/encourage/ reinforce those seeds of faith-- whether, again, from a new convert or from a child-- by including them in communion as soon as they are able to understand and respond to God's gift of grace. If someone wants to remember and be thankful for the gift of the cross, why would I want to throw barriers in the way? We should of course, then encourage those individuals to be baptized and/or confirmed asap, but don't need to hold them back from experiencing the presence of Christ (however you understand the sacrament) in the meantime.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Og: Thread Killer
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When should children take communion?

Every time they eat with a fellow human.

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Erroneous Monk
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Does anyone really understand what is going on in communion? To me, it is a mystery. I accept it on faith even though I cannot explain it. And I have an M.Div. behind my name.

When a little girl wants to have Jesus. That is good enough for me.

Oh sure, as a person matures in faith, they do get a deeper understanding what is happening.

I remember The Boy asking: "Is it a particular *bit* of Jesus, or is it a bit of *all* of Him, all mixed up, like....like..."

"Like sausage?" I said

"Yes" he said, "Like that."

I said "It's a bit of every bit of Him. Everything that makes Him who He is goes into you."

Was that right?

That was four years before he received his first holy communion. His relationship with and love for the Blessed Sacrament continues to grow and so does mine.

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

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