Children and
Communion
Mary Hawes
November 2010
Children and Communion
Issues
Background
Theology
Regulations
Practicalities
Issues
Biblical perspectives

New Testament
Baptism is the sole entry rite into the church.
No explicit teaching on children and communion.
Jewish tradition – Passover.
Biblical perspectives

Do this in remembrance of me
 Luke

Day by day they broke bread at
home…and ate with glad and
generous hearts


22.19
Acts 2.46
For I received from the Lord…you
proclaim the Lord’s death until he
comes
1
Corinthians 11.23-26
Biblical perspectives

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or
drinks the cup in an unworthy
manner…..
1
Corinthians 11.27
Background

3rd Century
Cyprian describes infants receiving
bread and wine from birth.
Anointing with oil and laying on of hands
added to baptism. Children shared in
all of this – including communion
History

4th & 5th Centuries
Augustine of Hippo and original sin –
John 6.53
 Growing size of Dioceses
 Baptisms performed by local priests
 Laying on of hands delayed until the
bishop’s visit
 Receiving communion associated with
baptism

History

Eastern practice


Priest performed full baptismal rite,
including infant Communion (using
oils blessed by Bishop)
Western practice

Baptism was performed locally but
anointing and imposition of hands was
delayed until a visit from the Bishop
History

The Middle Ages
Baptism – Communion - Confirmation
Growing theology of the ‘real presence’
 Laity denied the wine
 Children sometimes denied both bread and wine

History

13th Century


1281


recommended age for Confirmation varied from 1 – 7
years
regulation that those not confirmed should be barred from
Holy Communion
16th Century

communicating unconfirmed adults and children was
finally abolished (Council of Trent)
History
The Reformation

Catholic View

Emphasis on what
God does –
imparting the Holy
Spirit

Protestant View

Emphasis on a
person’s response
– individual
response of faith
Cranmer’s 1549 Prayer Book emphasised the Catechism as the
pre-requisite to Communion
‘there shall none be admitted to Holy Communion until such
time as he can say the catechism and be confirmed’
History
The Reformation

Catholic View

Emphasis on what
God does –
imparting the Holy
Spirit

Protestant View

Emphasis on a
person’s response
– individual
response of faith
1662 Prayer Book compromise
‘there shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion until
such time as he be confirmed or ready and desirous to be
confirmed’
History

19th Century
The rise of the railways! Bishops no longer had to rely on
horse power to get around
 Confirmation became seen as the completion of baptism
and therefore the gateway to Communion

Just last century…

The growth of the Parish Eucharist Movement meant
children were visible in church and present at the
Communion service
Just last century…

1954
Baptism and Confirmation Today

1967
Ely Commission

1971
Christian Initiation: Birth and Growth in the
Christian Society (the Ely Report)

1974
Manchester, Peterborough & Southwark
‘experimental’
Just last century…

1985
Children and Communion (the Knaresborough
Report)

1988
Children in the Way

1991
All God’s Children?

1993
Communion before Confirmation – Culham
Institute
Just last century…



1994
On the Way – Towards an integrated approach
to Christian Initiation
1996
July – House of Bishops Guidelines,
November – Guidelines accepted by
General Synod
1997
House of Bishops’ Guidelines are published
Into the third millennium…



2005
 Synod received a report on the current state of
play in England
 Most Dioceses permit parishes to admit children
to Communion before Confirmation
2006 – June 15th (Corpus Christi)
 The Guidelines become Regulations under
paragraph 1(c) of Canon B15A
2010
 Going for Growth report goes to Synod
 About 15% of parishes now admit children to
communion before confirmation (18% in London)
Baptismal theology
A sign and seal of new
birth
 Adding to those whom
the Lord calls
 The start of a life-long
journey of faith
 Calling out of darkness

Baptismal theology
Dying to sin
and rising to
new life
 Claimed by
Christ
 Cleansed from
sin

Baptismal theology
Received into the
Church
 Touched with God’s
love
 Welcomed into the
fellowship of faith

Images found in the Common
Worship Baptism service
Eucharistic theology
 Sacrifice
 Forgiveness
 Trusting
in your
manifold and
great mercies
Eucharistic theology
 Covenant
of grace
 We are not worthy
 Telling the story –
hearing our part in
it
 Sending out into
the world
Images found in the Common
Worship Holy Communion
service
Theological issues
 The
priority of grace
 Baptism as the complete
sacramental initiation into Christ
 Children as part of the covenant
people of God
 Understanding or faith?
 Gift or reward?
The Regulations
1 The Regulations came into force
on 15th June 2006
The Regulations
2 Confirmation is no longer a
requirement for Admission to Holy
Communion for baptised children
The Regulations
3 The Bishop of London has agreed
that parishes may make
application to admit children to
communion before confirmation
The Regulations
4 Application must be made on the
appropriate form
The Regulations
5 Preparation, nurture and
encouragement to confirmation
Consultation in LEPs
The Regulations
6 The Bishop can refuse
applications, but reapplications
can happen after a year
The Regulations
7 Permission can be revoked but
application for this must be in
writing
The Regulations
8 Pre-requisitions:

Baptism

Parental contentment

Incumbent’s absolute discretion
The Regulations
9 Register of Admissions
Record onto Baptism Certificate
The Regulations
10 Parish decision against MUST
NOT prevent those who have
already been admitted
The Regulations
11 Cathedral Peculiarities (!)
The Regulations
12 The Bishop of London has
delegated responsibility to his Area
Bishops
The Regulations
13 What to do in vacancy, suspension
etc
Pastoral practicalities
Parental support
 Sunday group involvement
 Teaching on the meaning of
communion
 Regular parochial opportunities for the
renewal of baptismal vows
 Engagement with local church schools

Pastoral practicalities
Making room for differing views
 Developing an overall culture which
enables children to be worshippers
 Children who want to emulate their
peers
 Inter-parochial mobility
 A minimum age?
 The place of confirmation

Liturgical practicalities
Communion before confirmation
means children attending communion
 The need to make sense of their place
in the service as a whole
 Eucharistic prayers for use with
children present
 Continued teaching about the
Eucharist

The Synagogue
The Synagogue
The Synagogue
The Upper Room
The Upper Room
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
The Word
Of God
The Holy
The Holy
Eucharist
Communion
The Synagogue
The Upper Room
The Holy
Communion
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Opening and
Penitential act
The Synagogue
The Upper Room
The Holy
Communion
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Collect of
the day
The Synagogue
The Upper Room
The Holy
Communion
Collect of
The day
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Old & New
Testament
Readings
Collect of
the day
The Synagogue
The Upper Room
The Holy
Communion
Old & New
Testament
readings
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
The
Gospel
The Synagogue
The Upper Room
The Holy
Communion
Collect of
the day
Old & New
Testament
Readings
The
Gospel
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Collect of
the day
Old & New
Testament
readings
The Sermon
The Synagogue
The Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
The Holy
Communion
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Collect of
the day
The
Nicene Creed
The Synagogue
Old & New
Testament
readings
The
Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
The Nicene
Creed
The Holy
Communion
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Prayers of
the people
The Synagogue
Collect of
the day
Old & New
Testament
readings
The
Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
The Nicene
Creed
The Holy
Communion
Prayers of
the people
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
The
Peace
The Synagogue
Collect of
the day
Old & New
Testament
readings
The
Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
The Nicene
Creed
The Holy
Communion
The
Peace
Prayers of
the people
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Collect of
the day
Offertory
The Synagogue
Old & New
Testament
readings
The
Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
Offertory
The Nicene
Creed
The Holy
Communion
The
Peace
Prayers of
the people
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Collect of
he day
The Great
Thanksgiving
Old & New
Testament
readings
The Synagogue
The Great
Thanksgiving
The
Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
Offertory
The Nicene
Creed
The Holy
Communion
The
Peace
Prayers of
the people
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Prayer of
Consecration
Collect of
the day
Prayer of
Consecration
The Great
Thanksgiving
Old & New
Testament
readings
The Synagogue
The
Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
Offertory
The Nicene
Creed
The Holy
Communion
The
Peace
Prayers of
the people
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Breaking
Of Bread
Prayer of
Consecration
Breaking
Of Bread
The Great
Thanksgiving
The Synagogue
Collect of
the day
Old & New
Testament
readings
The
Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
Offertory
The Nicene
Creed
The Holy
Communion
The
Peace
Prayers of
the people
The Holy
Eucharist
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Communion
Collect of
the day
Breaking
Of Bread
Old & New
Testament
readings
Communion
Prayer of
Consecration
The Great
Thanksgiving
The Synagogue
The
Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
Offertory
The Nicene
Creed
The Holy
Communion
The
Peace
Prayers of
the people
The Holy
Eucharist
Blessing
Dismissal
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Communion
Collect of
the day
Breaking
Of Bread
Blessing &
Dismissal
Prayer of
Consecration
The Great
Thanksgiving
Old & New
Testament
readings
The Synagogue
The
Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
Offertory
The Nicene
Creed
The Holy
Communion
The
Peace
Prayers of
the people
The Holy
Eucharist
Blessing
Dismissal
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Communion
Collect of
the day
Breaking
Of Bread
Prayer of
Consecration
The Great
Thanksgiving
Old & New
Testament
readings
The Synagogue
The
Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
Offertory
The Nicene
Creed
The Holy
Communion
The
Peace
Prayers of
the people
The Holy
Eucharist
Blessing
Dismissal
The Word
Of God
Opening &
Penitential act
Communion
Collect of
the day
Breaking
Of Bread
Prayer of
Consecration
The Great
Thanksgiving
Old & New
Testament
readings
The Synagogue
The
Gospel
The Upper Room
The Sermon
Offertory
The Nicene
Creed
The Holy
Communion
The
Peace
Prayers of
the people
Children’s voices
 ‘Why
does the
vicar say we
are one body
because we
share one
bread, when I
don’t get any?’
Children’s voices
‘There are
lots of things
I don’t
understand
yet. But my
family still
feed me.’
Children’s voices
Why do you
think Jesus
wants us to
share bread
and wine?’
 ‘So that he can
be really near
us.’

Children’s voices
 ‘I
like carrying
the bread or
wine up to the
front. It’s like
you’re helping
Jesus get
things ready for
the supper.’
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