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Holy Communion

Posted by Lucy Moore on 05 Jan 2009

Reading and reflecting on an American book Come Unto Me - Rethinking the sacraments for children by Elizabeth Frances Caldwell (The Pilgrim Press 1996). Lots of useful and challenging stuff in it about the importance of faith at home and a partnership between the whole church and the household from which a child comes, both around baptism and around communion.

As Messy Churches start including the sacrament of communion, it's worth bouncing what we do off the challenges in pages 57-8:

'Children and youth are not welcome at the table when

  • The old, old story we love to tell, the good news of Jesus Christ, is not lived out in the invitation we offer at the table, where Jesus is the host;
  • A ticket for admission (confirmation) is required in order to share in the meal;
  • Participation is based on a supposed mastery of the correct amount and type of knowledge;
  • They are asked to leave before the meal is served;
  • They are not regular participants in worship and thus do not know the rituals, expectations, and norms of their worshipping community;
  • The liturgy consistently uses language beyond their comprehension and experience;
  • They are never included in the preparation or serving of the meal;
  • They are not taught the parts of the liturgy appropriate to their level of understanding and participation;
  • The practices, responses and meanings of the sacrament are never openly discussed or explained to them, either at home or at church;
  • We don't take seriously the simplicity and complexity of their faith and their faith questions.'