Children and CommunionChildren and Communion - Children receiving Communion before Confirmation
Children in school year 3+ are invited to join a course which would enable them to take Communion before being Confirmed.
If your child is baptised and aged 7 or older (Year 3+) and they are interested in receiving then please contact a member of the clergy after a service or via the church office on the "contact us" page.
Here is a lttle bit more about the background of this initative:
The following extract from a letter sent by our previous vicar Revd Simon Howard and issued to members of the congregation contains useful information about this initative:Children receiving Communion before Confirmation (CbC)
Receiving the bread and wine of Holy Communion is at the heart of much of our weekly worship at St Nicholas. It is the time we gather as a family of faith around the Lord’s Table to be nourished, inspired and comforted as we recall all that Christ has done for us and receive once more, in a way we struggle to put into words, the benefits of his sacrifice.
Down the centuries and across the world the church has had a variety of understandings of when the best age is for those who are baptised to receive communion. Since 1997 the Church of England has experimented with enabling children aged 7+ to receive the bread and wine. In 2006 General Synod enshrined the practise in Canon Law. Children receiving communion before they are confirmed (C.B.C.) has been promoted in the Oxford Diocese for several years. Shortly before he retired Revd. John Coombs and the PCC successfully applied to the Bishop of Reading for permission to implement this policy in the parish. The PCC and I are now keen to put this into practise.
Why the change?
There are at least two strands of thinking that have brought the church to this point.
First is the growth in understanding of how children’s faith develops. During the period of their Junior School years children are keen to have a sense of belonging. Receiving the bread and wine at the rail with their parents and all the other members of the church strengthens their connection to the church at this crucial stage. As they enter their teens young people enter the ’questioning stage’. It is here that faith and church is often ‘rejected’, for a time at least. When they re-engage with faith and church in later years, being able to receive communion makes it easier to become part of the worshipping community again. Confirmation is then preserved as an ‘adult’ profession of faith and a commitment to a mature readiness to serve.
The second strand is our understanding of the relationship of Baptism and Communion with God’s grace. Both are ‘sacraments of the gospel’ given to us by Jesus. Through baptism we take hold of all that Jesus has done for us and become part of his body the church. It is the beginning of our journey of faith. Communion gives us spiritual nourishment for that journey. It is the family meal of the disciples of Jesus which brings the reality of his death and resurrection into the present. It is a foretaste of his coming kingdom. Both are free gifts of God’s grace, gifts that we receive and explore throughout our life.
Recognising that children’s spirituality is real, though different to adult spirituality, the thinking goes like this. Having received Gods first gift of grace (baptism) once they are old enough to have some understanding of what is involved, they too should be free to receive his other gift of grace (Holy Communion). In this way they can more fully participate with all the baptised in the life of the Church. .
A service at which all those children who are aged 7+ and have attended the short course and also, are baptised who wish to begin to receive communion and whose parents desire that as well will be admitted to communion and have their names entered in the churches CbC register.
(Once they begin to receive communion at St Nicholas they will be able to receive communion at any Anglican church they go to.)
In order to prepare them for this significant step in their journey of faith they will need to attend a special CbC course during which the children can explore the meaning of communion and how it relates to the life of Jesus and the life of his church. Look out for more information about this in the newsletter and on the church website.
Any questions then please do get in contact with any other member of the Benefice ministry team. (Please use the "Contact Us" tab from the St. Nicholas homepage)
Yours in Christ
Revd. Simon Howard