“As a mother, I understand if parents have reservations. Doug and I wrestled with this with our children. Would they possibly understand the significance of what they are doing when they receive the Eucharist? But really - how many of us fully understand the mystery of the bread and the wine? I know I don’t. We all can understand being loved and being welcomed. The real presence of Christ that is embodied in the Eucharist is felt in our very being. And children get it – we see this every week in the Atrium at their altar table. It's remarkable – they understand that what they are participating in is holy and special. You can see it in their eyes and in their demeanor – they see and feel the presence of Christ in a real and tangible way. They know what it is be a part of the Christian community that has baptized them into the faith and nurtures their growth and welcomes them to share in the celebration. What more could we want for them?” The Rev. Judy Davis

Children and Communion at St. Andrew’s

At St. Andrew’s and in the Episcopal Church, we welcome children to receive Communion from the time they are baptized. They, like us, participate in the risen life of Christ and are fully members of the Body of Christ.

This is different from what I was taught. What has changed?
Many of us grew up waiting to receive Communion until elementary school or even until after Confirmation in our teens, but over the last 30-40 years the Episcopal Church has been reclaiming an ancient practice of welcoming children who have been baptized at the Lord’s Table, regardless of whether or not they have been Confirmed. 

The General Convention of 1970 resolved that “children might be admitted to communion before confirmation.” In 1971, the House of Bishops stated, “Confirmation should not be regarded as a procedure of admission to the Holy Communion.” The current Children's Charter for the Episcopal Church states that, "the Church is called to include children, in fulfillment of the Baptismal Covenant, as members and full participants in the Eucharistic community and the church’s common life of prayer, witness and service."

How do I know if my child is ready for Communion?
As parents, you decide when you think it is right for your child to receive Communion, though you may be wondering how you will know if your child is ready. Has your child asked? Have you asked your child if he/she wants Communion? Does your child imitate your actions at the altar rail? Does your child watch what you do at the rail? Has your child put his/her hands out to receive? These are good signs that your child is ready.

How do children learn about Communion?

It is important for your child to learn about Communion, and they do this first and foremost from their participation in church. Throughout the service, they notice so much – seeing, experiencing, and recognizing the reverence and importance of this moment from you and from those around them. As they bring up the elements during the Offertory and as some of them imitate some of the actions at the Altar Rail, it is clear they have a growing understanding of the Eucharist’s importance. 

Your children will also learn about the Eucharist as they participate in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd where they learn about Eucharistic Presence, Liturgical Colors, and Gestures, Signs, and Symbols.

If your child has “aged-out” of Catechsis and you would like some special instruction for them, please let me know as we can arrange a special time for additional learning.

Most importantly, I want you to know that you and your children are cherished here, and we are grateful that you are part of our common life.