Thursday, March 21, 2013

Welcome to our table

I’ve been having a few conversations about children being invited to the communion table.  Most have been positive, in my view, as churches are taking seriously the call to “let the children come” and inviting children to participate in our holy sacrament. 

I heard of one church where the session decided not to proceed with their Kids Friendly self-review because they don’t believe children should be invited to receive communion.  Their minister contacted me to clarify if “children receiving communion” is a requirement for Kids Friendly churches.  

It’s NOT a requirement.  However when churches tell me children are not invited to participate in communion, I ask them to encourage their leaders to read others’ views on the topic (Kids Friendly has some very good articles on the subject if you’re interested), discuss what they read together and prayerfully consider their decision. 

Most Kids Friendly churches decide to invite children to the table and carefully plan how they will educate children about this sacrament and how their communion liturgy engages children.  One minister shared:  “Last Sunday I decided to ask children to help me prepare the table and assist elders in serving communion.  This was a first for our church and it was the most powerful communion service I’ve ever experienced.”

My research has revealed no theological reason for excluding children and the too often cited “they don’t understand” excuse is, I believe, unfounded.  My understanding is that communion is a meal of grace for which no one needs to qualify.  Fortunately in our denomination previously churches that included children in communion had to explain their reason for doing so, now it is the reverse. 

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