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Wednesday, 8 February 2006

Children at the Communion rail - (2) 8Feb2006

What is the admission rite to the Eucharist? The normative pattern in the CofE has been, and should remain (we were told) Baptism>Confirmation>Communion.

Are we simply copying our Roman Catholic friends by heading towards ‘First Communion’ at about the age of 7?

Or should we, as our Orthodox friends would do, admit children to communion right from the moment of their baptism onwards? (Once, wandering through a Greek Orthodox Church whilst waiting for a plane in Cyprus, I was seriously un-nerved to stumble across a baptism service that included giving the still-wet baby communion wine as part of the same liturgy. It came as a powerful and influential shock, to one bought up within a family where adult baptism after conversion and public testimony was the norm. It still - perhaps now more than before - colours my view…)

A vigorous debate ensued at Synod. We cannot turn the clock back, and start to refuse those already communicating. Many clearly would not want us to.

Some are sceptical, feeling we are rushing it, and caution a slow introduction. Yet others feel they started debating this issue when they were parents of young children; and at last now they are able to do something about it - just in time for the grandchildren.

Things Jesus didn’t say No. 37b:
Let the little children (that is those over the age of 7, thoroughly prepared, correctly initiated, properly penitent, and fully cogniscant - even if the adults around them aren’t; then, and only then, let the little children) come to me.

Alastair GS101

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