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Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Childrens Eucharistic Prayers

Before each set of General Synod sessions, I usually circulate information about the up-coming agenda amongst those of my contacts who may be interested. A Children’s Eucharistic Prayer was one item that attracted my attention, and I highlighted it in the forthcoming business.

In my accompanying paragraph, I wrote something like: “There will be a debate on the introduction of Children’s Eucharistic Prayers - Sydney Diocese, keep up”. This was supposed to be a slightly tongue-in-cheek jest, based on the fact that the Diocese of Sydney has been pushing for some time over the area of introducing Lay Presidency at the Eucharist, and here was the CofE thinking one stage more radical!

Lay presidency is about allowing the people of God, the laos, to lead - or preside - at the Eucharist.

Within the Anglican (and indeed Roman Catholic and Orthodox tradition) the presidency of the Eucharist or Holy Communion service is reserved to the orders of priests (and bishops). With these people, the church has recognised something of God at work in them, and they have been chosen and had a theological training, in part, to prepare them for this duty and service.

Even understanding that to be the case with CofE position, one team of church folks near me actually picked up the idea, of children not only being involved within existing liturgies, but to some extent, helping officiate at them. They were excited at the idea of children taking a lead within Eucharistic services; and were subsequently considerably disappointed that this was not really what the motion being debated was suggesting.

However, none of that prevented a robust and interesting debate on a possible Eucharistic prayer for use with children. A deaf member of Synod signed a speech asking for consideration of those sometimes excluded from liturgies; and another member asked for liturgies with fewer words and more images. In the end Synod asked the House of Bishops to commission not just one, but Eucharistic “prayers” for use with children.

These will now circulate around both the Liturgical Commission, and the House of Bishops, for a while, and then eventually return to Synod for formal authorization. I’m only sorry we have not had any before now…

Alastair GS101

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