Saturday, October 22, 2005

Post Script on Children and Communion

+M was asked his views on this, and was very clear that children should at least be welcomed from the time that they start school.He said that his own instinct was to include communicants from Baptism onwards, as the Orthodox do, and he longed for a Church in which children could no more remember their first Communion than their first slice of toast. However, he is constrained by the current House of Bishops guidelines which mention "a period of preparation" , implying that children must be receptive to being "prepared". Dealt with the "understanding" question very neatly, before it even arose, by saying that as adults the more we received the Sacrament, the more we realised that we didn't understand it, and the more we recognised our need of it.
Not much room for argument there, then!

His other great crusade vis a vis Communion is to replace those tiny perfect discs that speak of individualism and completeness with something obviously broken and shared. Are you beginning to understand why I value his ministry so highly?

9 comments:

Anne said...

Oh, oh, oh, but some of us love the little wafers - and with very good reason. As someone with Coeliac condition (i.e. needs a gluten-free diet) I can usually receive both elements when wafers are used (and it's wonderful that gf wafers are a different shape - I know that I've received the right one!) - I can't when "real bread" is used - like your daughter I too know very well the "No we don't" reaction to "We all share in the one bread". (And if crumbs have gone astray the wine goes out of bounds too - that can be really miserable.)

Anyway, thank you for all you've had to say about admitting children. It's an issue we're beginning to think about seriously. Adam will be 4 in February, and will start in Reception in September. (and Ruth will be 2 in April - we must make sure we see you at Greenbelt next year!)

peripateticpolarbear said...

Wow. I didn't realize that children were not allowed in the UK. When I was a child it was confirmed folks only, (since switched to at parent's decision any time after baptism), but the Epsicopalians got communion from kindergarden on. I was always jealous.

Caroline said...

Funny, you should mention the wafers, Kathryn - I hate them, for the very reason your bishop says. Of course in 'lower' churches a loaf of bread has been used for as long as I can remember (30+ years, oh sigh)

maggi said...

I reckon my darling son was "prepared" well enough. I prayed even to have him for a long time; I prayed for him for the 9 months before he was born; he was baptised at 5 weeks.
I know Bishops have their bits of paper, but I reckon if you can eat at all, and you want to meet God, you're in. Eat first. Understand later.

brother terry said...

We use little square wafers that look just like Chiklits and taste just like shoebox cardboard. (Don't ask how i know what that tastes like)

If Moses had to eat that no wonder he was so anxious to get out of Egypt!

peace,

ron said...

a few years back we got rid of the little wafers ( or styrofoam chips as my daughters used to call them.)
We got one of those portable programable bread makers and put it in the sanctuary, programmed it so the bread would be ready just as the service was to start. The church was filled with the fragrance of fresh bread. The scent seemed so symbolic of His presence, the fragrance became stronger as the bread was boken...as it was boken had we each recieved our piece we saw we were part of the whole...and made up the whole.

Lorna said...

Great discussion Kathryn :)

We make our own bread for the Eucharist services. It's easy to use gluten free flour actually.

My complaint in UMC is the grapejuice instead of wine. And in our church the miserable little plastic cups (*for hygiene*) which really for me spoils the symbolism of sharing the one cup.

(Lutheran churches here pour the wine from one chalice with a spout into individual silver cups - which is probably a good compromise)

There's so much of me that isn't traditional - but I would like ONE LOAF and ONE CUP !

dave paisley said...

A few of us were talking about communion mishaps the other day and our priest mentioned that one time, just after she'd communicated a guy with the host, she heard him say, rather loudly, "Hey, mine's broken!"

He had received a piece of the broken celebrant's host (there must be a fancy name for them, but I'm blanking). Thinking (and acting) fast, she exchanged it for a "regular" host, and no harm done. But wow - I just can't imagining harrassing a priest at the altar...

Kathryn said...

Just as well he encountered her and not me or my bishop...he would have got a lecture on the nature of a BROKEN body, which would have held up the distribution no end! I usually give the fragments from the priest's wafer to the first 3 communicants, who are often servers so don't turn a hair. And if I'm saying "The body of Christ, broken for you" it does seem more real and reasonable for them...