All Age Family Holy Communion

Holy Communion (also known as the Lord's Supper and Eucharist) along with Baptism, is a rite that was established by Jesus to ensure that his disciples never forget their continuing dependence on his atoning death, until he returns to earth on the Day of Judgement. How often Christian believers should celebrate the Lord's supper and at what age children should be allowed to participate in the Lord's supper are matters of debate in which, like baptism, we want to allow Christians to exercise freedom.

When the Lord Jesus instituted Holy Communion, he effectively fulfilled the Jewish Passover which commemorated God's salvation from slavery through the Exodus from Egypt. Jewish children brought up under the old covenant were expected to participate in the Passover celebrations, and parents were expected to explain the reasons for the various decrees and rites to their children.

I can see no theological reason why children being brought up by believing parents to trust in Jesus should not be allowed to participate in the Lord's supper, especially if they have been baptised. I would suggest that Paul's warnings against participating in the Lord's supper in an unworthy manner in 1 Corinthians 11 do not prohibit children from participating in the Lord Supper, but some would disagree.

At our All Age Communion Services the meaning of communion will be explained and the bread and the wine will be brought to the congregation as they remain seated in the pews so that parents can serve their children if appropriate. We are giving advanced warning of this so that parents have the time to decide amongst themselves whether or not to allow their children take communion and to prepare their children in advance for what is going to happen.

Whether we think children should be allowed to eat the bread and drink the (non-alcoholic) wine or not, it is good for all of us whatever our age to meet together under God's word and be reminded about and express our utter dependence on Jesus' death.

Will Stileman