2 Communion before confirmation Deal or no deal?Deal or no deal – decisions made on the opening of boxes and the information contained within them. The contestant has to decide when enough information has been obtained to ‘deal’. Cannot be compared with communion before confirmation, but information needs to be obtained in order to make an informed decision as to which way to go. So – Communion before Confirmation – Deal or no deal?
3 Biblical perspectives ?Biblical issues – Anglican Doctrine formed by the three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition and Reason.
4 Biblical perspectives Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.Mark 9.37Biblical issues – Anglican Doctrine formed by the three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition and Reason.Jesus’ attitude to children – inclusive, not exclusive.
5 Biblical perspectives If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.Mark 9.42Warnings of placing stumbling blocks in the way of a child’s faith development and discipleship.
6 Biblical perspectives Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. …whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.Mark 10.14,15Encouragement to include children and to learn from them
7 Biblical perspectives New TestamentBaptism is the sole entry rite into the church.No explicit teaching on children and communion.Jewish tradition – Passover.Cannot make a definite pronouncement based on NT teaching though can draw some conclusions – baptism is the sole entry rite. No other rite was needed to become a Christian.The place of children in Jewish culture, and at Passover, may well have helped inform early church practice as to the inclusion of children at the family meal.
8 Biblical perspectives Do this in remembrance of meLuke 22.19Day by day they broke bread at home…and ate with glad and generous heartsActs 2.46For I received from the Lord…you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes1 CorinthiansNeither Jesus in his institution nor Paul in his recollection of the institution, used understanding or spiritual well-being as a pre-requisite for receiving communion.
9 Biblical perspectives Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup in an unworthy manner…..1 Corinthians 11.27Paul’s rebuke is to the adult community in Corinth who treated the Eucharistic celebration as a private indulgence and in doing so forgot those who were less well-off and pf whom the Gospel speaks so eloquently.
11 History3rd CenturyCyprian describes infants receiving bread and wine from birth.Anointing and laying on of hands added to baptism. Children shared in all of this – including communion
12 History 4th & 5th Centuries Augustine of Hippo and original sin – John 6.53Growing size of DiocesesBaptisms performed by local priestsLaying on of hands delayed until the bishop’s visitAdmission to communion associated with baptismJohn 6.53 – unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Therefore to deny children baptism by reason of age or lack of understanding was to deny them Christ himself in the form of bread and wine, which in turn denies them a place in heavenly peace.Bishop had always been central to Christian initiation – president of the unified rite of baptism, confirmation & Eucharist.Greater distances & greater numbers to be baptised so water rite & signing of the cross delegated to presbyters & laying on of hand reserved for the less frequent visits of the Bishop. Admission to communion STILL associated with baptism.
13 History Eastern practice Western practice Priest performed full baptismal rite, including infant Communion (oils blessed by Bishop)Western practiceBaptism was performed locally but anointing and imposition of hands was delayed until a visit from the BishopIn Orthodox churches infant communion is the norm but both children & adults communicate infrequently.
14 Baptism – Communion - Confirmation HistoryThe Middle AgesBaptism – Communion - ConfirmationGrowing theology of the ‘real presence’Laity denied the wineChildren sometimes denied both bread and wineGrowing theology of the real presence led to greater care being taken of the consecrated elements and subsequently either by default or design the laity were often denied the wine and children were sometimes denied altogether
15 History 13th Century 1281 16th Century recommended age for Confirmation varied from 1 – 7 years1281regulation that those not confirmed should be barred from Holy Communion16th Centurycommunicating unconfirmed adults and children was finally abolished (Council of Trent)1281 – Archbishop Peckham at Council of Lambeth issued the regulation that those not confirmed (without good reason) should be barred from communion. An attempt to counter the ‘damnable negligence’ of parents who failed to present their children to the Bishop for the laying on of hands.Reformation – instruction & learning given high priority. Cranmer’s Prayer Book 1549 – ‘there shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion until such time as he can say the catechism and be confirmed’ i.e. learning of the Catechism as a prerequisitePrayer Book 1662 compromise – ‘And there shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion until such time as he be confirmed or ready and desirous to be confirmed.’ Thereafter adults or older young people were admitted to communion on the basis of baptism + some instruction from the priest. Bishops came to confirm at varying intervals.
16 History The Reformation Catholic View Protestant View Emphasis on what God does – imparting the Holy SpiritProtestant ViewEmphasis on a person’s response – individual response of faithAnother divergence in tradition was brought about by the Reformation. In the Catholic view, sacraments were conveyers of God’s grace. In the Protestant view, they were to be administered on evidence of a personal response of faith. Understanding became an element in both communion and confirmationReformation – instruction & learning given high priority. Cranmer’s Prayer Book 1549 – ‘there shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion until such time as he can say the catechism and be confirmed’ i.e. learning of the Catechism as a prerequisiteCranmer’s 1549 Prayer Book emphasised the Catechism as the pre-requisite to Communion‘there shall none be admitted to Holy Communion until such time as he can say the catechism and be confirmed’
17 1662 Prayer Book compromise HistoryThe ReformationCatholic ViewEmphasis on what God does – imparting the Holy SpiritProtestant ViewEmphasis on a person’s response – individual response of faithPrayer Book 1662 compromise – ‘And there shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion until such time as he be confirmed or ready and desirous to be confirmed.’ Thereafter adults or older young people were admitted to communion on the basis of baptism + some instruction from the priest. Bishops came to confirm at varying intervals..1662 Prayer Book compromise‘there shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion until such time as he be confirmed' or ready and desirous to be confirmed’
18 History19th CenturyThe rise of the railways! Bishops no longer had to rely on horse power to get aroundConfirmation became seen as the completion of baptism and therefore the gateway to CommunionBaptism followed by much later confirmation and communion became the familiar pattern.
20 Just last century…The growth of the Parish Eucharist Movement meant children were visible in church and present at the Communion service
21 Just last century… 1954 1971 1974 1985 Baptism and Confirmation Today Christian Initiation: Birth and Growth in the Christian Society (the Ely Report)1974Manchester, Peterborough & Southwark ‘experimental’1985Children and Communion (the Knaresborough Report)Baptism and Confirmation Today1967 – Ely Commission comes out of the National Evangelical Conference in Keel because ‘some would like the children of Christian families to be admitted as communicants at an early age’Christian Initiation: Birth and Growth in the Christian Society (the Ely Commission Report). Concluded hat baptism is the complete sacramental initiation rite therefore children should be admitted to communion. General Synod received the Ely Report1974 – General Synod referred Ely report to Dioceses for consultation. Manchester, Peterborough & Southwark given permission to admit children before confirmation on an experimental basis.1976 – Synod voted 60/40 majority against admitting children, but Manchester, Peterborough & Southwark continued.Children and Communion (the Knaresborough Report) - Recommends that regulations be drawn up to admit children to communion. Synod takes note. M, P & S asked to report back on their experiences.
22 Just last century… 1988 1991 1993 Children in the Way All God’s Children?1993Communion before Confirmation – Culham Institute1988 – Children in the Way - includes recommendation that the issue of communion before confirmation be required as a matter of urgency. It is passed to the House of Bishops1991 – All God’s Children? Questions whether Sunday is the best day to reach unchurched children. Reveals that only 15% of all under 13s have any form of contact with the church1993 – Communion before Confirmation. Culham institute commissioned to do a survey of Manchester, Peterborough & Southwark. A survey by Diocesan Children’s Advisers reveals that most Dioceses have parishes that admitting children informally.
23 Just last century…1994On the Way – Towards an integrated approach to Christian Initiation1996July – House of Bishops Guidelines, November – Guidelines accepted by General Synod1997House of Bishops’ Guidelines are published1994 – On the Way includes an option for the consideration of communion before confirmation1996 – HoB Guidelines prepared in July, accepted by Synod in November1997 – Guidelines published in March
25 Into the third millennium… 2005Synod received a report on the current state of play in EnglandMost Dioceses permit parishes to admit children to Communion before Confirmation2006 – June 15thThe Guidelines become Regulations under paragraph 1(c) of Canon B15A2009About 10% of parishes now admit children to communion before confirmationDiocesan Bishops decide whether to permit communion before confirmation in their Diocese. This can be revoked at any time. However, it should not prejudice any parishes which have already been given permission, or any children who have been admitted.Applications in writing must be made by incumbents accompanied by a resolution in support of the application passed by the PCC.Provision must be made for preparation and continuing nurture.Baptism is the pre-requisite and any person having parental responsibility must be content for the child to be admitted.Register of admissions must be maintained and baptismal certificates endorsed (or certificate of admission given)Holy Communion cannot be refused to a child who has been admitted even if she is in a parish that does not admit.
27 Baptismal theology A sign and seal of new birth Adding to those whom the Lord callsThe start of a life-long journey of faithCalling out of darknessImages found in the Common Worship baptism service
28 Baptismal theology Dying to sin and rising to new life Claimed by ChristCleansed from sinImages found in the Common Worship baptism service
29 Baptismal theology Received into the Church Touched with God’s love Welcomed into the fellowship of faithImages found in the Common Worship Baptism serviceImages found in the Common Worship baptism service
31 Eucharistic theology Sacrifice Forgiveness Trusting in your manifold and great merciesImages found in the Common Worship Holy Communion service
32 Eucharistic theology Covenant of grace We are not worthy Telling the story – hearing our part in itSending out into the worldImages found in the Common Worship Holy Communion serviceImages found in the Common Worship Holy Communion service
34 Theological issues The priority of grace Baptism as the complete sacramental initiation into ChristChildren as part of the covenant people of GodUnderstanding or faith?Gift or reward?What does the outworking of baptismal theology mean? Does it require prior discussion – is infant baptism ‘right’?Is there a special place for children of Christian families?Are sacraments dependent on understanding – raises questions of special needs, Alzheimer'sAre sacraments gifts from God which we administer or rewards for whom we decide the recipients?
36 Liturgical issuesCommunion before confirmation means children attending communionThe need to make sense of their place in the service as a wholeEucharistic prayers for use with children presentContinued teaching about the Eucharist
38 Pastoral issues Parental support Sunday group involvement Teaching on the meaning of communionRegular parochial opportunities for the renewal of baptismal vowsEngagement with local church schools
39 Pastoral issues Making room for differing views Developing an overall culture which enables children to be worshippersChildren who want to emulate their peersInter-parochial mobilityA minimum age?The place of confirmation