Presentation on theme: "Communion before confirmation Deal or no deal? Biblical perspectives ?"— Presentation transcript:
Communion before confirmation Deal or no deal?
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 9.37
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 9.42
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 10.14,15
Biblical perspectives New Testament Baptism is the sole entry rite into the church. No explicit teaching on children and communion. Jewish tradition – Passover.
Biblical perspectives Do this in remembrance of me – Luke Day by day they broke bread at home…and ate with glad and generous hearts – Acts 2.46 For I received from the Lord…you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes – 1 Corinthians
Biblical perspectives Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup in an unworthy manner….. – 1 Corinthians 11.27
3 rd Century Cyprian 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
History 4 th & 5 th Centuries – Augustine of Hippo and original sin – John 6.53 – Growing size of Dioceses – Baptisms performed by local priests – Laying on of hands delayed until the bishop’s visit – Admission to communion associated with baptism
History Eastern practice – Priest performed full baptismal rite, including infant Communion (oils blessed by Bishop) Western practice – Baptism was performed locally but anointing and imposition of hands was delayed until a visit from the Bishop
History The Middle Ages Baptism – Communion - Confirmation – Growing theology of the ‘real presence’ – Laity denied the wine – Children sometimes denied both bread and wine
History 13 th Century – recommended age for Confirmation varied from 1 – 7 years 1281 – regulation that those not confirmed should be barred from Holy Communion 16 th Century – communicating unconfirmed adults and children was finally abolished (Council of Trent)
History The Reformation Catholic View – Emphasis on what God does – imparting the Holy Spirit Protestant View – Emphasis on a person’s response – individual response of faith Cranmer’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’
History The Reformation Catholic View – Emphasis on what God does – imparting the Holy Spirit Protestant View – Emphasis on a person’s response – individual response of faith 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’
History 19 th Century – The rise of the railways! Bishops no longer had to rely on horse power to get around – Confirmation became seen as the completion of baptism and therefore the gateway to Communion
Just last century… ?
The growth of the Parish Eucharist Movement meant children were visible in church and present at the Communion service
Just last century… 1954 Baptism and Confirmation Today 1971 Christian Initiation: Birth and Growth in the Christian Society (the Ely Report) 1974 Manchester, Peterborough & Southwark ‘experimental’ 1985 Children and Communion (the Knaresborough Report)
Just last century… 1988 Children in the Way 1991 All God’s Children? 1993 Communion before Confirmation – Culham Institute
Just last century… 1994 On the Way – Towards an integrated approach to Christian Initiation 1996 July – House of Bishops Guidelines, November – Guidelines accepted by General Synod 1997 House of Bishops’ Guidelines are published
Into the third millennium… ?
2005 – Synod received a report on the current state of play in England – Most Dioceses permit parishes to admit children to Communion before Confirmation 2006 – June 15th – The Guidelines become Regulations under paragraph 1(c) of Canon B15A 2009 – About 10% of parishes now admit children to communion before confirmation
Baptismal theology ?
A sign and seal of new birth Adding to those whom the Lord calls The start of a life-long journey of faith Calling out of darkness
Baptismal theology Dying to sin and rising to new life Claimed by Christ Cleansed from sin
Baptismal theology Received into the Church Touched with God’s love Welcomed into the fellowship of faith Images found in the Common Worship Baptism service
Eucharistic theology ?
Sacrifice Forgiveness Trusting in your manifold and great mercies
Eucharistic theology Covenant of grace We are not worthy Telling the story – hearing our part in it Sending out into the world Images found in the Common Worship Holy Communion service
Theological issues ?
The priority of grace Baptism as the complete sacramental initiation into Christ Children as part of the covenant people of God Understanding or faith? Gift or reward?
Liturgical issues ?
Communion before confirmation means children attending communion The need to make sense of their place in the service as a whole Eucharistic prayers for use with children present Continued teaching about the Eucharist
Pastoral issues ?
Parental support Sunday group involvement Teaching on the meaning of communion Regular parochial opportunities for the renewal of baptismal vows Engagement with local church schools
Pastoral issues Making room for differing views Developing an overall culture which enables children to be worshippers Children who want to emulate their peers Inter-parochial mobility A minimum age? The place of confirmation
Children’s voices ?
‘Why does the vicar say we are one body because we share one bread, when I don’t get any?’
Children’s voices ‘There are lots of things I don’t understand yet. But my family still feed me.’
Children’s voices Why do you think Jesus wants us to share bread and wine?’ ‘So that he can be really near us.’
Children’s voices ‘I like carrying the bread or wine up to the front. It’s like you’re helping Jesus get things ready for the supper.’
Children’s voices ‘What do you think about when you have the bread and wine?’ ‘Being at the Last Supper with Jesus and His friends. It’s like being one of them.’
? Further reflection Help from the Diocesan Officers Consultation with the church – PCC – Parents – Children Consultation with local school
Communion before confirmation Deal or no deal? Mary Hawes, 2007