|“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” ---Luke 18:16b NRSV
Next Communion Preparation class for Children: Saturday, March 22, 2014, 9:30 - 12 noon
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God’s grace is for everyone, without exception. God’s love is “for you,” for all of us, in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. There is no predetermined age when children understand what it means to participate. When children ask to receive the bread, the Holy Spirit is already at work drawing them into the body of Christ. Children can teach us about how wide and inclusive God’s love can be. Since the church decided that confirmation was no longer an appropriate requirement, children have opened our eyes to younger and younger expressions of faith. Isaiah was right, “A little child shall lead you.”
People come to Holy Communion at Gloria Dei from very diverse backgrounds. Some children join our congregation having already received first communion. Some families choose for their children to commune quite young, while others wait until they are older. Gloria Dei encourages parents to consider preparing their child for communion as each individual child expresses interest. For many children, this will occur at a very young age, while others might not show interest until later. Parents decide when they feel their child is ready.
Parents sometimes ask how to know when their child is ready. We think our children will tell us when they’re ready through their interest and their questions. It is then our responsibility as adults to help begin their life-long task of understanding its meaning.
In order to help you and your child be ready for this important step in our faith journey, Gloria Dei pastors offer an engaging, interactive, and age-appropriate time of training for children and their parents several times a year. These dates are published at the beginning of every programmatic year. Certificates of completed Communion instruction are distributed at the close of the class and those children who attended are included in church prayers that Sunday. First communion occurs any time after instruction, on the Sunday that the family decides. On that day the child will simply take her/his place at the table as part of the body of Christ.
In addition to Children’s Communion Instruction, the Families of Faith class for 4th graders also focuses on Communion. In this family class, fourth graders are invited to dig deeper into understanding the sacrament and encouraged to ask new questions. This class is not communion preparation, but it allows children who have attended preparation classes at a younger age to think about Communion in new ways. Confirmation instruction also includes learning and discussions about the sacraments.
We rejoice to include the whole body of Christ at the table of our Lord.