Here is a summary of what the ELCA says about congregations and their members’ first Communion.
First communion can and does happen at many different ages throughout congregations of the ELCA. The Use of the Means of Grace: A Statement on the Practice of Word and Sacrament says, “There is no command from our Lord regarding the age at which people should be…first communed.” As a result, the age at which baptized members of our congregations receive their first communion reflects a variety of practices and understandings.
The grace and forgiveness we receive at the Lord’s Table is a free gift. We do not come to this table because we are worthy to receive this gift or because we have earned it or because we completely understand it. We come because God invites us and we trust in God’s invitation to us.
There is no prerequisite for receiving communion. Therefore GSLC is opening up our communion class to all ages. We want parents to determine their child’s readiness. Some children begin receiving communion before taking the class and then take the class when their parents determine that they are ready for further instruction. Some parents choose to have their children wait to receive communion until after they have taken the class. Each child is different and each child will pick up on the significance of the meal at a different point. One important cue for readiness is when your child shows signs of feeling excluded. Ask some of the following questions to help you understand your child’s sense of belonging in the faith community, so you can make a decision about readiness:
- Is your child asking questions or seem curious about Holy Communion?
- Is your child comfortable in various locations around the church, including the front of the sanctuary?
- Is your child comfortable receiving a blessing from the Pastors?
- Will your child extend his/her hands if asked to do so?
- Are you as a parent ready to engage in discussion about Holy Communion with your child?
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Pastor Courtney. Thank you for allowing us to walk with you
and your children on this important part of the faith journey.