OF COURSE THEY SHOULD!
You will notice that our congregation has children of all ages. We are blessed beyond measure to have them as part of our community.
Visitors also notice that, starting at a very young age, our children receive communion right along with everyone else.
Several principles inform our approach to children at communion:
- Receiving communion is an act we spend our entire lives learning to understand.
- Chronological age is neither a barrier nor an automatic gateway to this evolving understanding
- Children are full members of our faith community
- Children learn by experience
- The Episcopal Church teaches that baptism is complete initiation into Christian life
- In our experience, children often exhibit a profound understanding of receiving communion, and can be inspiring and helpful to adults
- Communion is included in some way in every year of our church school curriculum
Of course we recognize that parents have preferences in this area based on their own faith journey and their knowledge of their children. We respect those preferences and will follow your guidance at the communion rail.
Tracy Herzer, an Episcopal children’s educator, has given us the TOP TEN REASONS WHY CHILDREN SHOULD BE IN CHURCH:
10. Repeated exposure to the sights, sounds and symbols of Eucharist help form all Christians.
9. Children actually like sitting in those usually-empty front row seats so they can see and hear what’s going on.
8. It would be expensive to repaint all those signs to read “The Episcopal Church Only Welcomes Adults.”
7. Practice makes perfect – teaching young children to enjoy and participate in the service helps them become active and receptive worshiping adults.
6. There are no pop quizzes at the communion rail! We all experience the Eucharist as a mystery . . . you don’t have to be able to explain it in order to benefit from it.
5. Children have their own unique relationships with God. Being in church helps them learn how to pray, sing, worship, and otherwise strengthen that relationship.
4. If children aren’t in church, who are the candy-unwrapping, restless, coughing, whispering adults going to blame for the noise?
3. Sunday services make great family-togetherness time. Use the quiet space for extra hand-holding or snuggling time that may get lost during a busy week.
2. Children teach us what absolute joy looks like – and what better place to experience that than in church?
And the Number One reason why Children are Welcomed in our Church?
1. Without Children, The Circle of God’s family is not complete!