Q: My family hasn't been to church in many years, but we're starting to come back. During worship, my two teenagers take communion. They've been baptized but never had an official first communion class. Are they breaking the rules?
A: Welcome back! There is no better way to celebrate your family's return to church than by sharing the bread and wine of communion within a community of faith.
Across the ELCA, there is no blanket rule about how old or how educated a child must be before receiving communion. Although communion classes are customary within many congregations, today some ELCA churches are increasingly allowing parents to decide when their children are ready to participate.
In fact, the ELCA permits baptized babies held in their parents' arms to receive communion. Talk with your pastor to find out about your congregation's practice and — most of all — engage your teens in discussions about the meaning of the eucharist. Ask the staff for help with communion instruction.
To learn more about ELCA perspectives on communion and children, visit the "Growing in Faith" section of the ELCA Web site.
© 2016 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers