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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Now what?

Should my teens receive communion?

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?

Pass the faithA: 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.


Comments

Joan

Joan

Posted at 8:58 pm (U.S. Eastern) 12/29/2009

This was an issue in my former congregation, young children recieving communion was not acceptable to many of the members who are "old school".  I left the congregation due to a move to another state, but I know of many who found a church that stand by the "old school" teachings.  Thanks for this article, I am going to share it with others.   JD

Gilbert C. Dehnkamp

Gilbert C. Dehnkamp

Posted at 12:47 pm (U.S. Eastern) 1/20/2010

As one who was confirmed in LCMS at age 13, and had to consult with pastor before communing for the next few years, I was delighted to be accepted in a more liberal Lutheran church for communion only on my own volition when I first visited there as a young man entering engineering school..  I believe now,at age 84, that any baptized person who has been taught the meaning of communion, whether by clergy, lay staff, or parents. should be openly invited to commune regularly.  Thankfully that opportunity now might be almost every service rather than the seven times per year I experienced as a youth.



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