First Communion: What Does Your Church Practice?

Lutheran churches today have a variety of practices concerning when children can receive communion.  I’ve seen everything from toddlers (those who can stick food in their mouths) all the way to the 5th grade.  Some congregations don’t have a set age when someone can receive communion and leave it up to the parents to discern when their child can receive.

There are a variety of levels of celebration which accompany first communion. I’ve seen it not be noted at all, being mentioned in the bulletin, to making a really big deal of it.  It seems that that the ELCA also recognizes this in its document Principles for Worship. Principle 37 says, “Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the church to those who are baptized.”  Principle 38 says, “Common mission among the congregations of this church depends on mutual respect for varied practice in many areas of church life including the ages of first Communion.” So in these two principles we have a common belief that the person should be baptized (I recognize this is not the case for some churches) and also that we respect the traditions of individual churches.

My question to you is this: When does your church practice first communion and why?  What is your theological rational for doing this? What scripture and confessional documents do you use to support your view?  In short, why do you do what you do?

(I am starting a series on first communion mainly to work out what I think.  I am not interested in this series in having the communion without baptism conversation)

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2 Comments

Filed under Ministry Reflections

2 responses to “First Communion: What Does Your Church Practice?

  1. Kelsey Olson

    As a Catholic, first communion is generally taken at 6 or 7 years old. I, however did not receive first communion until I was in my 20’s. I was baptized as an infant, but after my parents divorced, only attended Sunday School at a nondenominational church. It wasn’t until graduate school at Santa Clara University that I took classes so I could go through first communion and confirmation.

  2. I’ve read the Bible and Jesus says ALL in my edition so I commune ALL people who ask. This started at about 6 months old with our youngest daughter and continues up to and includes some of our eldest members who lift out of the fog of dementia just long enough to say the Traditional Lord’s Prayer and take Holy Communion. If I ever find a Bible with an * after all in the Lord’s supper that directs me down to the bottom of the page to explain who all does not include, I’ll change my policy until then — I’m sticking with Jesus (always my best plan).

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