When should my child start taking Holy Communion?

By Pastor Randy Brandt

When should my child start taking Holy Communion?
The simple answer is, “When they are ready.” 

For some of us adults, our age of first communion was eighth grade. For others with a Roman Catholic background it was first grade. There are some Christian churches that give communion to infants when they are baptized!

For a number of years our congregation has offered parent-child learning opportunities and a public celebration of first communion of children from preschool to fifth grade ages. This follows a Biblical example in the book of Acts when it appears that whole families (adults and children of all ages) would be baptized and then participate in the Lord’s Supper.

At SOTV we literally say, “All are welcome to the Lord’s Table” to experience the living presence of Jesus in the bread and the wine. And we allow families to decide together when the right time for each child might be.

Parents might watch to see if their children are seeking to join their family members in receiving the sacrament and discuss this together. Some families keep a tradition of having first communion in the fifth grade. And we have had some families where all the kids will go through the class together and first communion becomes a family celebration for everyone.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, of which we are part, recognizes that each child develops uniquely and each is ready to participate in the Lord’s Supper at differing ages, from Pre-K to middle school. Holy Communion is a gift of God’s love which grows deeper in significance for us through the years.

The one night First Communion Class of about 75 minutes is a shared parent-child experience to support readiness for the sacrament of the Table. There is discussion time, a role-playing skit, tasting of the bread and wine, and prayer, along with the answering of children’s questions.

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