Sunday, May 18, 2008

Early Communion

Pastor Petersen at Cyberstones has posted about their process at Redeemer Fort Wayne for communing children prior to Confirmation. It is well worth the read.


Thursday's Child said...

My church back home (ELCA-though LCA when I went through it) does First Communion during 4th grade. We had 3-4 session with the pastor where we focused only on Communion. The regular confirmation process began in 8th grade. I personally prefer this for my children. By 4th grade they can usually have a decent understanding of the basics of communion, so why should it be withheld from them?

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

I do believe that is better. Growing up in a Lutheran school, I really had known all that was should reasonably required by fourth grade. I desired communion, but knew that it wasn't even possible. I found myself very angry through confirmation because this was two more years learning after school what I already knew. There really was nothing that I learned in confirmation that I hadn't already learned. I was simply jumping through an arbitrary hoop based on age and going through a class, than based on what I really knew.

And the pastor and my parents treated it like jumping through a hoop. The pastor confirmed me, even though in reality I had told him several times that I really didn't think I believed this, because he knew my parents would keep sending me. I eventually took my confirmation vow because my parents, who never went to church, looked on my getting confirmed as performing their final religious parental duty.

While some could say "that is awful" that is often the case. Many families do not require their kids to go to church once they finish confirmation. It is hard enough to get those families to take their kids to church when they are in it. Throw on top of that the problems associated with divorce, custody arrangements, sports, extracurricular activities, etc. Most kids make their vows to abide in the faith for the rest of their lives, "with the help of God" and then barely ever grace the doors of church least until they start the cycle again with their own kids.

At our congregation, we've put a renewed emphasis on Luther's Words "as the head of the household should teach his family." This in itself comes from the Shema..Deuteronomy 6. The pastor is not the primary catechist. The primary role falls to the parents.

The early Reformation tradition is that when a child is ready, the parents bring the child to the pastor who examines the child in their knowledge, and then the child is invited to the table. This can be at six, this can be at sixteen.

Then confirmation classes start also when they are ready. Most parents start their kids at 7th grade, because that is the "traditional age" but we have had kids who have been ready to start at 5th and at 9th.

Thursday's Child said...

I want to go to your church! But even when we're in the States we're nowhere near you. Any chance of you hubby accepting a call in Springfield, MO? LOL

If we were home the Boss would have started receiving communion last year. But the church we're in here waits until after they're confirmed and he's not old enough yet. He's not too happy.

BTW, I read you comments to Sunday's post. I was confused at first then I reread what I'd types. Oops! I was a bit on clear on WHO said we were closed-minded. I made a quick change to the post (had to run off right afterward but didn't want to wait to do it) and commented back to you.

Thank you!

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

LOL. Who knows? So far, nothing in my life has happened how it has planned, so I am learning to lie back and wait to see what God does next. :)

I saw your comment, and I was SOOO happy. It didn't sound like you at all!