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Unread 02-03-2016, 03:49 AM   #1
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Paedocommunion

Couple of questions:

Is anyone aware of any Protestant churches that practise it (I'm talking about communion of babies, pretty much newborns and onwards, not just young kids).

What's your thoughts on it? If you don't grant infant baptism it makes little sense, I presume.

It's the norm in the Eastern Orthodox churches. The Holy Mysteries are received from a spoon, which solves the problem of distributing the elements to children even before they can eat on their own, since we feed babies with spoons all the time and the swallowing reflex is a thing infants are born with.

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Unread 02-03-2016, 07:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ICXC_NIKA View Post
Couple of questions:

Is anyone aware of any Protestant churches that practise it (I'm talking about communion of babies, pretty much newborns and onwards, not just young kids).

What's your thoughts on it? If you don't grant infant baptism it makes little sense, I presume.

It's the norm in the Eastern Orthodox churches. The Holy Mysteries are received from a spoon, which solves the problem of distributing the elements to children even before they can eat on their own, since we feed babies with spoons all the time and the swallowing reflex is a thing infants are born with.
I know very little about differing practices. Most of the denominations I am familiar with don't practice it. Communion is typically reserved for baptized believers.

I was raised in a group with a fairly narrow view of baptism and communion and while I understand the logic behind the belief, I am more open now than I was when I was younger.
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Unread 02-03-2016, 08:24 AM   #3
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So, I've been in Presbyterian circles for a while, and they baptize infants but do not let infants or small children partake in communion. They are members of the church in virtue of baptism, but "non-communicant members" in virtue of their (in)ability to "discern the body" -- a requirement for participation in the eucharist according to 1 Cor 11. The key passage is here, which would suggest children are not of the capacity yet to fulfill the requirements of Paul's command:

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.
28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.


Of course, self examination, discerning the body, and unworthy manner all need to be made explicit. I've heard lots of different ideas over what these things are. For example, unworthy manner -- time to remind yourself about all the sins you've done to make Jesus sad. For example, discerning the body -- without seeking reconciliation with your brethren, the body of Christ. For example, discerning the body -- without recognizing that it is Christ's body whom you receive; that is, partaking in his flesh with disbelief. ... The list goes on.

[edit]I personally think of communion as a somber act that gives way to joy, or a memorial that becomes a celebration, or a fellowship meeting that becomes an overflowing proclamation. I don't think it is primarily about performing a sort of mental self-flagellation.
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Unread 02-03-2016, 04:34 PM   #4
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I served the Supper a few times in the Episcopal Church, and the youngest child who partook when I was there couldn't have been younger than 18 months. But, incidentally, this was one of the many things that led me to leave the Episcopal Church.
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Unread 02-03-2016, 08:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ICXC_NIKA View Post
Couple of questions:

Is anyone aware of any Protestant churches that practise it (I'm talking about communion of babies, pretty much newborns and onwards, not just young kids).

What's your thoughts on it? If you don't grant infant baptism it makes little sense, I presume.

It's the norm in the Eastern Orthodox churches. The Holy Mysteries are received from a spoon, which solves the problem of distributing the elements to children even before they can eat on their own, since we feed babies with spoons all the time and the swallowing reflex is a thing infants are born with.
Our children are welcomed to the Lord's table around the same time they start eating at the table at home. The family meets with a pastor and the pastor asks the child some simple questions. "Do you know what this is?" [Bread, wine.] "Who is Jesus?" "What do you pray for?" Etc. Of course different kids have different abilities with language and that gets taken into account. Then they get to go up in front of the church for vows, usually as part of a group (and always with family), and that day they have their first communion. Much closer to the Eastern practice than the Western pairing of Confirmation with First Communion, but no spoon feeding and there are some questions.

At the Orthodox Liturgies I've been in, near the end the priest comes out with the basket and the kids run up and kiss his hands and everything. Similar age bracket I think. My son is nearly four and will probably be welcomed to the table once he's able to sit through the whole service. (Unfortunately there is one long block of sitting in the middle of the service with prayers, announcements, prayers, a Scripture lesson, the sermon, and more prayers. He can only make it through all that half the time, because he can't understand what's going on at that point.)
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Unread 02-14-2016, 11:54 PM   #6
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Our congregation doesn't practice paedocommunion, but we do have children who take part in the Lord's Supper.
However they do need to make a credible profession of faith and show they understand the gospel int heir own words, not just parrot them back.

It is also up to the parents--they would contact the elders who meet with the parents & the child & decision is made on the basis of the credibility of the child's profession.

But if they have't made one, they wouldn't take part.

this is made clear to everybody that a credible profession is required for anybody of any age.
But we give visitors and new comers the benefit of the doubt with a clear warning--based on Scripture--primarily from Paul's letters.
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Unread 02-15-2016, 12:05 AM   #7
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On pages 11 & 12 of this paper I found on another congregation's website the author deals with children taking communion.
(Other parts of it deal with view & meaning of communion and frequency)
It is told from the perspective of a PCA minister
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Unread 02-15-2016, 09:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zedman View Post
On pages 11 & 12 of this paper I found on another congregation's website the author deals with children taking communion.
(Other parts of it deal with view & meaning of communion and frequency)
It is told from the perspective of a PCA minister
I really liked this quote (though I might quibble with what they think 'discern the body of Christ' means)

Quote:
Our churches today divide the body of Christ along arbitrarily defined maturity/age
lines. Do we wrongly discern the body of Christ?
All of this presumes, of course, that baptism doesn't actually do anything to the soul, and that therefore those who can't yet speak for themselves to make a profession of faith can't receive the Eucharist because they don't - indeed, can't - have faith, because faith requires the ability to verbalize that faith. The historic Church has maintained differently, of course.

It is on this basis that She communes all the baptized - even un-weaned infants and those too disabled to speak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke 18:15-17
Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Glory to God for all things.
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I believe, O Lord, and I confess, that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief...
~ Ryan Isaac

Lo! How a rose e'er blooming from tender stem hath sprung,
Of Jesse's lineage coming, as seers of old hath sung,
It came a flower bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half-spent was the night.

Isaiah t'was foretold it, the rose I have in mind,
With Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind,
To show God's love aright, she bore to us a Saviour,
When half-spent was the night.

O flower whose fragrance tender with gladness fills the air,
Dispel with glorious speldour the darkness everywhere,
True man, yet very God! From sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

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Unread 02-15-2016, 04:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ICXC_NIKA View Post
All of this presumes, of course, that baptism doesn't actually do anything to the soul, and that therefore those who can't yet speak for themselves to make a profession of faith can't receive the Eucharist because they don't - indeed, can't - have faith, because faith requires the ability to verbalize that faith. The historic Church has maintained differently, of course.
You may be misreading that somewhat-perhaps due to it being in a Presbyterian perspective. (Which I would also bring to it)
This is never meant to imply that the ability to speak is a requirement to faith--far from it.
This is something for which the elders need to rely on prayer and godly wisdom to determine if a person is actually making a profession--for example that is why in my previous post I mention making sure someone isn't just parroting back what they've heard, but can put it in their own words--this would apply to non verbal communication if that is what the person is capable of.

While non verbal has never come up in my congregation I have heard of it in others.

And there is a difference in our views of baptism that would certainly affect how this is handled.
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Unread 02-29-2016, 11:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ICXC_NIKA View Post
Couple of questions:

Is anyone aware of any Protestant churches that practise it (I'm talking about communion of babies, pretty much newborns and onwards, not just young kids).
There are a handful of Presbyterian and CREC churches that practice it, though since they're not receiving the bread from the chalice it's a little different. The last time I saw it was about 12 years ago, and a mother/father would receive the bread from a communal plate and give a small piece to the child.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrysostom
At the Orthodox Liturgies I've been in, near the end the priest comes out with the basket and the kids run up and kiss his hands and everything. Similar age bracket I think.
Just to note that within Orthodox praxis, what you're describing is probably not communion bread, but antidoron. It's bread that has been blessed but not consecrated (it's actually the remains of the bread that was cut from the loaf for consecration), and is often distributed to those who don't receive the Eucharist or to those in attendance after the service as a kind of sign of peace.
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Unread 03-11-2016, 09:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProdigalModern View Post
There are a handful of Presbyterian and CREC churches that practice it, though since they're not receiving the bread from the chalice it's a little different. The last time I saw it was about 12 years ago, and a mother/father would receive the bread from a communal plate and give a small piece to the child.



Just to note that within Orthodox praxis, what you're describing is probably not communion bread, but antidoron. It's bread that has been blessed but not consecrated (it's actually the remains of the bread that was cut from the loaf for consecration), and is often distributed to those who don't receive the Eucharist or to those in attendance after the service as a kind of sign of peace.
Interesting, thanks V.
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Unread 03-11-2016, 10:48 AM   #12
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In my parish, it's customary for multiple people to bring anyone who looks like a visitor piece(s) of the antidoron.

Visitors in my church can end up with a lot of bread.
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I believe, O Lord, and I confess, that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief...
~ Ryan Isaac

Lo! How a rose e'er blooming from tender stem hath sprung,
Of Jesse's lineage coming, as seers of old hath sung,
It came a flower bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half-spent was the night.

Isaiah t'was foretold it, the rose I have in mind,
With Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind,
To show God's love aright, she bore to us a Saviour,
When half-spent was the night.

O flower whose fragrance tender with gladness fills the air,
Dispel with glorious speldour the darkness everywhere,
True man, yet very God! From sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

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Unread 03-28-2016, 02:35 PM   #13
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Our church (Reformed) starting bringing kids 3 and older back into the service for communion last year.

Not sure theologically, but logistically it detracts a lot from the somber focus as a parent trying to control a squirmy preschooler. I withhold judgment for now but do find that the downside has outweighed the upside so far.
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