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Every week, we prepare Sunday School and Godly Play experiences that provide good, spiritual food for our children. However, the spiritual leadership of parents, day by day, in the home, will always make the difference as our children grow into the Faith. At Providence Presbyterian, we do not believe you should have to tackle the daily task of helping your children know Christ, alone. We are here to equip, encourage, and rejoice with you, as you and your family serve Christ in our place and time. We encourage parents to serve, and learn more about their faith, through teaching Sunday school, leading Godly Play, or helping with one of our larger, annual events, like Vacation Bible Camp. But our primary goal is – always – to help you and your family grow into Christ from where you are.
Talking with your child about Communion
Words associated with Communion:
Sacrament—In the Presbyterian Church, there are two sacraments that we celebrate—Baptism and Communion. A Sacrament is “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual blessing.”
Lord’s Supper—This is another term that means communion. It comes from the last supper when Jesus first shared this special meal with his disciples.
Eucharist—Yet another term for communion that comes from a Greek word meaning “Thanksgiving”. Some traditions use this term for communion.
Elements—the bread and wine (or juice).
Chalice—the big cup on the communion table.
Bread and Juice—When we talk about the bread, we might also use the word body because we look at the bread as a symbol of Jesus’ body. When we talk about the cup we sometimes use the word wine (which is a different form of the liquid from grapes), or blood, because the juice is a symbol of Jesus’ blood. Sometimes we also use the word covenant because communion is a reminder of the promises that Jesus made.
Where to find the story of Jesus sharing the Lord’s Supper with his disciples in scripture:
- Matthew 26:17-30
- Mark 14:12-26
- Luke 22:7-20
- 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
What the Presbyterian Book of Order says about children and communion:
“Baptized children who are being nurtured and instructed in the significance of the invitation to the Table and the meaning of their response are invited to receive the Lord’s Supper, recognizing that their understanding of participation will vary according to their maturity.” (W-2.4011b)
FAQs about children and communion
Does my child need to do anything to take communion for the first time?
There is no specific rite for first communion. All baptized children are welcome to partake in communion.
Can a child really understand the meaning of communion? When will I know if he/she is ready?
We leave it to parents to make the decision as to whether a child is ready. We would offer the following guideline. If your child understands that this is a special time when we eat together in church to remember Jesus (and not a snack!), they most likely understand enough to begin a lifetime of exploring this wonderful, mysterious practice of our faith. In truth, how many of us fully comprehend this sacrament?
I did not grow up Presbyterian and in my church we were taught that the communion elements became the body and blood of Christ. Is this what Presbyterians believe?
As Presbyterians, we do not believe in “transubstantiation”. We believe that ordinary, everyday bread and juice are set aside for this sacrament, but they remain symbols. We do believe, however, that Christ’s spirit is present with us making communion more than a mere memorial.
The pastors and other members of the program staff are always available
for questions and conversations with families.
We invite you to share your gifts with the Children’s Ministry. For more information, please contact us.