FAQ’s about Children and Communion

Northbrook United Methodist Church celebrates the sacrament of Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month during our all ages service at 10 a.m.. Children are a vital part of the worshiping community and welcome at Christ’s table. Our Director of Ministries with Children and Youth has a letter of encouragement for parents bringing their children to receive Communion on her blog that tells the story of what children experience when they join us at the table.

At NUMC, We share the bread and cup by dipping a piece of the loaf into the cup of grape juice (intinction is the fancy word for dipping). Below are two more frequently asked questions about children and communion:

May young children receive Communion?

Certainly. As The United Methodist Book of Worship puts it, “All who intend to lead a Christian life, together with their children, are invited to receive the bread and cup.” We remember that when some of Jesus’ disciples tried to keep children away from him he said: “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs” (Mark 10:14 NRSV).

But do children know what they are doing when they receive Communion?

Do they understand the full meaning of this holy sacrament? No, and neither do any of us. It is a wonderful mystery, and children can sense wonder and mystery. Children cannot understand the full significance of family meals, but we feed them at our family tables and at Christ’s family table. Young children experience being loved by being fed. They sense the difference between being included and excluded at a family meal. They have the faith of a child, appropriate to their stage of development, which Jesus recognized and honored. Indeed, he said to adults, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:15 NRSV).

The above questions are answered by the Rev. Hoyt L. Hickman, former director of worship resources for The United Methodist Church. Read more at: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/communion-questions-and-answers

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