Children and the Lord's Supper: One Church's Journey

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In 2006 an overture was brought to the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church asking for a committee to study the issue of allowing baptized children to participate in the Lord’s Supper without making a profession of faith. In response to this, Synod 2007 appointed the Faith Formation Committee and gave them a five-year mandate to

To deepen the integration of biblical teaching; confessional norms; church polity; and liturgical, educational, and pastoral practices in the CRC with respect to (1) participation in the Lord’s Supper and (2) public profession of faith.

In 2011 the CRC Synod passed the Faith Formation Committee recommendation that:.

All baptized members are welcome to the Lord’s Supper for age-and ability-appropriate obedience to biblical commands about participation, under the supervision of the elders. The elders have responsibility to nurture grateful and obedient participation by providing encouragement, instruction, and accountability in the congregation. Requiring a formal public profession of faith prior to participation in the Lord’s Supper is one pastoral approach to consider, but is not required by Scripture or the confessions.

So how do the church’s elders provide “encouragement, instruction and accountability?” Harderwyk Ministries in Holland, MI recognized that some of their families are ready for their children to participate in communion while other families would like their children to wait and make a formal profession of faith before they take communion.

Beth Jewett, the Director of Children’s Ministries at Harderwyk, will be presenting a workshop at Association of Presbyterain Church Educator’s (APCE) Annual Conference in Grand Rapids to explore these questions, offers ideas for welcoming children to the Lord’s Table and tell the story of their congregation. Harderwyk wanted to provide parents with the language and understanding to talk to kids and teens about the Lord’s Table. Beth has worked at developing metaphors for parents and kids to better understand communion as well as concrete ideas for them to use at home. She has developed two pamphlets that their congregations use, one for everyone on the doctrinal issues of the Lord’s Supper and one for parents that addresses how a family can talk about the Lord’s Table.

Come to APCE and hear more. If you are unable to come to the APCE Conference, you can learn more by checking the Faith Formation Committees web site.

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For the sake of the staff I work with, I am going to beg: is there any way that the brochures you mentioned and/or any other materials might be made available online? :)

Our church has also recently made the decision to allow children at the Lord's Supper and just this morning we met to begin talking about how this will affect youth ministry and how we can best guide our youth in faith. We are hungry for resources and  help, and would be so grateful if any of this information can be shared.

Thank you!

Admin

This could be a perfect topic for a webinar (see the series we're putting together at www.crcna.org/webinars). Maybe we could see if Beth is willing to do her same presentation in a webinar format.

If there's some interest in that, we can check into it. Thoughts?

That would be terrific! I know our part time staff is not always able to attend these events at the original presentation time, but I know these are archived and we would appreciate being able to access the archived version.

Thanks!

Admin

Update for anyone reading/following this thread...the webinar has now been scheduled for April 25. Visit www.crcna.org/webinars to register or to view the recording afterwards. Spread the word!