Faith Promises & First Communion
“Here is my son, with whom I am well pleased!”
In Baptism, parents, sponsors, and the church congregation make promises together as God lays claims on a new member of the family of faith. In these promises, the church declares that we will help support and promote a Christian life in the new member. Parents promise to nurture their child in the faith. Here at Saint Michael, we are joyous in these promises as we get to watch a child grow in his/her faith and understanding of God. More than just joyous, we wish to follow through with these promises made out of love in each new step of the faith life.
Faith Promises offers a learning session for families called “Growing in Worship” for Kindergarten through First Grade. This session is used to explore the worship time together, find out what the different elements of worship mean, and how we can be part of this community. The next learning sessions, “First Communion and Forgiveness”, are for first through fourth graders ready to start participating in the Communion Table. This is a two week session ending in a Seder Meal during Holy Week. The third learning sessions, “My Bible, My Story”, are a four week program for second graders and their parents who are ready to receive their first Bible. Together, we look through some of the stories that shape our faith.
First Communion Classes
First communion classes are typically held in February-March each year. Children begin receiving Communion on Maundy Thursday. Read the following information to see if you think your child is ready to begin taking the next first communion class. Contact the church office if you have questions.
Is my child ready to begin First Communion?
The FIRST COMMUNION LEARNING SESSIONS for CHILDREN & PARENTS is held during Lent each year. We celebrate First Communion during Maundy Thursday worship at 7:00 PM. Children may enter the process at any age but most parents will probably consider an age between 5 years old and 4th grade.
As a parent you may be asking “Is my child ready to begin First Communion instruction?” Or you might ask, “What are the indications, what are the signs that they are ready?” “What is required before a child begins receiving Holy Communion?”
In our policy statement regarding the process of First Communion, it states that the parent(s), in conversation with the pastor, shall determine when a child is ready. As a partner with the parents in the faith development of baptized children, Saint Michael Lutheran Church is committed to assisting you make that decision. Since there is no magic age for First Communion and children vary so much in their development, it is important to provide some guidelines, or what we call “soil conditions”, that need to be present in the child, in the home and in the relationship with the church in order to maximize the child’s experience of Holy Communion and increase their faith and understanding.
What do we mean by “soil conditions”?
In the promises by sponsors and parents at Holy Baptism, there is the desire that after baptism our children “grow in faith, love and obedience to the will of God.” The baptismal life is a life process of growth. We prepare the soil, make sure the nutrients are present, we plant a seed and then nourish the plant to maturity. The congregation and the parents are responsible for providing the good soil in which the child’s experience of communing and their understanding of the sacrament will be as healthy and flourishing as possible. The goal is to begin the child on a lifelong journey of growth in participation and appreciation of Christ’s gift of his Body and Blood.
What soil conditions shall we look for?
- The child has been baptized.
- The child has the ability to eat bread and drink wine.
- When a consistent pattern of worship attendance has given the child a base of experience of the Communion Service. When the child has observed the basic gestures and actions of worship and have learned to participate in ways appropriate to their age and development.
- The child has a basic trust and security in God.
- The child knows that he/she is loved by God and is a child of God because of Jesus.
- When the child is aware of the nature of an undeserved gift and is able to receive it thankfully and humbly.
- When the child is aware of others in community.
- The parent(s) of the child actively participate in worship and have a regular participation in and love for Holy Communion. The parents witness to their faith and belief, providing a model for their child.
- The child begins asking serious questions about the Lord’s Supper and expresses interest over a period of time.
- When the child is open to God’s presence in their life.
- When the child is able to respond to Christ in the meal with joy and thankfulness.
- When parents and sponsors actively encourage the child’s growth in faith and are willing to teach the child in the home.
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