Bishop Lee helps youngsters mark first communion

First published 25th April 2016

Children at St Christopher's in Brislington have celebrated their first communion with help from the Bishop of Swindon. Vicar Andy Schuman has been looking back on the event:

It was a special day on Sunday at St Christopher's when, with Bishop Lee our special guest, a number of our children were admitted to receiving communion for the first time.

We have been exploring communion before confirmation for a while, both as a PCC and church as whole, ably guided by the helpful process the Diocese has in place for parishes.

We looked at the theological basis for children receiving, rooted in their baptism; we explored the importance of communion practically to nurturing and sustaining faith of all ages; and we also wanted to free up confirmation from simply being seen as the doorway to communion, but rather a significant rite and event of its own where people, young and old, confirmed their baptism.

So much of the diet that children get these days can be of the nuggets and fries variety - and so, no wonder, they grow up wanting more of the same. We wanted, spiritually speaking, to be a lot more like countries like Italy, where they wouldn't dream of giving their children rubbish to eat, but rather they give them a smaller version of what the adults have. That way their palate and tastes can grow and mature into something good.

Do they have all the answers about whats going on in communion? No of course not. But then a) neither do we and b) it gives us encouragement to teach them more and more about this special meal at the heart of our faith.

It's a great joy to me now that our children can now take communion in this - and every - Church of England church (including your own church). Having seen this process now in three separate parishes, there are challenging difficult things to work through, but it's been both rewarding and inspiring. Id encourage you to think about it for your parish.

Andy Schuman, Vicar, St Christopher's

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