Has your child asked about receiving Holy Communion? Has your child put his or her hands out to receive Communion? These are some of the good signs that your child is ready to learn about the Eucharist. This year’s class starts on Sunday, September 8, and runs for 12 weeks. All are welcome to join the class to learn more about Holy Communion.
First and foremost, children learn from attending church. Here they can see and be a part of the service and begin to understand the sacrament they are seeing. Additionally, from your actions and discussions with your child, he or she sees that Communion is important and that participating in Communion is something you do on a regular basis. Children recognize your reverence at the altar from your body language (kneeling, placing your hands one over the other). For them to imitate you and your actions indicates that they have some understanding of the Eucharist’s importance. This is evident in the youngest of our children, even before they have had any formal Christian education.
Finally, your child will learn about the Eucharist at his or her Christian Formation class each Sunday. These classes help our children understand the Eucharist and its meaning. Children grasp this meaning at different ages, and for this reason, the church does not dictate when a child takes his or her first Communion.
This year, Holy Communion class, an important step for children to learn about the Eucharist in depth, begins at St. Barnabas on Sunday, September 8. Tom Kirkpatrick, one of two teachers, has been involved in this class for close to 20 years. Tom explains, “It’s up to parents to decide when their children should receive communion.” Some parents allow their children to receive Communion at an early age and may explain to them about the Eucharist. Other parents want their children to participate in a group learning experience. That’s what Tom and Susan Crabill, who has been teaching on and off for more than 20 years, do. Susan also began the tradition of the Communion class banners.
A recent Communion class on 'graduation day.'
“We teach a curriculum provided by the Episcopal Church on Holy Communion,” Tom said. “By second grade, most youngsters can read and understand this content.” The class is helpful both to children who have never taken communion and also to those students who have been taking Communion for years but may not have known why.
During the class, for fun, a banner is constructed to which each child contributes. The banner is used on Sunday, November 24, when the class processes together and takes Holy Communion as a group. It hangs, along with all previously-made banners, in the sanctuary during the period of the Holy Communion class.
Be sure to talk with your child about the event. Ask a wonder question such as “I wonder if that is the same type of bread Jesus ate?” Try to pray with your child before and after the event. Let your child lead the prayer where possible and encourage your child to express his or her feelings in the prayer.
This is an event to celebrate in your child’s life. Try to make it a big deal in yours.
(Parts of this article were taken from the website: