Children and the Sacrament of Communion

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Children & Communion in the united methodist church

Below are excerpts from the United Methodist Church's website regarding children and communion. Learn more about the United Methodist Church and the tradition of sacraments.

In The United Methodist Church, children are welcome to receive communion. Our Book of Worship explains, "All who intend to lead a Christian life, together with their children, are invited to receive the bread and cup." "Because the table at which we gather belongs to the Lord, it should be open to all who respond to Christ's love, regardless of age or church membership."

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 young 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).

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