This is the liturgy I wrote for admitting children to communion – a church recently asked for one, and that made me realise I’d never put it up on the blog! So here it is – I hope it’s helpful.
We do this right before the Eucharistic Prayer. Children come up at the offertory and stand in a line along the chancel. They stay there throughout the Eucharistic Prayer, so they can see, up close, the elements being prepared, and be a part of it. Then at the invitation to communion, they move down to the altar rail and are the first of the congregation to receive.
We usually gave them a small gift along with their certificate – sometimes it was a book about the communion service (Pray Sing Worship, from SPCK – currently out of stock, sadly), sometimes it was a good children’s Bible, sometimes a cross or icon or a carving or a piece of stained glass to hang. During the preparation classes, we practiced putting down things you were holding so you could use your hands to receive the bread.
My dear friends in Christ, today we come together in special joy as we see these children join us as regular sharers in the most holy, sacred, and wonderful mysteries of communion. A warm welcome therefore to you all, especially if you have come to see N, N, and N, as they reach this stage in their journey of faith.
The priest addresses the children:
In baptism, you were made members of Christ’s family. You come to us now as members of that family. Today you will share with us that meal which he commanded his friends to remember on the night before he died, and which he gives to us as a sign of his living presence among us.
N, N, and N. Jesus calls you by name, and invites you to his table. Do you wish to be admitted to Holy Communion, and share regularly in this sacred meal?
The children reply: I do
The priest addresses the congregation:
Will you welcome these children as communicant members of Christ’s family, and support them with your friendship and prayers?
All: With the help of God, we will.
The priest addresses the parents and carers:
Will you help these children to grow in faith and come to confirmation?
Parents and carers: With the help of God, we will.
The priest prays for the children:
Lord Jesus Christ, you said that we should all become as little children.
We pray today for these children as they receive bread and wine for the first time in your name. Give them such a sense of the mystery of your body and blood that they may know your presence in their hearts and day by day grow to be more like you. Amen.
The priest gives each child their certificate of admission to Holy Communion, addressing them by name:
In the name of God, I welcome you, N., to the sacrament of Holy Communion.
May God bless you as you continue with us on your journey of faith.
The children remain on the chancel for the Eucharistic prayer.