Friday, February 15, 2008

Communion, etc

This was posted in response to a series of emails on HOB/D regarding, basically who "should" be allowed to receive communion and how it should be handled

My parish has the same message as Tobias Haller's: some form of "All baptized persons of any age or denomination may receive
Communion. If you are not baptized, or do not wish to receive, you are encouraged to come forward for a blessing. Indicate this by
folding your arms across your chest."
If it isn't printed in the bulletin, it is at least spoken on major feast days, weddings, etc.

I walked into an Episcopal Church for the first time when I was about 10. My (Jewish) mother had started attending services occasionally and since for a number of reasons we weren't attending a temple at the time, I decided to see what mom was doing.
Mom told me that when everyone went up for communion to put my arms across my chest and that we would get a special prayer because we were Jewish. For a while that satisfied me. I didn't feel left out, but I also wasn't taking something that wasn't mine to have.
My mother was eventually baptized and it was in some part a desire for the Eucharist that lead her to that decision, and me as well.
The time of preparation before I was baptized helped me to better understand (as much as a preteen can) what the Eucharist was supposed to be.
Not being able to receive before I was baptized made me desire further to become initiated into this group.
To have been able to receive having just walked in would have taken away a lot of the mystery, beauty, and significance of this statement as well as the sacrament of baptism.
I guess to me my baptism was something big. Every year on the day of my baptism "anniversary" I quietly thank God. It was something special and it was a decision that God and I made. When I made the leap to be baptized and embrace Christ, I was then able to receive communion.

I think COMMUNICATING with parishioners and visitors, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN is important.
YES. XXXXX, you should have told her Sunday School teachers. We have had a lot of tweens come in unbaptized and none have felt left out.
I was let know that I wasn't being excluded, I was being differently included, and when (if) I became a member I would change my method of inclusion.

Turning people away, no, but although this might not be a theologically "correct" argument (I really have no idea), I believe that not being able to receive helped me make the leap to becoming a Christian and is an important part of the church.

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