There are strong theological and pastoral reasons to admit baptized members of the church family, and in particular children, to Holy Communion.
Theologically this affirms that baptism is a full and complete initiation into the body of Christ and into membership of the church. It also symbolises the fact that the sacrament of communion is given by God through grace.
Holy Communion does not replace Confirmation, but is an acknowledgement that participation in our weekly Eucharist is an important part of our community, and one which we welcome children to participate in. We offer classes for children in years 3 and 4 who regularly attend St Mary’s Church and who would like to receive Holy Communion. These sessions will help children understand what is happening during Holy Communion, and will be an introduction to full Confirmation classes which are offered when they reach High School.
Policy on Children wishing to be admitted to Holy Communion
Children wishing to be admitted to Holy Communion in the Benefice of St Mary with All Souls, Kilburn and St James’ West Hampstead need to meet the following criteria. Children:
1. Will have attended church regularly over the past twelve months.
2. Will be baptized members of the Church or are willing to be baptized prior to admission.
3. Attend church on all Sundays during the preparation course (six consecutive Sundays in all).
4. Participate in service of blessing at the commencement of the course.
5. Participate in the service of admission at the end of end preparation.
6. Attend all 5 preparation sessions.
7. Have an intention to be presented for Confirmation at a later date.
Confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey at which the participation in the life of God’s people inaugurated at baptism is confirmed by the Bishop by the laying on of hands, and in which those who have been baptized affirm for themselves the faith into which they have been baptized and their intention to live a life of responsible and committed discipleship. Through prayer and the laying on of hands by the confirming Bishop, the Church also asks God to give them power through the Holy Spirit to enable them to live in this way.
Children seeking Confirmation
As a Benefice we are now admitting children to Holy Communion in Year 3. As a result of this decision Confirmation classes will now only be offered to young people who are 12 years and older on a yearly basis.
We traditionally hold our service of Confirmation, subject to the availability of the Bishop in Advent each year. Young people seeking Confirmation should regularly attend Church, and will need to complete 10 weeks of Confirmation classes in the lead up to their Confirmation. At the service of Confirmation it is a good idea for them to have their Godparents present, as they have supported their journey in faith from Baptism to Confirmation, and other significant members of your family.
Adults seeking Confirmation
It is quite common for adults to also seek to be confirmed in the Church of England. We traditionally hold our service of Confirmation, subject to the availability of the Bishop in Advent each year. Adults seeking Confirmation will need to attend a discipleship course which is held each year in the lead up to the Confirmation.
We hope that you find these notes helpful. If you have any questions or would like to pursue the possibility of admission further then please get in touch.