In the past, children did not receive communion until they were confirmed. However, in today’s Episcopal Church, Baptism is considered to be full and complete initiation into the Body of Christ. Therefore, once someone is baptized, they are eligible to receive Holy Communion. Just as a child is fed long before he understands nutrition, so a child is fed with the sacrament before understanding how it works.
Parents often wait until their children are old enough to eat the sacrament (and not play with it or throw it away) before allowing them to receive. Other parents (often longtime Episcopalians or former Roman Catholics) prefer to wait until their child is older. For them, as well as for children who have been receiving all along, St. Peter’s holds a “Solemn Celebration of the Eucharist,” an early communion program that is offered from time to time in conjunction with Level II CGS. Children who complete this program are recognized in a brief ceremony, and receive the sacrament as a group at the next Sunday Holy Eucharist.
For more information on the Solemn Celebration of the Eucharist, please speak to one of the catechists or to our Rector.