Frequently asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions we have found parishes asking;

Will children understand what they are doing when taking Communion?
Children are certainly able to understand the origin and specialness of sharing the bread and wine. A deeper understanding of the mystery of the sacrament is a lifetime’s work for all and one that will never be fully complete however old we are. It is important that we do not view taking Holy Communion as a prize which we win by passing tests but as a free, gracious and unconditional gift from God.

Will they take it seriously? 
Children respond to the mood and atmosphere around them. The vast majority of children will take their lead from the way the adult members of the congregation behave as they receive the bread and wine. Receiving Communion is a very powerful moment, and the power is certainly not lost on children in fact they have an openness to spiritual matters which some adults may find it hard to recapture.

How will the vicar know who can receive? 
A record must be kept of all the children who have been admitted to Communion before Confirmation and clergy will have been involved in preparing the children for admission. Should a new family with children admitted to Holy Communion join a parish, the vicar of the sending church should write a letter of recommendation to the new parish. In our experience, children know if they have been through a Holy Communion preparation course and will be able to articulate this to the vicar. It is good practice for a vicar to outline the parish position on the admission to Holy Communion prior to the administration of the elements.

What happens if a family moves to a parish which doesn’t admit? 
When the admission of children to Communion before Confirmation was first introduced there were concerns surrounding a situation where a child who had been admitted in one parish moved to a parish that didn’t admit children. In practice, this has not proved to be a difficulty: the incumbent of the parish in which the child has been admitted simply provides a letter to their new incumbent requesting that they continue to receive Holy Communion. The principle, supported by the House of Bishops, is that no one who has been admitted to receiving the sacrament should ever subsequently be denied it.

What about children who are not baptised? 
Those who are not baptised may not be admitted to receive Holy Communion. If an unbaptised child wishes to be prepared for admission then they must be baptised before they are admitted. Their Baptism could form part of the preparation programme. However, it is important to consult fully with the family beforehand to make sure that they are willing for the Baptism to take place.

What if children do not want to be admitted to Holy Communion 
Consent is vital at all levels in admitting children to Communion. No one must feel that they are being forced into the practice. The parish as a whole must be supportive, and so must any family whose children are going to be involved. But most importantly, the individual children must make a free choice to be admitted.

What happens if not all agree to the change?

It is rare to have complete agreement on any development in the Church or any other large organisation for that matter. It is not necessary to have 100% agreement in the parish for admission to go ahead; however, there should be substantial support. The PCC will have discussed matter at length and sought the views of the wider church. Any decision taken will be based on these extensive discussions. Admission to Holy Communion does not disappear from the life of the parish should the vicar or families with children who have permission move elsewhere.

What about other parishes in this and other Diocese? 

In July 2012 there are about 15% of parishes in this Diocese that have a process for admitting Children to Holy Communion. The number of parishes is growing steadily.

There are about 20% of parishes across the whole of the Church of England who now admit children. Southwell and Nottingham Diocese have about 56% of parishes now admitting children.