Holy Communion is a Family sacrament. It depends not on Confirmation, but on Baptism.
Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as His children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
We are baptised into Christ, to share His life and to be renewed by the enlivening power of His presence. People who have been baptised should, therefore, be invited to participate in Holy Communion as soon as they are able to have some grasp of, and make some response to, its significance. The ever deepening significance of the sacrament, with its inclusion into Christ, and the family of Christ, then also becomes a strong and stabilising influence through all the years of growth and change.
In 1979 the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa) made it permissible and acceptable to separate Admission to Communion from Confirmation. Confirmation is now properly identified as an adult affirmation of the faith into which a person has been previously baptised. In 1987 the Diocese of Johannesburg formally introduced the practice of admitting young people to Communion before Confirmation.
Who may be admitted to Communion?
Any baptised person in the Diocese who is at least six years of age, has been brought up in a Christian environment, received basic instruction in the faith, and exhibited some insight as to the significance of the sacrament. Theologically it should from babes in arms up . . .
At St Luke’s we would normally require that a child be a regular and attentive member of the Sunday School for at least 12 months, and that the application be supported by the Sunday School Superintendent.
An older person would be expected to have shown a similar involvement in a special group or in the church services.
What further preparation is necessary?
A preparation course will be held for candidates. It will focus specifically on the meaning and privilege of the Eucharist. The courses are normally held at the beginning of the year.
When may candidates receive Communion?
After the preparation course there will be a special service of Admission to Communion during a Sunday morning Eucharist. Candidates may receive Communion at that service and thereafter.
Where may they receive Communion?
At St Luke’s and at any other parish within the Diocese of Johannesburg. At any other parish outside the Diocese they should first introduce themselves to the priest and ascertain whether or not the practice has been introduced into that parish.
What is the parents’ involvement?
In the case of children, the parents or guardians consent must be obtained. They will be asked to assist the candidate to be a regular communicant and a regular participant in the life and instruction of the church. I would want to add that they must also attend the course.
What other requirements are there?
Admission to Communion is subject to the undertaking that candidates will, after being admitted, continue to receive instruction in the Christian faith and attend services regularly and frequently, and any special groups to which they belong, regularly.
What about confirmation?
Confirmation should follow when the candidate is capable and desirous of making a mature, responsible, and public, affirmation of faith and commitment to Jesus Christ. This would normally be after they have reached the age of sixteen years. (See the Confirmation pamphlet)
How do we apply?
Contact the Office for more information.