Communion Policy

HOLY COMMUNION AT

TETTENHALL WOOD UNITED REFORMED CHURCH

The Lord’s Supper is a reminder of what Jesus did in the past, a symbol of our present relationship with Him and a promise of what He will do in the future. It is the Church’s thanksgiving to God for our redemption in Christ. In the URC Communion is regarded as the most significant act of the church family (The Manual: Section F6.1).

 
 

Participation in the Lord’s Supper

We believe that God loves everybody and that anybody can have a relationship with God if they wish. Children and young people are affirmed as full and valued members of the congregation. TWURC has an “open” communion table. Anyone can share in this sacrament. The Church Meeting of 19th February 2009 decided to encourage children (7+) and young people, if they believe in Jesus Christ, and at their parent’s discretion, to partake in the Lord’s Supper, as it is a sign of being a Christian and continuing in the Christian life.

Our reasoning is that there is nothing direct in Scripture to prevent children and young people from taking Communion. Our reasoning is that the Reformed tradition upholds covenant theology and baptizes infants. So if they have been given the sign of baptism it is wrong to deny them the sign of the Supper. Our reasoning is that, at an open table, unbaptized or unconfirmed believers (paedo or otherwise) should not be discriminated against and should take Communion. Our reasoning is that the life of our congregation will be enriched by introducing children to the Lord’s Supper. Our reasoning is taken from Jesus’ attitude to children who in His eyes certainly belong to the Kingdom of Heaven (Mark 10:13-16).

 
 

Stipulation

When we come to worship we should be sure that our relationships with others are right, and if they are not, we should act quickly to make them right (Matthew 5:23-24). This admonition is especially true when we come to the Lord’s Supper. Whether baptized or not, and adhering to God’s Word, no one (of any age) must eat or drink in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27). TWURC is aware that children differ in maturity and their level of understanding, but it was recommended that 7 years old should be the minimum age for taking part.

 
 

Implementing the policy

The United Reformed Church understands the Lord’s Supper as a symbolic act that expresses sincere faith in Jesus Christ by celebrating the sacrament as a united fellowship. The minister, elders, and junior church leaders are responsible in explaining clearly the meaning of the Lord’s Supper and to encourage a programme of ongoing nurture and support.

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2 thoughts on “Communion Policy

  1. Sorry Tim, I’m with Calvin – personally. But my churches are nowhere near that and I’m in no rush to change it.
    Some suggest that our problems in the church can be traced to the breakdown of church discipline and believe that open communion is a symptom of that.
    Having said that – I read the admonishment from 1 Corinthians, I invite all those that consider Jesus their Lord to eat and I always explain what’s about to happen in my sermons. It’s on non-members’ consciences then.
    Your policy shows that you do fence the table in some way as well, so perhaps it’s not truly “open”. Would you say the meal is for the church only or go with Wesley that it is a converting ordinance?

  2. I thought you would be Phil! Although remember that Calvin provided Reformed churches with only a basic flexible outline for the Lord’s Supper. He seems to have said a lot more on baptism. But I’m sure I’ve read in his Institutes that paedo-communion was common in the ancient church. I like our tradition as it leaves a great deal to the local church’s discretion, although I do agree with you that we can’t remove all “fences”. Hmm I guess the Arminian in me agrees with Wesley that participation can bring people to faith. Unconditional becomes conditional election. Right off to start prepping this week’s sermons…

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