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 Issues | General Synod | November 2005

General Synod

ADMISSION OF BAPTISED CHILDREN TO HOLY COMMUNION REGULATIONS

The purpose of the regulations is to allow

“Children who have been baptised but who have not yet been confirmed and who are not yet ready or desirous to be confirmed as required by paragraph 1(a) of Canon B15A” to “be admitted to Holy Communion provided that the conditions set out in these Regulations are satisfied.”

The regulations permit rather than require parishes to admit children to Communion. The Bishop’s consent must be first obtained (more paperwork for Bishops) and the Bishop can decide that no such provision should be allowed.

Before admitting a child to communion the minister would need to ensure that it was baptized and that those having parental responsibility were in agreement. The minister is required to maintain a register of children so admitted.

The greatest problem with these regulations is Section 10:

“A child who presents evidence in the form stipulated in paragraph 9 that he or she has been admitted to Holy Communion under these Regulations shall be so admitted at any service of Holy Communion conducted according to the rites of the Church of England in any place, regardless of whether or not any permission under paragraph 4 is in force in that place or was in force in that place until revoked.”

This is fair to the child, but it has the effect of forcing parishes which do not agree with the practice to adopt it. This was the chief objection against the earlier guidelines and it is now to be enforced by a regulation.

Aside from the bureaucracy the objection to the principle of child communion is that traditionally reformed churches has taken seriously the Biblical injunction against receiving the sacrament in an unworthy manner. Therefore reformed churches have delayed the admission of children to communion until they were clearly of an age where they had at least a reasonable grasp of Biblical teaching and had made a credible confession of faith.

Children and Communion - New Regulations on the Way. Cross†Way article 99 (Winter 2006) David Phillips critiques the proposed new regulations to allow children to take Communion


This matter has also been addressed in articles in Churchman 113/4 by Donald Allister and 114/4 by Alan Ward.

 

Synod Debate

That the Admission of Baptised Children to Holy Communion Regulations be considered.

Was agreed on 16 November 2005 with about 20 votes against.  the matter will be referred to the House of Bishops.

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