Saturday, May 13, 2006

How old must they be?

I have been reading much lately on various blogs about the age at which children should be allowed to join the rest of the Church in the Lord's Supper. Why do we wait until age 14? Is this Biblical? Or is it just American pietism once more informing our practice? Should we be witholding this Sacrament, with all that it offers, from our children?

Go read Pastor Petersen at Cyberstones.

Each successive child in our family has been confirmed a little younger. If I had any more they'd be younger still. My 10 year old niece is very jealous that her cousin who is a month older than her is confirmed and she won't be for four more years. I overheard a conversation between them where she explained that she knows just as much as him, and she wishes she could be confirmed. So do I.


Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Yes, I am of the view that each child is an individual. The decision to train and welcome a child to the altar is best made jointly by the parents with the pastor. This is better than an arbitrary age based on custom. Kids today seem to mature faster than in previous generations. Don't they need to benefit of the eucharist?

Mother said...

Me too. I have an 8 year old that has most of the catechism memorized. I would love for him to be in confirmation class, but unfortunetly that would cause a 'stir' in the congregation and we can't have that.

Within the congregation it appears that having a young one take confirmation class earlier than the traditional time is a far worse crime than keeping this child from this Holy Meal.

Marie N. said...

I think it is easier to let each child commune when ready in smaller congregations.

When I think of my congregation (which had an associated elementary school for many years) people would become members of the church for the years they wanted reduced tuition, then disappear when their kids graduated. Having an "age" for confirmation did help make sure some of those kids received catechism instruction and first communion.

Now we are a smaller congregation with many homeschoolers among the regular attendees. More children are receiving catechism instruction and the Sacrement at younger ages, to the joy of thier families.