An Invitation to the Lord’s Table for Youth
First Holy Communion Class begins this month
By Pastor David Tinker
The First Holy Communion class will be offered February 21, 28, March 7 and 28 Sunday mornings, starting at about 11:00-11:15 a.m. in the Mission & Ministry Building.
First Holy Communion at MLLC is most often offered to elementary age students, typically in 5th grade and younger. Our goal is to make sure youth who are part of MLLC have begun communing by the end of 5th grade. The 5th grade tradition does not prevent younger students from attending the class and receiving Holy Communion. Each year for the past several years we have had youth in younger grades participating in the class. It is most likely that a majority of the youth participating in the class will be younger than 5th grade.
Students are encouraged to bring a Bible for use in class, as well as paper/pen for any notes they might want to write. If students don’t have access to a Bible, we have one for their use. Note that each student will be presented with a Bible on First Communion Thursday – April 1/Maundy Thursday – for his or her personal study and for use in Sunday School, Confirmation and Worship. Parents/Grandparents/Guardians are welcome and encouraged to be present at this class time. We will meet in the Mission & Ministry Building, but will also move to other places in the building for parts of the lessons. The class will include instruction, discussion, videos, mini-field trips in the church building, etc.
We encourage students in class to observe social distancing, hand washing, hand sanitizer, and using masks to cover mouth and nose.
The class schedule avoids the Spring Break for most, if not all, students who would be part of this group. The Sundays of March 14 and 21 may end up being make-up classes for students who were not able to attend earlier classes. Also, one of the classes will include bread baking by the students.
Here is the schedule:
Sundays, February 21, 28, March 7 and 28
We are aware that not everyone received sufficient word about when class was beginning. Even if you student was not present at the class on February 21, he or she is fully invited to participate. Even if your student is not able to be at the class on February 28, he or she is encouraged to participate. I am very willing to work out review sessions or alternative class times to help your student. It is better to ask for help than to remove oneself from the class. We will make something work for your student.
Class will from from about 11:00/11:15 a.m. until about 12:15 p.m.
If one or more of these dates is/are not workable for your family, I am very glad to work out make up lessons for your student. That way he or she will not miss out of the learning and special service this year.
Important Date: Thursday, April 1 7:30 p.m.
Maundy Thursday Service, First Holy Communion Day
Presentation of Bible to students during worship – Church gives to Parent/Grandparent/sponsor then the parent/grandparent/sponsor presents Bible to student. We will go over this before that Thursday, so all are ready.
Students: please arrive by 7:00 p.m. to make sure all our plans are in order for what we will be doing at worship. Also, families may wish to take photos before worship, for this is the best time to do this. The altar area will be bare of all decorations, candles, banners, etc. after worship due to the “Stripping of the Altar” during the service.
I look forward to exploring this wonderful sacrament with your child. This is a very exciting time of growth for these young people and for their families. If you have any questions or special needs, please feel free to contact me.
Below is a discernment tool for those who are unsure about their students participating in the the program.
With all this, you are encouraged to consult with the pastor regarding this wonderful opportunity for the young person in your life.
How do I know my child is ready to attend First Communion Class?
The most important question is about God’s gift of Grace for your child:
***** Has your child been baptized?
If your child is not yet baptized, please speak with a pastor to set a date for your child to receive this Sacrament. It is understood that Holy Communion is for the baptized children of God.
Only the first question (Has your child been baptized?) requires a “Yes” before your child can be considered ready to receive his or her first communion, and to participate in the class. Use the other questions below to generate discussion and to plan, in consultation with Pastor David Tinker, for your child’s preparation to begin receiving the sacrament and the gifts it brings.
Contact Pastor David Tinker if you have any questions about Holy Communion. He would be happy to help answer your questions.
He/She may. . .
*have expressed interest in participating in Holy Communion during worship, perhaps copying your movements at the altar
*have begun to ask questions about why we take Holy Communion
*have begun to reach for the Holy Communion elements which are offered to you
*have a foundation in Christ through attendance in Christian education or worship, or through family conversations, devotions or prayer
*be able to speak about God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) as loving and trustworthy
*pray the Lord’s Prayer and be able to say other simple prayers (such as at bedtime and meals)
The following questions can help you determine the readiness of your child to receive her or his first Holy Communion.
These are not meant to create a reason to prevent your child’s participation. These simply lift up common ways in which youth express interest in Holy Communion
*Is your child comfortable in various locations around the church, like the altar?
*Does your child have a basic, age-appropriate awareness that God loves him or her?
*Does your child understand the idea of “right” and “wrong”, and can grasp the basic notion of “forgiveness”?
*Will your child extend his or her hands when asked to do so?
*Will your child be able to understand the basic concept that Holy Communion is a gift from God to each person?
*Does your child seem to have a basic trust that they are a child of God?
*Does your child seem interested in what goes on in church during Communion?
*Does your child interact enough with others to receive the bread and wine?
*Is your child aware enough of others in the congregation and their needs to show respect for the communion experience?
*Are you prepared to help make the process positive?
*Are you prepared to continue to fulfill the promises you made at your child’s baptism to bring him or her regularly to the Lord’s Table?