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Leona Wood
Leona Wood
Church News

The Church of England's Children and Youth Advisor wants to encourage baptised children to take communion

by Alex Collett

The Church of England Children and Youth Advisor, Rev’d Mary Hawes wants to encourage baptised children to take communion.

In 1996 the Church of England’s General Synod agreed that churches could allow children to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, taking the bread and wine.

While it happens regularly in some churches, the practice is still not widespread.

Rev'd Mary Hawes said: “I think if we truly believe that children are part of the church family (and in our baptism services we talk about welcoming them into the whole family of God), then they need to be able to receive the sacraments alongside us as part of that spiritual nourishment for their journey.”

“Apart from anything else, we have been talking about this in the Church of England for over 50 years.

“It’s a long journey and not everyone has made it there yet, but I am passionate about helping children coming as close to God as they possibly can.”

The Diocese of Exeter’s new Communion resources webpage has been curated by The Rev’d Paul Kingdom, diocesan Liturgical Advisor and vicar of St Mary-the-Virgin, Silverton.

He said “There is a need for good preparation, joyful celebration and affirmation but also a requirement to follow the procedures laid down by General Synod.

“Therefore it is important to have access to the right resources and we hope that the Exeter Diocese have now gone some way to offering these to Mission Communities in an accessible way.”

Whether or not to admit children to Communion is a decision made locally by PCCs or Joint Councils, which churches then need to inform the Diocese about.

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