One of the joys of having a large church middle school (ages 9 to 13) in the benefice and being the chaplain there is that I get to meet lots of new year 5’s from across the deanery.
We are a church school and a eucharistic community. Confirmation classes are offered to children in year 8. Here is a picture of our new bishop doing his very first school confirmation service last summer term.
And yes, he did play basketball with his cope and mitre still on. I think he was still getting used to his shiney new clothes. It was a very hot day and he wouldn’t let me find him a dry shirt afterwards.
If we waited until year 8 before children could receive communion then most of the school would be excluded so when new children arrive in year 5 we have a special service to admit to communion those who have been baptised, who want to receive the bread and wine at whole school communion services. Out of a year group of 120 children about 50 choose to do this. It is an interesting task checking their baptism status. The postive knock on affect for clergy in the deanery is that we always refer on to them families of children that want to be baptised.
The admission to communion service is usually anticipated with great excitement. Even those not being admitted, attend and come to the front for a blessing. Only a small number of parents choose to withdraw their children from this worship. Last year we ran out of bread and there was a hiatus in the service as someone ran to the cookery rooms to fetch the next best thing, pizza bases! (Vicar was being over generous, out of shear joy). We will be better prepared this year. Although the kids loved it and keep reminding us about it.
Yesterday, I began the RE lessons to prepare year 5 for the day. I am having to get used to the language of learning intentions. We were thinking about ‘what is a Christian’. Here is the definition they came up with; ‘A Christian is someone who has a relationship with God by following Jesus Christ’ . Not bad eh!
Next week I will talk about healthy eating, food for the body and food for the soul.
The local churches are used to us doing this now and it has been the catalyst for them to think carefully about their eucharistic policy/theology.
And me? All our children at church receive communion and visiting children too. If they put their hands out I give them bread. How could I not! I love being able to feed them. I love this job!