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Communion



Holy Communion at First Lutheran Church is open to all baptized Christians.*

Can anyone participate in communion at First Lutheran Church?  We believe that Christ is truly present in this meal of bread and wine.  All who share this belief and are baptized are welcome at the table.  Small children who have not yet received communion instruction are welcome at the table to receive a blessing, however, baptized children may begin to commune on a regular basis at a time determined through mutual conversation that includes the pastor and the parents.  Ordinarily, this beginning will occur only when children can eat and drink and can start to respond to the gift of Christ in the Supper.  However, infants and children may be communed for the first time during the service in which they are baptized.  Normally it shall be the responsibility of a parent or guardian, along with the pastor(s) to determine when a child will begin to participate in Holy Communion at First Lutheran Church.

What are First Lutheran policies for Communion Instruction and Orientation of Children?  The pastors and educational staff of First Lutheran Church will regularly provide age-appropriate learning opportunities on the subject of Holy Communion.  Completion of this class is not a prerequisite to Holy Communion.  Learning opportunities usually will occur in the following ways:
  • Parents will receive counseling and instruction on the subject of Holy Communion for their child during the time of their baptism counseling session.
  • Fifth grade students, along with their parent(s) will receive an opportunity to attend an instructional class on Holy Communion from the pastors and educational staff - usually during Lent.
  • The pastors and staff of First Lutheran Church will make themselves available to parent(s) for consultation on the subject of Holy Communion as requested.
  • Holy Communion education shall be part of new member instruction.

Why should I know about this sacrament?  Knowing about this sacrament can enrich our lives by strengthening our participation in the life and work of the church.  The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is a gift from God, given not only for our personal benefit, but also for the benefit of others.  The sacrament is a source of strength that enables us to better serve God and others.

Knowing about this sacrament can enrich our lives by renewing our sense of security in a rapidly changing and uncertain world.  The sacraments, which form the roots of our faith, provide us with a tangible means of understanding God's gift to us.  Participation in the sacraments helps us to live more confidently.  At First Lutheran Church, we celebrate Holy Communion each week and on special occasions.

Knowing about this sacrament can enrich our lives by making us more aware that we need the spiritual nourishment that it provides.  Baptism makes us children of God.  Receiving the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper helps to strengthen that relationship by renewing our faith in the forgiveness of sins and our ability to love God and serve Him through serving others.

What is the significance of this sacrament?  The Lord's Supper is one of two sacraments celebrated by Lutherans.  The Sacrament of Baptism initiates our life in Christ.  The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper sustains that life.

When we partake of this sacrament, we follow Jesus' command as recorded in the New Testament.  We receive the forgiveness of sins and the promise of everlasting life in union with God.  This gift is given to the church.  And we celebrate our joy on this solemn occasion through the continuing presence of Christ in our lives and God's concern for all people.  We encourage regular reception of Holy Communion!

What common elements take on a special meaning during the Lord's Supper?  Bread and wine were offered by Jesus when he instituted the Lord's Supper.  Today, these two simple elements are still a part of the sacrament.  Both elements are products of God's earth: bread made from wheat, and wine from grapes.  The special meaning these elements hold is the presence of Christ in, with, and under these earthly elements.  (At First Lutheran we also offer grape juice and gluten free wafers to those who, for personal or health reasons, prefer them.)

How does this joyful celebration affect our daily lives?  The importance of the Lord's Supper extends far beyond our weekly celebrations.  Sharing the body and blood of Christ:
  • nourishes our spirits and encourages us to live faithfully following the example set by Jesus during his life on earth.
  • gives us hope that one day we will share in eternal life because of Jesus' selfless sacrifice.
  • strengthens our belief that Christ is ever-present and that we are invited to partake of Christ's presence in the sacramental elements of bread and wine.
  • promotes unity among God's people in all places and at all times.
  • gives us peace -- with God, other people, and with ourselves.
What if I have other questions about Holy Communion?  If you have additional questions, please contact our church office and one of the First Lutheran Church pastoral staff will be happy to assist you!

*At what age do ELCA Congregations allow members their First Communion?  First Communion can and does happen at many different ages throughout congregations of the ELCA.  The Use of the Means of Grace: A Statement on the Practice of Word and Sacrament" says, "There is no command from our Lord regarding the age at which people should be...first communed."  As a result, the age at which baptized members of the First Lutheran congregation may receive their first communion is open to all members regardless of age, but that decision should be mutually made after a consultation by the parents and one of the pastors of First Lutheran Church.