Blessing Babies in the Communion Circle

For years we’ve given a blessing to children who are joining parents in the communion circle, but not yet participating in the Lord’s Supper. Since covid, we’ve welcomed many new families to COS, and many young children to the table. It became harder for child blessers to tell which little ones in a family should receive a blessing, and which would be participating in communion. Many kids received both a blessing and the sacrament. For some, that was great—they enjoyed being acknowledged by an adult. But others, especially post-covid, felt less comfortable with touch and the close proximity of a blessing.

As a result, we’ve changed our blessing practice. We now offer blessing only to babes in arms. All children are still welcome in the communion circle whether they partake in the Lord’s Supper or not. But now, only children held by a parent will be blessed. We hope this change will increase clarity and comfort for both the blessers and the blessed.

If your child is too big to hoist but you’d like them to receive a blessing, you’ll find a member of our prayer ministry available on either side of the large sanctuary as you exit the communion circle. In the All-Nations Worship Service there is a separate line for prayer and blessing, which you can join before or after the communion circle. These prayer ministers would be happy to offer a prayer of blessing for your child. Or you’re welcome to offer a prayer of blessing over your child in the communion circle.

When and How are Children Invited to Participate in the Lord’s Supper at COS?  

Before 2010 our denomination required baptism and a public profession of faith before welcoming a child to the table. As a result, many baptized children didn’t participate in communion until their mid to late teens after studying the catechism, being mentored, and professing their faith. A desire for children to participate sooner in this significant means of grace led to a synodical study committee, which explored the role of the sacraments in faith formation and the question of how and when to welcome children to the table. As a result, synod adopted the following principle:

“All baptized members are welcome to the Lord’s Supper for age-and-ability-appropriate obedience to biblical commands about participation, under the supervision of the elders. The elders have a responsibility to nurture grateful and obedient participation by providing encouragement, instruction, and accountability in the congregation. Requiring a formal public profession of faith prior to participation in the Lord’s Supper is on pastoral approach to consider but is not required by scripture or the confessions.”

From Children at the Table: Toward a Guiding Principle for Biblically Faithful Celebrations of the Lord’s Supper, A Summary of the Report to Synod 2010

COS was eager to welcome children, and our process for welcoming children to the table became one of several models offered as examples of how to apply this principle, and it still serves us well today. We offer a class for baptized children to attend with a parent to deepen their understanding of the sacrament and prepare them to join in the family meal. Following the class, children who desire to participate stand with their parent(s) to make an age-appropriate profession of faith at the beginning of the communion liturgy. Each child responds from the heart to the question, “Do you love Jesus and want to follow him?”