Step-up to the Lord's Supper @ Bethlehem
Confirmation @ Bethlehem
How is Step-up different to Confirmation?
For many Australian Lutheran Christians, learning the faith in their childhood and teenage years was capped off by attending a confirmation course that also coincided with being admitted to the Lord's Supper. As such, many thought it was all one and the same.
But for some time in practice, and in the context of several special studies, the most recent in 2012, the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) has been admitting pre-confirmed members to the Lord’s Supper after an appropriate course of instruction. The LCA continues to remind pastors, parents and students that:
‘... any move to earlier communion will be a blessing for children only to the extent that it occurs in the context of a faithful family and is accompanied by teaching appropriate to their age’ (LCA CTICR 2012, page 10, ‘Infant Communion: a reappraisal’, http://www.lca.org.au/doctrine-and-theology-2.html ).
Confirmation is still important – a time of deepening and widening of the contours of the Christian Faith and appreciation of Christ as personal saviour (see elsewhere this website). In fact, Christian learning never finishes. Each day we need to remember our baptism by repenting and receiving God’s promise of forgiveness – a process that requires we continue to grow in faith and understanding as our life, maturity and situations change. Yet for children approaching confirmation teaching and future life in the church, with earlier admittance to the Lord’s Supper:
... [i]t may plausibly be argued that infants who communed from the outset would be more likely to grow into (a) the conscious faith and repentance that are required of all communicants; (b) the sense of belonging as integral members of the church; and (c) full participation in the sacramental life of the church with the desire for lifelong education. In light of the growing appreciation of affective learning for education, it may also be wise pedagogically for catechetical instruction to be based on the experience of catechumens (LCA CTICR, 2012, page 9 ‘Infant Communion: a reappraisal’, http://www.lca.org.au/doctrine-and-theology-2.html )