New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
Comment > Letters to the editor >

Children at the holy communion

Sir, - As the last surviving member of the 1970 Ely commission, which began in 1969 as an Archbishops' Commission and reported to the Synod in April 1971 under the title Christian Initiation: Birth and growth in the Christian society, may I say how gratified I am that, after 35 years, approval has been given to the admission of children to holy communion.

In 1970, we were aware of the difficulties that surfaced in the Synod debate. The reservations of Simon Butterworth could have been met by an acceptance of our recommendations on adult confirmation. The perceptive remark by the Bishop of Durham that the issue is really about full initiation echoes the basis of our report - birth and growth. It is a pity that the Synod was not brave enough, as we put it, "to make explicit its recognition of baptism as the full and complete rite of Christian initiation".

On training and confirmation, our recommendations were: that provision should be made at all levels of church life for clergy and laity alike to learn how to train young people for responsible life in the community; and "that the rite of confirmation continue to be administered as a service of commitment and commissioning, but as a suitable stage in adult life with the laying on of hands by the bishop or a priest appointed by the bishop for that purpose".

(Some of us were anxious that the ancient practice of the parish priest's confirming his own candidates be restored, but we did not wish the role of the bishop to be diminished. Indeed, we recommended that he administer first communion.)

In the realm of training, I am aware that we are in a new situation, but a re-reading of the chapter on this in the report would be well worth while.
STANLEY HOFFMAN
Flat 3, Ramsay Hall
Byron Road, Worthing
West Sussex BN11 3HN

Job of the week

Inter Religious Affairs Programme Officer

London and Home Counties

Inter Religious Affairs Programme Officer Location: Lambeth Palace, London Salary: Starting salary of £27,911 rising to £30,326 upon successful completion of probation period. Contract Type: Full...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Keeping the faith under fire

Keeping the faith under fire

Large numbers of clergy volunteered to be military chaplains during the Great War. Peter Street tells some of their stories  Subscribe to read more

Question of the week
Is there enough reason now to impose tougher sanctions on Russia?

To prevent multiple voting, we now ask readers to be logged in. This is free, quick and easy, honestly. Click here to login or register

Top comment

Can Catholics back women bishops?

Christopher Hill asks whether Catholics can back women bishops  Subscribe to read more

Mon 28 Jul 14 @ 16:42
"A sense that in some way the disappearance of the sacred is a huge wound" Rowan Williams @BBCRadio4's The Waste Land http://t.co/90PxbPopjr

Mon 28 Jul 14 @ 15:16
Outing: is it ever right? @lucy25 is responding to comments made by @PeterTatchell here: http://t.co/NRkJS73PAX