Children & The Great Thanksgiving
or The Eucharist
In the Episcopal Church, the Holy Eucharist is one of the two great sacraments, the other being Holy Baptism. According to the directions given to us in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, Eucharist is to be celebrated every Sunday.
It might be helpful in your conversation with your children to know that the word Eucharist comes from the Greek word meaning “thanksgiving”, as in the Priest says “the Great Thanksgiving begins on page 355 of the Book of Common Prayer.” In the liturgy we are giving thanks to God for showing us how to be in Common Union (communion) with God through our participation in the Eucharistic Service. Also, the weekly offering of the Eucharist, the bread and wine, the Body and Blood of Christ, is intended to feed us and nourish us throughout the week. It is because it's so important, that I am often asked to celebrate the Eucharist at other special occasions in peoples lives, such as weddings and funerals.
Many children in church school have probably received the Holy Communion, as the Episcopal Church allows communion to be given to all baptized Christians (regardless of age or faith denomination). However, even
though children are able to receive Communion as soon as they are baptized, I’m aware there are parents who want their children to wait until a certain age before regularly receiving Eucharist or even for the first time. I remain sensitive to those children, and their parents, who have not yet received communion, and look forward to the conversation around “what time is the right time for my child to receive Eucharist?”
If you wish to have more information so that you might have a deeper conversation with your children I offer as a starting point the explanation of Holy Eucharist, found in our Catechism on pages 859-860 in the Prayer Book.