You could have heard a pin drop…
14 children and as many adults sat in a semi-circle around the altar of St Peter’s Newnham on Severn to receive communion.
We had prepared by drawing pictures of our families sharing a meal, we brought them all with us as we gathered.
Candles were placed on the altar and lit, everything was ready, except for us. We needed to remember that we are human beings who hurt God, each other and ourselves, when we do wrong things and so we said sorry. Reverend Rob reminded us that God forgives us and frees us from the wrong things we do.
We Listened to the story of the last supper, joining in the actions of breaking bread and drinking wine, then we responded to God’s word by creating our own communion cups and an altar frontal with all our names on.
We all joined in with the responses when Emily led us through the creed. And we prayed for God to transform people’s lives as our prayer tree itself burst into life with our prayer leaves.
Reverend Rob placed an embroidered stole around his neck. He reminded us that when we go to a party we wear our best clothes and a Roman man on a night out would have worn something very like a stole. That’s how old Christianity is, as old as Roman times.
Two of the children brought the bread and wine to the table.
We picked up our rainbow service sheets listened carefully to Rob and joined in the congregation’s words in the Eucharistic prayer and still all together we prayed as Jesus taught us, ‘Our Father …’
And then, as Rob and his young communion assistant passed around the semi-circle every pair of hands, from tiny hands projecting from a fluffy pink onesie to gluey hands in school uniform and old hands in coat sleeves, received the body of Christ which was broken for us and the blood of Christ which was shed for us.
The reverence was tangible, not a giggle or chatter, but a moment when we were all present to God, among us and within us.
Over the past months Reverend Rob James and the Messy Church team have been taking their Messy Church families on a journey toward Holy Communion, and the church community have been praying for them. Each PCC in the benefice has discussed baptised children being admitted to Holy Communion before Confirmation and passed the resolution agreeing to it.
Rob met with Jo Wetherall Diocesan Children and Families Officer to talk about the preparation and ongoing Spiritual nurture of these families and applied to Bishop Rachel for permission.
Today was the next step of that journey as the baptised children were admitted to communion.
This wasn’t an event in the life of the church, this was Church.