Synod 2007 declined to adopt the proposal of Synod 2006 to allow all baptized children to the Lord’s Table. It instead reaffirmed that children must make an age-appropriate public profession of faith before taking communion.
Synod appointed a Faith Formation Committee with a five-year mandate “to deepen the integration of biblical teaching; confessional norms; church polity; and liturgical, educational, and pastoral practices in the CRC with respect to (1) participation in the Lord’s Supper and (2) public profession of faith.”
Synod also debated at length a recommendation to allow congregations to admit all baptized members to the Lord’s Table while the Faith Formation Committee does its work.
Elder Merwyn Tanis, Classis Greater Los Angeles, said, “I am in favor of this motion. . . . [Participation by children] has been a wonderful thing in our church.” And Rev. James Poelman, Classis Chatham, agreed: “It’s not so much about how I love Jesus, or even how my child loves Jesus, but about how deeply Jesus loves my child.”
But according to Rev. Jake Kuipers, Classis Quinte, such a proposal would be a dangerous thing. “I’m afraid we’re going down a road we cannot reverse five years from now.” And Rev. Ken Baker, Classis Kalamazoo, cautioned: “We’re not at a point to make a decision. If we [adopt this], we’ll undermine the work of the Faith Formation Committee.”
The committee will be asked to “formulate a clear statement about the participation of baptized children at the Lord’s Supper.” It will also report on the ways congregations are experiencing intergenerational faith formation and sacramental practice in a variety of contexts. The committee will report to synod annually for the next five years.
Synod hopes that, based on the committee’s findings, a future synod will be in a better position to decide whether to allow all baptized members to participate in communion.