Baptized children of member families who desire the Sacrament of the Altar before Confirmation are brought to the pastor by their parents, who serve as their primary instructors in the Faith.
The children receive supplemental instruction from Pastor Petersen, assisted by Pastor Frese, and recite the primary texts of Luther’s Small Catechism in front of their parents, the pastors, and Redeemer’s elders. The primary texts are …
- The Ten Commandments,
- The Apostles’ Creed,
- The Lord’s Prayer, and
- The Small Catechism’s first question, answer, and Bible passage for Confession, Baptism, and the Sacrament of the Altar.
In addition to this, the children confess their sins and their trust in Jesus Christ along with an understanding of the Bodily presence of the risen Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar. They then undergo the “Rite for First Communion” as it is endorsed by the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and provided for in the Agenda for the Lutheran Service Book.
Thus there is no specific age or grade for First Communion.
Children who are admitted to the altar in this way make similar vows of Confirmation including a promise, with the help of God, to continue receiving instruction.
First Communion classes normally are conducted on Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m. for 10 weeks in the Fall. Each class is followed by Matins at 10:30. Children who enroll in the class are expected to have the aforementioned primary texts already memorized. Most children take the class several years in a row until their parents want them to be confirmed through the Rite of Confirmation, then they also attend a 10 week instruction in the Spring where they are expected to have all parts of Luther’s Small Catechism memorized. Parents are expected to stay with their children during the class and also to attend worship with them. This reinforces the authority of the parent and their responsibility to their children’s development.
Read further about Confirmation classes.