Mennonites, Children and Communion
Rempel, Elsie Hannah Ruth
Rempel, Elsie Hannah Ruth. Mennonites, Children and Communion; A Thesis presented to the Faculty of Theology of the University of Winnipeg in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Theology. Winnipeg, August 2007.
This research thesis on Mennonites, Children and Communion has been authored by one who is deeply rooted in the tradition, faith and life, and practical theology of the North American Mennonite community. The research approach is interdisciplinary and has concentrated on the separate topics of children and communion in the early Anabaptist era, on studies of the topic of children's spirituality and faith development, and on reflections on children and communion in the Mennonite Church within the last fifty years. This last area of study has also been informed by responses to the topic of children and communion in the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Conference of Churches, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the United Church of Canada. The statement this thesis is defending is that Mennonite children need concrete, ritualized faith-expressing and faith-nurturing experiences during communion that honour the Mennonite domination's core convictions about communion, baptism and membership. Research and reflection, using a praxis approach, has led the author to recommend differentiated participation in communion, not only for children, but for all faith novices who are not yet ready to make a mature and uncoerced commitment to Jesus and his body, the church, as the centre of their lives.