Preparation to receive Holy Communion

Using Godly Play to prepare children to receive Holy Communion

I wonder if you have considered using the practice of Godly Play to prepare children to receive Holy Communion?

There is a plethora of preparation courses to choose from. I have 21 such books on my bookshelves! Why is using Godly Play the one I am most excited about?

The shape of Godly Play is inherently related to the life of the historic church through the communion liturgy. Children taking part in a Godly Play session are indeed being prepared to receive communion in church. For example, in a Godly Play session, children gather, hear and respond to the Word, share food with thanksgiving and finally leave with a blessing. 

There are specific Godly Play stories that practitioners choose when preparing children for communion, but I do not think that is always necessary. For me, the whole practice of Godly Play is preparation enough to receive the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have yet to engage with Godly Play where I have not been drawn deeper into the mystery of God, and I am always blessed to receive such creative and heartfelt insights from the children with whom I am privileged to share in the circle.

However, the core stories mentioned below may be ones you wish to use when children are preparing to receive communion:

  • Baptism
  • The Good Shepherd
  • The Good Shepherd and the World Communion

Each of our denominations will have different practices surrounding children receiving communion, and my prayer is that Godly Play will encourage you to explore this practice when preparing children to receive the sacrament within your own church tradition.

Some further useful stories, for some traditions, might be:

  • The Faces of Easter (VII is especially relevant)
  • The Circle of the Holy Eucharist
  • The Synagogue and the Upper Room
  • Symbols of the Holy Eucharist

Rachel Archer is an ordained Church of England minister.

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