If you haven’t read this piece on Children and the Eucharist, you should.
The writer has accurately identified the next big theological crisis facing the Episcopal Church. All of the questions around communing children, the place of Confirmation, if/whether/how “First Communion” is “a thing,” and the communing of the unbaptized are simply different ways of entering a larger complicated inter-related question.
The 1979 American Book of Common Prayer placed recovery of a baptismal ecclesiology at its center. This was a good and correct move. The problem, however, is that a baptismal ecclesiology functions properly within a broader sacramental ecclesiology. What I mean by that is this:
Church is fundamentally about a sacramental path to discipleship.
Everything from how we comprehend the coherence between the local church and the mystical Church, how we enter the church, how the church frames and provides its rites and sacraments, how the church frames and understands its saints must proceed from an understanding of the church as a mystical vehicle for the grace of God given, received, and expressed normatively in her sacraments.
Baptismal ecclesiology is a very important piece of this complete vision—necessary but not sufficient!
What we need to do now is to flesh out the rest of our sacramental ecclesiology in a clear and coherent way that reflects deep continuity with the Scriptures and the Apostolic faith and is true to our current experience and context. Until this has occurred, we will find ourselves running around with incoherent band-aid fixes…