Catechism means teaching/instruction. Another name for "Confirmation" is "Catechism". Lutherans believe the words of the Small and Large Catechisms.
The Small Catechism teaches us about the Sacraments (sacred elements commanded by Christ for us to do. In Sacraments we receive God's gifts of grace and sanctification). We are told there are 2 sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion. Some Lutherans name Confession and Forgiveness a Sacrament and in the Small Catechism it is considered part of the Sacrament of Baptism and Holy Communion.
When a person is baptized (see liturgy below), they are asked several questions. Most often the person being baptized is an infant, unable to answer. For this reason, a person is appointed to be the sponsor (Godparent) or spokesperson for the baptized. Because we believe in faith by grace (not our own merit), there is an understanding that there is nothing we can do to merit our own salvation.
Promises are made at baptism. It is very important that parents, Godparents, and, as they are able, the baptized, to understand what happens at baptism and what promises they are making. Even more importantly are the promises God makes in baptism:
The congregation witnesses and speaks on behalf of the whole Church. Bethany & Pilgrim Lutheran ask that parents, Godparents, and the one to be baptized participate in catechism courses with the pastor. Over the course of two meetings the pastor will teach about baptism. There will be discussion as well as practical elements to these meetings.
If you were baptized in a different denomination, remember the Nicene Creed: "We believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins." Churches that believe the three ecumenical creeds and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit accept the baptized believer regardless of denomination.
Baptisms are not just for children. Most of the baptisms in Scripture were for adults!
NO MATTER THE AGE; NO MATTER WHAT: ALL ARE ENCOURAGED TO BE BAPTIZED.
The Sacrament of Holy Communion/Eucharist/Lord's Supper was instituted by Christ "on the night he was betrayed" and arrested. Read Matthew's account of what happened.
The early Christians carried this tradition on, making it the pinnacle of worship. All Christians participated, regardless of age. It was not until Christianity became more established that the Rite of First Communion, following time of catechesis, became normalized. The ELCA affirms the ancient understanding that one need not completely understand the sacrament before receiving it (it's impossible anyway!). Holy Baptism makes one a full member of the Body of Christ. Therefore, it is not unheard of to commune people of ALL ages, even babies. However, we understand that this is not the norm--especially in our region--and therefore in this parish we let the parents decide when they would like their child to receive their first Holy Communion. When a child enters 5th grade we formally ask the parents.
When it is believed that the children are "ready" to partake, it will be formally acknowledged and celebrated during a Sunday worship.
A typical outline of a "class" with Pastor Emily:
- Open discussion/question/ice-breaker activity
- Read about the Lord's Supper from scripture and discuss
- Bake communion bread
- Walk around the sanctuary and see what happens at the altar/ run through the liturgy so all feel comfortable!
This form allows the office to record the right information as well as prepare to meet with the pastor.
This document lays out the order of worship for the Rite of Baptism. See pages... in the ELW hymnal.
A hard form copy is in the church office. The packet combines both of the above as well as conversation questions.