All baptized Christians are welcome to receive Holy Communion in the Episcopal Church. (We understand baptized Christians to mean those who have been baptized with water in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.)
At the time to receive Communion, the ushers invite the members of the congregation to come forward to the Altar Rail. Kneel at the rail (or stand if kneeling presents a challenge) and receive the consecrated Bread (or “Host”) either in the open palm of your hand or directly on your tongue. When the chalice bearer offers you the chalice, you may help guide it to your lips with a light touch at the base of the chalice. (Some worshipers prefer not to touch the chalice at all except with their lips, and that is fine as well.)
If you are not receiving Communion, you are welcome to come forward to the Altar Rail and receive a blessing instead. Just fold your arms across your chest to indicate that is what you would like.
If you are in the habit of "intincting" (dipping the host in the chalice rather than sipping from the common cup), please let the chalice bearer take the Host from your hand, dip it for you, and place it directly on your tongue. This minimizes the likelihood of fingers going into the chalice and making contact with the consecrated Wine.
After you have received Communion or a blessing, the way back to the pews is to your right, through the passageway under the organ pipes.
If you are not baptized, we invite you to consider receiving the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Please talk to one of the clergy about preparing for baptism at S. Stephen’s.
CHILDREN AND HOLY COMMUNION
In the Episcopal Church, children are welcome to receive Holy Communion once they have been baptized and their parents think that they are ready. In some cases, the parents request a “First Communion” at the age of seven or older, and we are glad to oblige. Contrary to popular belief, however, there is no minimum age. Children who have been admitted to Communion in other Episcopal parishes, at whatever age, should most certainly continue to receive at S. Stephen’s. Infants can be given Communion at their Baptism with a little spoon containing a drop of the consecrated Wine and a fragment of the Host. In practice, however, most children do not begin receiving Holy Communion regularly until they are physically able to receive the Host and Chalice in the normal way.