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The Case For Communion


It must be understood from the beginning that the ministry of Pomona Youth Chapel is very different from the ministry of Ontario United Reformed Church. In Ontario there is a heritage of family, faith and community. Whereas in Pomona there is a heritage of broken families, dead faith and territories divided up by several gangs and races. The congregation of Ontario URC consists of grandparents, parents and children of which many have been a part of the Reformed faith for fifty years or more. The PYC congregation consists of children and teens who parents are largely unbelievers or nonpracticing Catholics.

Finally, the greatest difference is probably the culture itself. Even though there are many kids at Ontario URC who would be involved in the "youth culture", the culture the kids of PYC find themselves in is markedly more violent and intense. Yes there is violence and crimes that take place in Ontario, but generally the kids who attend Ontario URC are rarely put in those type of situations. The kids in Pomona, by their very locale and skin color, are already targets and prime candidates for an early death.

I say all this not to dramatize or paint a surreal picture of life for the kids of PYC, but to make the point that because of these factors the kids are searching for all the things that Ontario URC may take for granted-family, community and faith. When these kids come to Sunday studies at PYC they find it hard to believe in a heavenly Father because they have never had an earthly father. They find it hard to believe in a God who would allow such violence and mayhem to take place on a daily basis. Perhaps the only thing they can really identify with is the Son Jesus who lays His life down for His sheep. They understand this because many come from gangs and street crews where it is not uncommon to take a bullet for a friend or to sacrifice yourself for the good of the many.

What does all this have to do with Communion, you ask? I believe that the kids need a visible sign, something tangible they can touch and taste to prove to them that God will keep the promises He has made in His word. They need to be strengthened on a weekly basis as they leave the security of PYC and go back into unbelieving homes and treacherous neighborhoods. Now I understand that the practice of offering the Lord's Supper to youth, much less to non-confessing youth is something unheard of and has been frowned upon by the Reformed church. Yet I feel there is a case to be made that not only is the Lord's Supper permissable for these youth in Pomona, it is also necessary. This argument, therefore, will be divided as follows:

1. Communion As The Visible Word
2. PYC As A Mission Field
3. The Newly Converted and Confessing Members
4. Admonitions and Warning Against Eating Unworthily
5. Conditions for Membership

I would respectfully ask that the Pastors, Elders and Developing Ministries Commitee carefully look at this proposal and try to undestand the unique setting and aspects of PYC. This is not something I have entered into lightly but have been praying about now for several months. My only intention is to share the Gospel with the kids of Pomona and to reinforce this message with the means of grace that God has provided. May His will be done in this matter.

Pastor Tim Shultz, May 1998