Communion Tokens

What are communion tokens?

Prior to the celebration of the Holy Communion believers were to search their own heart to determine if they were worthy to receive the sacraments. This repentance could occur either in the presence of a pastor or in attending a special repentance service. After that a person could attend the communion service. Because of the growing numbers of congregation members only by a special marked token was it possible to control if a person had the right to join in the celebration of the sacraments. This special communion token had on one side an image and on the reverse a date, seal or Lutheran swan. The material was lead, mostly round but sometimes square or oval, besides lead some were in copper or even silver. By the end of the 19th century this strange practice ended. The tokens were used by the Lutheran congregations of Amsterdam, Delft, Enkhuizen, ’s Gravenhage, Groningen, Haarlem, ’s Hertogenbosch, Leiden, Middelburg, Rotterdam, Schiedam, Utrecht, Vlissingen, Zutphen