Communion Tokens - Keir Memorial Museum
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In the days of the early Christian Church, when it was difficult to tell who could be trusted, and it was necessary to exclude impostors who sought to destroy the new faith, passwords, signs and tickets were used to admit members to the services of the church. The early Christians for a time used little metal fish in which was pierced a hole for the purpose of carrying then easily.
At the celebration of the Holy Communion, the greatest care and vigilance was used to exclude all unbelievers or improper persons. The church doors were guarded by appointed officers.
During the troublesome times in Scotland, when people moved about and partook of the Lords Supper in strange churches, tickets and alter metal discs, were taken with them from their own parish. Later, when times were more settled, it was no longer necessary to use them, but they were still used as signs of membership, and since those times they have been known as tokens.
Tokens were usually made of lead but many other materials were used as well as different shapes.
Inventories of church property often include the "Token Mould". This mould was presented to the minister at the time of his installation and it was one of his duties to keep a sufficient supply on hand. There was no set pattern for all churches.