On Saturday 21 April at 4 pm, our Area Bishop, The Right Reverend Riscylla Shaw, will confirm candidates from St Luke's through the Rite of Confirmation at St Thomas Anglican Church in Milbrook.
What is Confirmation?
Confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey at which a person affirms for oneself the faith into which one has been baptized and ones intention to live a life of committed discipleship. This affirmation is confirmed through prayer and the laying on of hands by the confirming bishop. The Church also asks God to give the person being confirmed power through the Holy Spirit to live in the way of Jesus.
The Confirmation Service
The Confirmation Service will be led by the bishop. It may take place during the main Sunday Service at your own church or at a special Service.
Most of the Confirmation Service will normally take place at the front of the church, but for the renewal of baptism promises, candidates may be asked by the bishop to gather around the font. (The font is a large basin on a pedestal, containing the water for baptism.)
Making decisions and promises
When a person was baptized as a child, his/her parents and godparents were asked to declare publicly on your behalf that they believed in God and that they would bring you up to follow Jesus. They were asked to answer, on your behalf, that you had decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ. At confirmation, a candidate from Confirmation makes these commitments on her/his own behalf.
The declarations are professed in front of the church congregation; the local Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you.
At the Service of Confirmation
The bishop says to the congregation,
Let us now pray for these persons who have renewed their commitment to Christ.
Silence may be kept. Then the bishop says,
Almighty God, we thank you that by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ you have overcome sin and brought us to yourself, and that by the sealing of your Holy Spirit you have bound us to your service. Renew in these your servants the covenant you made with them at their baptism. Send them forth in the power of that Spirit to perform the service you set before them; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The bishop lays his hand upon each one and says,
Strengthen, O Lord, your servant N with your Holy Spirit; empower him/her for your service; and sustain him/her all the days of his/her life. Amen.
Or this: Defend, O Lord, your servant N with your heavenly grace, that he/she may continue yours for ever, and daily increase in your Holy Spirit more and more, until he/she comes to your everlasting kingdom. Amen.
The service continues with the preparation of the gifts for the Eucharist.
The role of sponsors
At Baptism, Godparents stood alongside parents to make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptized. At confirmation there may be a parish sponsor who stands with the person(s) being Confirmed as a symbol of their journeying with them in faith. Usually this is someone who has previously been confirmed. It may be one of the people who has prepared you for confirmation or it may be a youth worker, a good friend, a relative, or a Godparent.
Text abridged from Church of England