Confirmation

Confirmation by the Bishop has traditionally been a significant event in the lives of young people approaching adulthood. This is the occasion on which they assume responsibility for living in accordance with the promises made by their parents and godparents on their behalf when they were baptised.

Recent years have seen some significant changes in the way the Church understands Baptism. Baptism is the rite in and through which new members are initiated into the Church; they become full members of the Body of Christ immediately. Confirmation is no longer understood as completing the process of initiation begun at Baptism. Rather, it is a reaffirmation of the promises made and the blessings bestowed in Baptism. For this reason Confirmation is now known more correctly as "Affirmation of Holy Baptism".

As Baptism is now recognised as the complete rite of initiation into the Church; at whatever age it is administered, and those baptised immediately become full members of the Church, Confirmation is no longer required before participating in Holy Communion or the Eucharist. Baptised children are admitted to Communion as soon as the Rector and parents agree that this would be appropriate, that they are in a process of Christian growth and learning, and have acquired some understanding of their faith, and appreciation of what the Eucharist symbolises. Baptised adults are welcome to participate in the Eucharist irrespective of whether they are baptised.

While Baptism is the complete rite of Christian initiation, the Church recognises that, as children grow into adulthood, they need to take progressive responsibility for living out the baptismal promises made on their behalf in their infancy. For this reason the service of Affirmation of Holy Baptism is provided, presided over by the Bishop wherever possible. This is not a rite of initiation, but is available to baptised Christians at any stage in their lives when they wish to reaffirm their Christian commitment. It is therefore in principle repeatable, rather than a "once for all" event - much in the same way as we traditionally renew our baptismal promises at Easter. Nevertheless, this is an important stage in children's lives of Christian discipleship as they approach adulthood. To prepare them for this, we provide a course of preparation, which is an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the faith and to grow in their lives of Christian discipleship, a process in which we pray that they will continue for the rest of their lives.

While adolescence is a traditional time for Confirmation, the service of Affirmation of Holy Baptism is available to baptised Christians at any stage in their lives. Anyone who would like to make use of this opportunity is invited to contact the Rector.
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