Herriard with Winslade, Tunworth, Upton Grey, Weston Patrick
An Introduction to Confirmation
In the early church and in the New Testament, becoming a Christian usually involved a single ceremony for adults and perhaps their families. The ceremony involved cleansing and renewal (being baptised in water) and strengthening for the Christian life by receiving God’s Holy Spirit.
Over centuries this unified rite became split into two. Baptism, usually done when a very young baby, was done by the parish priest. This was then “confirmed”, usually when a young adult, by the laying on of hands and giving of the Holy Spirit by the bishop. The Confirmation was seen as the young adult making the commitment to follow Christ for themselves which had been made on their behalf at their baptism when they were babies.
Whilst nowadays many people are still baptised as babies, many are not. Now, therefore, often baptism and Confirmation take place at the same time. In addition, many people do not take the decision to be confirmed until later in life – this can bring a real richness of experience to the commitment of Confirmation – relating one’s own experience of life to an understanding of the Christian faith and the saving power of Christ.
Confirmation groups meet as and when the need arises. There is usually a group for young adults in their early teens and one for adults. The aim is to explore together the Christian faith and the emphasis is on sharing and learning from one another’s experience of faith. We explore three main areas – what Christians believe, how we grow in faith and how we are called to live. The course, unless there is some reason for urgency when it can be shorter, lasts about 15 sessions spread over 4 months or so.
The Confirmation service is taken by one of the Bishops in the diocese. Every two years or so we try to arrange a Confirmation within the area covered by our local churches. However, if individuals wish to be confirmed in between these times, it is relatively easy to join in a Confirmation service at another anglican church.
If you would like to explore the possibility of being confirmed or would like to know more, please contact the Rector,