What is Confirmation?
When you were baptised (christened) as a baby, your parents and Godparents made promises on your behalf. In the Church of England, once you are old enough, you should reaffirm those promises for yourself and receive the sacrament of Confirmation.
Confirmation is a sign of God’s gifts to us and of his abundant love of us. It seals the gifts that were given at baptism and gives us the grace to follow Jesus as fully mature Christians.
Generally, it is only possible to receive Holy Communion once you are confirmed, as you fully enter the sacramental life of the Church.
What happens at Confirmation?
The Bishop is the minister of Confirmation, his presence links you with the universal Church, both across the world and through the ages.
Two important actions happen at Confirmation:
The Bishop lays his hand on the candidate for Confirmation saying, ‘Confirm, O Lord, your servant with your Holy Spirit’. We believe that the Holy Spirit is given to each candidate in a personal way, giving them the power to live and bear witness for Christ.
The Bishop anoints the candidate with the holy oil of Chrism. This a special, sweet smelling oil consecrated by the Bishop on Maundy Thursday. It is a sign that the confirmed person belongs to God and that they are sealed with Holy Spirit to withstand life’s adversities.
Preparing for Confirmation.
Candidates can come to Confirmation at any age over nine years old. Some people are confirmed as young adults; many come to confirmation later in life. We’re never too old to receive this gift of love from God!
Confirmation is a serious undertaking and for that reason requires thought, prayer and preparation. A group preparing for Confirmation usually meets together, guided by one of the parish clergy, for a number of weeks prior to the Confirmation. These groups provide an opportunity to explore the Christian faith and to meet with others at a similar stage of Christian life. Don’t worry – there is no ‘test’ at the end. We are called to love God with our heart, soul, and mind. Ultimately we will never understand everything of God; we just have to be willing to ask God to guide us as we grow in faith.
What if I am not baptised?
Baptism is the first sacrament to be received in the Christian life together with Confirmation. You can be baptised and confirmed at the same service.
The Sacrament of Penance
If you were baptised as a baby it may be appropriate to receive the sacrament of penance, (commonly called Confession), before Confirmation.
We all have sins to deal with – Confession is God’s way of reassuring us that he loves us whatever we have done in our life and now repent of. It is a normal part of life in the Church, not something unusual. One of the parish clergy will be happy to prepare you for this sacrament if you would like receive the assurance of God’s forgiveness for past sins.
Confirmation at Holy Trinity.
Confirmation services are generally held once a year at Holy Trinity, and are planned well in advance as they require the presence of a bishop.
If you feel that God is calling you to a deeper commitment in the Christian life then please do contact one of the parish clergy who will be happy to help you take this joyful step in the pilgrimage of faith.