What is Confirmation?
When a person is baptised the following words, or similar, are addressed to them:
“Today, God has touched you with his love and given you a place among his people. God promises to be with you in joy and in sorrow, to be your guide in life, and to bring you safely to heaven. In baptism God invites you on a life-long journey. Together with all God's people you must explore the way of Jesus and grow in friendship with God, in love for his people, and in serving others. With us you will listen to the word of God and receive the gifts of God.”
Nothing can be added to our baptism - it is complete in itself and is the most important step on the journey of discipleship. However at an appropriate stage along this lifelong journey, those who are following the ways of Jesus Christ come to a settled view for themselves about how they want to live their lives. They then decide to make a public commitment and statement of this faith and accept that this will shape them and the way they will live. This decision is the basis of Confirmation.
Confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey at which you affirm for yourself the faith into which you have been baptized and your intention to live a life of committed discipleship. If baptism was about bringing us to a new beginning and releasing us from our past then confirmation is about sustaining and empowering us as we live out our lives with Jesus Christ at the centre.
What happens at a Confirmation Service?
This is a special service usually in your own community with family, friends and supporters. The service is led by a bishop. There are likely to be a number of other confirmation candidates and you will probably have come to know them well during the period of preparation discussions leading up to the service.
There are a number of parts to the Confirmation service:
Affirming the commitment made at baptism
If you were baptized as a child, your 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. At confirmation, you will renew these decisions and promises and confirm your own faith in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Signing with the cross – as happened at baptism
The bishop will make the sign of the cross on your forehead with oil. This is a sign of the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit. It is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him.
Laying on of Hands
The bishop prays over you and invites the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and understanding, counsel and strength. The wider Church community also prays that God will give you power and grace through the Holy Spirit to enable you to live in the way of Jesus.
It is normal for Confirmation to be followed straight away by Holy Communion, although in cases where confirmation has not taken place in a candidate's parish church they may instead take Communion for the first time in that church on the following Sunday. Some confirmation candidates may already have been taking communion.
Some Questions and Answers about Confirmation
Q. What is the right age for confirmation?
There is no right age for a person to be confirmed. Anyone may be confirmed who has been baptized, if they are old enough to answer for themselves.
Q. How can I tell if I am ready for confirmation?
People mature in their faith in different ways and at different ages. It is important that you come to Confirmation with firm personal conviction that it is right for you at this point in your life. You should pray about this.
Q. Can I receive communion without being confirmed?
Confirmation is about so much more than receiving the bread and wine. Anyone in preparation for Confirmation can receive communion as part of that preparation.
Q. What if I wasn't baptized as a child?
If you were not baptized as a child and want to make a commitment of faith, you might consider adult baptism or you can be baptized and confirmed in the same service or baptized shortly before your confirmation.
Q. What does it cost?
Confirmation is free.
Q. What happens during confirmation classes?
The purpose of Confirmation preparation is to ensure that those who are confirmed have a proper understanding of what it means to live as a disciple of Christ within the life of the Church of England.
What are the next steps in getting confirmed?
Find out more about what is involved.
The next confirmation service will be held during 2018
Although Confirmation services will happen locally usually once a year, there are other opportunities in other churches in the area.
There will be a series of discussions which will take place over several weeks prior to the service to help you to prepare for your confirmation. These discussions will give you every chance to explore issues and questions relating to your faith.
We look forward to welcoming you on this next exciting stage of your journey of faith.