Confirmation includes a public profession of the faith which, for those baptised as infants, was confessed by parents and God-parents at baptism. It is also a means of grace, a sacramental gift where the bishop prays that one may be confirmed or strengthened by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The Anglican Church administers confirmation in response to the example of the Apostles laying their hands on disciples of Christ and praying for the gift of the Spirit (Acts 7.14-17) and New Testament teaching about the sealing or anointing of the Holy Spirit (Heb. 6:2, Eph. 1:13,14, 2 Cor. 1:21).
The following description of Confirmation is from a book of pre-Reformation homilies: ‘In Baptism he was born again spiritually to live, in Confirmation he is made bold to fight. There he received remission of sin, here he receiveth increase of Grace. In Baptism he was chosen to be God’s son, and an inheritor of His heavenly kingdom: in Confirmation God shall give him His Holy Spirit to be his Mentor, to instruct him and perfect him, that he lose not by his folly that inheritance which he is called unto.’
The gifts of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation mark that point in our Christian life when we are prepared to make for ourselves the solemn profession of faith and ‘other centredness’ which others made for us at our baptism. Confirmation takes place with the “laying on of hands” by the Bishop. Confirmation is traditionally thought to be the completion of the rite of Christian initiation and thus an appropriate preparation before receiving Holy Communion.
On the day we now celebrate as the feast of Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples had gathered in a room, anxious and fearful, unable to make meaning of the suffering and death of their Lord. The Holy Spirit came to them, changing them from ordinary people who loved God to people who would bring His message of hope and love to a disbelieving world. In Confirmation, that same Spirit enters our lives in this active way. We commit ourselves to a growing, deepening relationship with God, and to the responsibilities that go with it.
Young people should be of an age when they can ponder serious questions about God and the church. They must be willing and able to think about the Holy Communion . not to understand it, but to accept that it is a mystery. For many young people, an age between 11 and 14 often seems right.
Others ask to be confirmed as adults, finding in the preparation and the solemn service a time to make a conscious response to God’s calling and gifts. Many have been baptized as infants, but found it takes years to really feel faith “on the inside” and desire Confirmation.
If you were or are about to be baptised as an adult (adult baptism was the way of the Church for about the first three hundred years), preparing for Confirmation shortly after will deepen your knowledge of the faith and bring to you the strengthening of God’s Holy Spirit.
Preparing for Confirmation is an opportunity for questioning and learning. No aspect of the faith is “off-limits” to your sincere and honest enquiry as you prepare for Confirmation. The Rector, or fellow Christians who travel the same road, have the same needs and questions as you, will listen and teach as you prepare for Confirmation. Expect to spend some time each week for six to eight weeks as preparation, in a small group or one-on-one, usually in the months of January to March. Confirmation by the Bishop normally takes place at St. George’s in February, as part of a celebration of Holy Communion. Those Confirmed will also receive our Lord’s gift of himself in the sacrament of the Eucharist, perhaps for the first time. It is something to remember for the rest of your life.
“The gift of the Holy Spirit closes the last gap between the life of God and ours & When we allow the love of God to move in us, we can no longer distinguish ours and his; he becomes us. He lives in us. It is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit, the beginning of our being made divine.” – Austin Farrer
What to do:
Contact the Priest, Fr Christopher Snook, after a service, or through the office by calling 902-423-1059.