Battersea Deanery (the Church of England churches in this area) are hosting a Confirmation Service later this term, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to write up some of my thoughts about confirmation and invite you to consider whether you’re interested in being confirmed.
Confirmation is a chance for anyone who has already been baptised (perhaps baptised as a child) to commit themselves to Jesus – to ‘confirm’ the promises made at their baptism. These promises publicly recognise God’s love for us, and acknowledge that we all need to turn away from selfishness and evil and to accept God's offer of a fresh start with him. In declaring this faith we become a members of the local and worldwide Christian family and the Church promises to support and pray for us on our journey of faith. Confirmation is also an opportunity for those who don’t already receive communion, perhaps children or those new to church, to start taking communion with the rest of the church family.
In the Bible, baptism with water and praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands were originally both used to welcome new Christians into faith in Jesus. Over the centuries they are now often done separately, with many people being baptised in water as children and then confirming their faith later when they are old enough to answer for themselves.
Confirmation services are led by the bishop, and there will be a rehearsal beforehand to make sure everyone is familiar with what will happen during the service. There will be sung worship, scripture, a talk, prayers and an opportunity for candidates to declare their faith and be prayed for individually by the bishop.
Those being confirmed declare that they have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ - the same promises used at baptism. If you were baptised as a young child your godparents will have made these promises on your behalf and you will renew these decisions and promises at Confirmation. You will declare your faith in front members of St Peter’s and your local Christian community throughout the Deanery, who will promise to support you and pray for you. You may have a sponsor, as you would at a baptism, to stand with you to support you in your journey of faith.
The bishop will make the sign of the cross on your forehead with oil. The cross as a sign of belonging to Christ, and the oil as a sign of the Holy Spirit. The bishop will speak to each candidate by name saying: (name), God has called you by name and made you his own. He then lays his hand of the head of each as he prays: Confirm, O Lord, your servant with your Holy Spirit.
Anyone may be confirmed who has been baptised, and as a general rule the Church of England suggests that anyone who is over 10 years old and can answer for themselves could be ready for confirmation. If you would like to be confirmed it’s important that you have a strong personal conviction that it is right for you at this point in your life and you will need to attend some confirmation classes to help you prepare. Do pray about it and you could ask members of your CG or Christians who know you well to pray with you. Come and speak to Kaf or Patrick, and you are welcome to come along to our confirmation classes to find out more even if you’re not sure at the moment.
- Maybe you’ve been baptised as a child but would like to make the promises for yourself now you’re older.
- Maybe you’ve been baptised and following Jesus for a while but would like to make a fresh commitment to be a disciple of Jesus now.
- Maybe you’ve been baptised in another church and would like to formally become a member of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide body of which the Church of England is just one member.
- Maybe you’re interested in making this commitment to Jesus but haven’t been baptised. We have a baptism service in October, and maybe both baptism and confirmation are right for you this time.
The Confirmation Service will be with Bishop Richard, the Bishop of Kingston, and is at St Mary’s Church (up past Battersea Square on the river) on Sunday 5th November at 4pm. Baptisms will be at the end of October (date tbc). Please let me know if you’re interested or would like to find out more.
by Kaf Smith