For anyone who wishes to confirm their baptism (or ‘christening’) vows and their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ publicly, or if you are a parent investigating confirmation for your child, Jules the Rector runs a confirmation course from time to time. This page will help you to understand what Confirmation means, the commitments involved and what it looks like at St Peter’s.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you wish to ask further questions or want clarification about confirmation.
What does ‘confirmation’ mean?
Even though there is no evidence of confirmation in the Bible, it is a helpful way to strengthen someone’s faith. Within the Church of England we believe that while infant baptism signifies real membership within God’s people the child is only indirectly responsible to God and the church through his/her parents. Thus, the parents are the ones directly responsible to God for bringing up the child in the church community. However, when a child is of age to understand the meaning and significance of the baptism promises, we can offer confirmation. This is the moment when a child becomes a spiritual ‘adult’. At this point we recognise them to be able to stand on their own feet within the life of the church.
Like baptism, confirmation candidates make certain promises and commitments. In terms of lifestyle and priorities, they promise to live the kind of distinctive life Jesus calls us to live – to attend church weekly (the normal Christian practise) and live out the Christian life in godliness, truth and love … and they do so as ‘adult’ Christians. Because confirmation brings these commitments, confirmation preparation is mandatory if your child wants to be confirmed so that they have the opportunity to understand what they are promising and opt out if necessary.
At St Peter’s we don’t want to keep the teenagers in ‘spiritual nappies’ and seek to treat them as ‘adults’ in their own right (notwithstanding the legal responsibilities of parents). So we normally expect candidates to start taking a full and active part in the life of the church. We encourage them to use their gifts and talents to serve in various ways (eg handing out books, reading the lesson, leading the prayers, singing, music, etc). We would expect them to start attending Sunday services (not just Family Services), and especially Holy Communion services for which confirmation classes especially prepare them.
In God’s grace and with your support we hope and trust we will help to establish your child in a secure Christian faith throughout the (sometimes painful!) teenage years and stop the exodus that so often happens.