The weekend of Feb 9, 2020, Bishop Todd will be visiting us in part to conduct a confirmation service. Wanda and I were confirmed along with the other Via clergy at our last Canon Conference. This was an incredibly powerful time for us, as Bishop Todd laid hands on us to impart the Holy Spirit afresh.
Regarding Confirmation, Thomas McKenzie who wrote the Anglican Way, writes this,
“In confirmation, a person affirms the promises made at baptism. In congregations where most people are baptized as babies, this is the first opportunity a person has to stand up and publicly profess their faith in Christ. Unlike baptism, which may be given based on the faith of other people, confirmation requires the thoughtful decision of the one being confirmed. Confirmation was practiced from the very early centuries of the church. It’s the rite by which people who have been previously baptized are released into ministry through the laying on of hands by the bishop.”
Confirmation is modelled after the actions of the apostles in Jerusalem when they heard that the gospel had been received by the Samaritans – Acts 8:14-17. Today, bishops stand in the place of the Apostles. At the confirmation service a person who has already been baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is presented. and the bishop prays, “Strengthen, O Lord, your servant with your Holy Spirit; empower him for your service; and sustain him all the days of his life.” The Holy Spirit will, we trust, answer this prayer.
Confirmation is usually seen as the step that makes someone an official member of the larger Anglican Church. Historically, people are prepared for confirmation by studying a catechism. The confirmand should be instructed in the essentials of the faith. In some parishes, faithful participation in worship, as well as service to the poor, are also required.
Like other sacramental acts, confirmation comes with a physical action and a spiritual grace. The physical action happens when the bishop lays his hands on the confirmand’s head. The spiritual grace is the impartation of the Holy Spirit for the confirmand’s life andministry. Confirmation isn’t required of the Christian; and confirmation isn’t necessary to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given in baptism because, unlike the Samaritans in Acts 8, we baptize in the Name of the Trinity, not just the Name of Jesus. But there is something special and important about confirmation. It’s a connection to the Apostles, and to Christ himself, that we don’t experience in any other way.
In preparation for a confirmation service with Bishop Todd, Sunday Feb. 9th, we will be holding confirmation classes the evenings of Jan 18th and 26th. The class will run twice, choose one to attend. We will discuss the biblical foundation for confirmation, the larger context of the Anglican Communion and sacrament theology and give you a clear understanding of what to expect at the confirmation service.
Please reserve these dates - Jan 18, 26 and Feb 9th weekend in your calendar as we take another step on the Via journey