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Sacraments 4    Confirmation1

So often seen as a young person’s “passing out parade”, confirmation seems to have lost its way in the modern church. Only a few of our people are being confirmed – nothing like the numbers decades ago. Many areas of a bishop’s work have expanded, but confirmations are much reduced.

Some still view it as the gateway to communion, which it certainly has become in the Church of England, but clearly isn’t in other traditions. Even the Church of England, in some places, is now departing from that connection – and is sometimes admitting children to communion ahead of confirmation.

Some also think it makes you a member of the church – but technically baptism does that. Confirmation completes the process by allowing you to take it on yourself as a firm personal commitment.

Confirmation is the moment when two things are confirmed. The candidate confirms his/her faith in Christ and takes full responsibility for that faith and for membership of the community of faith which we call the “church”. God, through the Bishop, confirms God’s claim on the candidate’s life.

Whatever happens at confirmation, the moment for those who are confirmed is a significant one because they take a step of faith. Like some others in the list, this is a once for all sacrament. You’re only confirmed once in a lifetime2, though some, coming in from other denominations3, find confirmation much like what they did as an affirmation of their faith in their own church years before.

If you are confirmed, take the opportunities the church occasionally provides [like renewing baptism vows at Easter] to review and renew your commitment to the faith you declared years ago.