Congratulations on wanting to explore confirmation. It is important to see confirmation as a part of your journey in faith in Christ and not in isolation.
Prior to confirmation, you will be invited to attend a confirmation course. This is a good way to explore your faith with others who are also thinking about confirmation and is a safe place to ask any questions you have about God, Jesus and the journey of faith.
What is Confirmation?
Confirmation marks the point in your Christian journey where you wish to affirm for yourself the faith into which you were baptized, and your intention to live a life of committed Christian discipleship. This affirmation is confirmed through prayer and the laying on of hands by the confirming bishop. The Church also asks God to give you power through the Holy Spirit to enable you to live in the way of Jesus.
What happens at the Confirmation service?
The Confirmation service is led by the bishop, and will either take place during the main Sunday service at Saint Michael’s, or at a special service elsewhere, such as the Minster or in another local church within the deanery.
There will be a rehearsal before the confirmation service so that you understand everything that happens in the service. The vicar will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move to the front. Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join in; others will be for just you and the other confirmation candidates.
Most of the confirmation service will normally take place at the front, but for the renewal of baptism promises, candidates may be asked by the bishop to gather around the font.
The bishop will speak to every candidate by name saying:
“God has called you by name and made you his own.”
He will then lay his hands upon the head of each candidate, saying:
“Confirm, O Lord, your servant with your Holy Spirit.”
Making decisions and promises
When you were baptized as a child, your parents and godparents were asked to declare publicly on your behalf that they believed in God and that they would bring you up to follow Jesus. They were also asked whether they had decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ. At confirmation, you will renew these decisions and promises for yourself.
The declarations made by you will be made in front of the church congregation – the local Christian community – who will promise to support you and pray for you.
Signs and symbols
• The sign of the cross – the bishop will make the sign of the cross on your forehead
with oil. This is a sign of the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. It is like an invisible
badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to
stand up for their faith in him.
The role of sponsors
At Baptism, Godparents stood alongside your parents to make the same promises on your behalf. At confirmation you may be asked if you would like a sponsor to stand with you as a symbol of their journeying with you in faith. Usually this is someone who has previously been confirmed. It may be one of the people who has prepared you for confirmation, or it may be a youth worker, a good friend, a relative, or a Godparent.
It is normal for Confirmation to be followed straight away by Holy Communion, although in cases where confirmation has not taken place in a candidate’s parish church they may instead take Communion for the first time in that church on the following Sunday.
Please follow the link below for answers to specific questions.
Part of the material contained within this page is copyright © 2011 Archbishops’ Council