Confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey at which you affirm for yourself the promises which were made on your behalf by your parents and Godparents when you were baptised and confirms your intention to live a life of committed 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.
Confirmation is a decision made by the individual seeking confirmation and is not normally carried out in the Church of England for people who are not old enough to make that decision for them. There is no right age for a person to be confirmed.
Anyone may be confirmed who has been baptized, if they are old enough to answer responsibly for themselves. In many dioceses, however, the diocesan bishop has set a minimum age for Confirmation. If this is the case the vicar will be able to tell you what the minimum age is. As a general rule anyone who is over 10 years old and can answer for themselves could be ready for confirmation but the right time for you might be at any age. There is no upper age limit.
It is worth noting that the traditional Church of England pattern of initiation is changing in three ways:
- First, in most dioceses provision now exists, subject to agreement by the bishop, the parish priest and the congregation or the Parochial Church Council, for children who have not been confirmed to receive Holy Communion after appropriate instruction provided that this is in the context of a programme of continuing nurture leading to confirmation.
- Secondly, increasing numbers of people who have been baptised as infants are not being confirmed as teenagers but are being confirmed later as adults, often either as part of a journey to Christian faith or as part of a return to it.
- Thirdly, increasing numbers of people are not being baptized as infants, but are being baptized when they come to faith when they are older. In this case provision is made for a return to the older Western pattern with baptism, confirmation and receiving the Eucharist taking place in the same service.
What this means is that there are now a number of different patterns of Christian initiation in the Church of England.
Our confirmation preparation programme for young people consists of about eight, weekly sessions of one to one and a half hours after school. It incorporates a short period of worship, teaching, discussion, activities and refreshments. The individuals are expected to attend every session and complete the homework tasks which enrich the experience and help their families to be involved and provide support. The adult preparation usually involves two or three evening sessions. The church makes no charge for confirmations.
Click here for details of this year’s confirmations.