Confirmation is the sacramental rite in which persons “Express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop” (BCP, p. 860)
Those who were baptized at an early age and those baptized as adults without laying on of hands by a bishop are expected to make a mature public affirmation of their faith, recommit themselves to the responsibilities of their baptism, and receive laying on of hands by a bishop (BCP, p. 412). Adults baptized with the laying on of hands by a bishop are considered to be confirmed.
How it Works
Those at St. John’s preparing for confirmation, whether youth or adults, meet in a series of classes with the clergy, who give instruction on the nature of the Christian life, particularly as outlined in our Baptismal Covenant, as well as the nature of what it means to be an Episcopalian Christian. This time of preparation culminates in a service with the Bishop of our Diocese, either at St. John’s, or at a nearby church, where family and friends, along with sponsors from the parish, accompany the confirmands. During this celebration of the Eucharist and renewal of baptismal vows, the confirmands receive the laying on of hands by the bishop.
The Episcopal Church’s theology of Confirmation has continued to evolve along with its understanding of baptism. Confirmation is no longer seen as the completion of Christian initiation, nor is Confirmation a prerequisite for receiving communion. Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s body the church (BCP, p. 298). Accordingly, Confirmation has been increasingly understood in terms of a mature, public reaffirmation of the Christian faith and the baptismal promises. Some dioceses require that candidates for Confirmation be at least sixteen years old to insure that the candidates are making a mature and independent affirmation of their faith.