Confirmation Anglican

Confirmation Anglican

In the Anglican (or Church of England) Baptism and Confirmation are considered part of the wider picture of God's saving activity.

It is widely accepted, through numerous scripture writings that at his Baptism in the Jordan Jesus Christ identified himself with other sinner who came to be baptized by John. Christ's identification climaxed when Christ was crucified. He died allowing human nature, dominated by sin to perish. A new form of human nature free from sin and death was replaced at his resurrection. Forty days after his resurrection Christ ascended into heaven and from heaven he sent the Holy Spirit from God the Father on Pentecost. Meaning that this relationship, the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, between God the Father and Christ and through Christ to us, is a relationship of total love and obedience and is open to all humans through the Spirits presence within them.

In the early history of Christianity the good news of the Lord was spread through patterns eventually referred to as 'Christian Initiation'. In the early churches the initiation process was similar although varied according to culture.
Many Christians began to take instruction known as 'catechesis' and at the end of the instruction a special ceremony (generally around Easter or Pentecost) was presided over by the bishop. Those having completed the instruction renounced evil, confessed their faith, were baptized with water in the name of God, the Father and the Holy Spirit and then they were blessed through the bishop by the laying on of hands and an anointing with oil. Afterward, they were admitted to Holy Communion with the congregation.

Over time, however, infant baptism was accepted and with infant baptism came a break in the direct link between baptism and admission to communion. And as the church grew both geographically and numerically it became more and more difficult for the bishop to be present at all baptisms. Eventually, baptisms began to be administered by the parish priests while the bishop continued in less frequent periodic trips to administer confirmation.

During the Reformation the Church of England (Anglican) retained the ritual of baptizing during infancy for these reasons: 1. Infant baptism is a practice retained from the earliest days of the Church; 2. The Church of England believes that God's grace precedes and enables our human response; 3. The Gospels tell that Jesus welcomed and blessed all infants brought to him (Mark 10:13-15). In infant baptism is continued in Christ's way; 4. The Bible tells that the children of believers are a part of God's family. Therefore, the Church of England feels it is right for children to receive an individual sign of acceptance.

Throughout the history of confirmation the traditional Church of England has experienced frequent changes. Today, children who have not been confirmed may receive Holy Communion after appropriate instruction. Increasing numbers who were baptized as infants are not being confirmed while there is an additional increase in those who are baptized and confirmed as adults in the same ceremony. No matter the change these instances still contain the four essential elements that welcome persons into God's family.

In the Anglican (Church of England) Confirmation as a rite separated from baptism marks the time when those baptized affirm their faith and intent to live a responsible life committed to discipleship. Through prayer and the laying on of hands the bishops asks God to live this way through the Holy Spirit.

There are two types of confirmation service through the Church of England, that of 'The Book of Common Prayer' and the pattern of confirmation contained in 'Common Worship'.

The Book of Common Prayer consists of a declaration by the candidates to renew the solemn promise and vow made on their behalf at their baptism, the laying on of hands by the bishop prayer.

The Common Worship Confirmation rite begins with the bishop asking the candidates whether they are ready to be baptized and if they willingly affirm their faith to Jesus Christ. The candidates are invited to give a brief testimony to God's intervention in their lives to this point. The bishop then requests the candidates to renounce the devil and all his evil. The candidates not baptized are then baptized by the bishop and then all present recite the Apostles Creed as an expression of faith. And then the bishops leads the congregation in prayer based on the words of Isaiah (11:12)

Confirmation generally takes place in the church or cathedral where the candidates normally attend. Sometimes candidates are confirmed from a number of separate parishes at one ceremony.

According to the Canon laws of the Church of England those who receive Holy Communion should either have been confirmed or should be ready with the desire to be confirmed. Those who have been baptized and are in good standing with other churches are welcome to receive Holy Communion in the Church of England.

The Canon laws state that all ordained ministers, readers and licensed lay workers must be confirmed. Also, the last state that Christians from other churches where confirmation is not performed must be confirmed if they wish to be admitted into the Anglican Church or Church of England. Those who have been confirmed by a bishop in churches recognized and accepted by the Church of England are accepted into the Church of England without being reconfirmed.

The practice of Joint Confirmation is interpreted as holding the service of confirmation in the Church of England together with one or more other churches that practice confirmation and accept the Anglican rite, such as Methodist, United Reformed, Moravian or Lutheran Church. Joint confirmation with Roman Catholic Churches is not permitted.

While during the 16th Century some Anglicans believed confirmation not to be a sacrament, today, most Anglicans (especially those of Anglo-Catholic faith) believe Confirmation to be one of the Seven Sacraments.

confirmation anglican



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