Episcopal Confirmation

Episcopal Confirmation
The Episcopal Church, or the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America is the Province of the Anglican Communion in the U.S., Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and the British Virgin Islands.  The church was organized after the American Revolution when clergy were required to sweat allegiance to the British monarch on penalty of treason.  Today the Episcopal Church is divided into nine provinces and had dioceses in Taiwan, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Europe.
           
Since the 1960's and 70's the Episcopal Church has been a leader of the progressive movement, supporting civil rights and affirmative action while being opposed to the death penalty.  The church calls for full equality of homosexual couples.  Most dioceses ordain gay men and women and same-sex unions are celebrated but no diocese currently permits same sex-marriage (even in the states where such marriage is legal).  The church remains nuanced on question of abortion.  Many members and clergy disagree with the position of the church.
           
The Episcopal Church also ordains women into the priesthood the diaconate and the episcopate.
           
In the Episcopal Church confirmation is no longer seen as a completion of baptism nor is confirmation a prerequisite for receiving communion.  There is a great deal of diversity of understanding and practice concerning Episcopalian Confirmation.  Confirmation is described as a 'rite seeking a theology'.
           
Confirmation candidates much express a mature commitment to Chris and
receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.  To ensure that candidates understand the full meaning of this some dioceses require their confirmation candidates to be at least sixteen years of age.
           
Members who were baptized at an early age or as adults are expected to make a mature public statement affirming their faith and a recommitment to the responsibilities of their baptism.  Adults who are baptized with the laying on of hands by the bishop are considered confirmed.
           
Preparation for confirmation in the Episcopal Church is found in 'the Prayer Book Rite for Confirmation'.  It includes forms for Reception and the Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows.  Some diocese will accept those who have already made a mature Christian commitment in another denomination.  In some diocese those having been sacramentally confirmed in the Roman Catholic or Orthodox churched are received.  People who return from a time of religious inactivity to active faith are asked to publically reaffirm their baptismal vows.  Anyone who experiences a desire to renew their Christian commitment may reaffirm their baptismal vows.
Confirmation in the Episcopal Church asks candidates for Confirmation, Reception and Reaffirmation to be presented in groups by their presenters.  Some may have individual presenters but it is not necessary the presenters be members of the clergy.  The candidates renounce evil and renew their commitment to Jesus Christ. The reaffirm the promises made by or for them at their baptism and the congregation promises to do all it can to support the candidates in their life in Christ.  The bishop leads the congregation in prayer and renewal of the baptism covenant.  He lays hands upon them and blesses them and then he may shake hands with them to welcome them into the church community.

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