Confirmation is the sacramental moment when a baptized person expresses “a mature commitment to Christ,” and receives “strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop” (BCP, p. 860).
Older children, youth or adults (as appropriate) who were baptized as infants are expected to be confirmed after a period of preparation. This represents the individuals choice to take up for themselves the promises made for by their parents and godparents at baptism. Those who were baptized as adults, but who did not receive the laying on of hands by a bishop are expected to be confirmed.
Preparation for confirmation includes giving the candidate the information and tools necessary to discover the meaning of Christian commitment in their own lives. This preparation will include instruction and reflection on Christian faith, history, and practice with special attention given to the content of the baptismal covenant (see below).
Confirmation or similar rites undertaken in other Christian traditions may be recognized as confirmation in the Episcopal Church. If an adult has made a public affirmation of faith in another sacramental denomination, they may be received by a bishop in the Episcopal Church. The service for reception is included in the service for confirmation (BCP pp. 309-310).
If a confirmed member of the church has undergone a renewal of their faith, or if they have come back to the church after a time away, they are invited to reaffirm their faith. The service for reaffirmation is also included in the service of confirmation (BCP pp. 309-310).
Confirmation, reception, and reaffirmation all occur within the context of baptism, with reference to the Baptismal Covenant (BCP, pp. 304-305). In a very real sense, when you are confirmed, received, or make a reaffirmation, you are publicly expressing the fact that you understand, receive, and “sign-on” to the Baptismal Covenant.
Click here to see the text of the Baptismal Covenant.
If you are interested in confirmation, reception or reaffirmation, or would like further information, please email Fr. James.