St. Stephen’s offers a number of possibilities for adults wishing formally and publicly to affirm their faith. (See the tab under “Kids” for confirmation preparation among highschoolers.) All of these rites are administered by the Bishop and require consultation and preparation with the clergy. Here are some explanations of these terms.
What is Confirmation?
Confirmation is a rite in which a baptized Christian is strengthened for a life of faith. It is appropriate for young adults or adults who were baptized as infants but who, later in life, wish to affirm their Christian faith and receive the laying on of hands by the Bishop, a gesture denoting God’s special blessing upon them.
Once associated with older children and younger teens, confirmation is most appropriate for those mature enough to enter into a full understanding of the responsibilities of the Christian life.
Reaffirmation of Faith
An Affirmation of Faith is a rite for Christians desiring to make public declaration of their faith, perhaps after some years of absence or following an experience of spiritual conversion or awakening. This declaration is made before the Bishop and may or may not entail the laying on of hands.
Reception is the rite whereby a Christian formerly confirmed by a “Bishop in Apostolic Succession” (i.e. Roman Catholic Bishop or an Orthodox Bishop) is to be received and welcomed into the Anglican Church by the Bishop.
People who have been confirmed, but in a Protestant Tradition may be confirmed within the Anglican Church if they are to understand themselves as confirmed within the Anglican tradition. Confirmation in some Protestant traditions is generally not understood to be a Sacrament, but rather a rite of adult inclusion. The fact that Protestant confirmation is not equivalent to Anglican confirmation is largely because of our differing understandings of the historic episcopate. To be confirmed by an Anglican bishop does not require or imply that any prior confirmation experience was invalid or spiritually deficient.
The Anglican Church does not require the rite of confirmation, but sometimes it is significant in the life of a believer to mark outwardly a transformation that has happened inwardly, resulting in this change of membership.
Please express your interest in any of these rites to our clergy.