Confirmation – Reception – Reaffirmation

Bible by Aaron Burden

Is This For Me?

What is Confirmation?

Perhaps the best way to understand the sacrament of Confirmation is that it is an adult commitment to Jesus Christ made in the presence of a Bishop.  I looked in my thesaurus for synonyms for confirmation and found these parallel words: verification, affirmation, authorization.  All of these words apply to what happens in Confirmation.

Verification: First the Bishop asks you a series of questions to verify that your faith is authentic, that you profess to believe what the first Christian disciples, and every generation thereafter, believed—that Jesus Christ is the living God who created the world, came to earth by being born of the virgin Mary, was crucified and willingly accepted the punishment for our sins, rose from death, returned to Heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit to be our strength and guide.

Affirmation: Then the Bishop affirms your faith by laying hands on you and praying for you. Why is the “laying on of hands” so significant?  We believe it is a physical connection that goes all the way back to Jesus Christ and the first disciples (this connection is known as Apostolic Succession).  The Bishop is a successor to the original twelve Apostles who knew Jesus when He lived on earth.  When he lays hands on you, as hands were laid on him, the Bishop is affirming that you are one of Jesus’ disciples.

Authorization: When the Bishop prays for you he says this: “Strengthen, O Lord, with your Holy Spirit, your servant; empower him for your service; and sustain him all the days of his life. Amen.”  As a disciple, you have a job to do.  Jesus Christ wants to make a difference throughyour life.  How do you make a difference?  You continue to grow as a disciple, you serve others in the name of Jesus Christ, and you tell other people about Jesus Christ, what He has done for them, and how they can have a relationship with Him.  This is what you are authorized to do as Jesus’ disciple.

What is Reception?

If you were previously confirmed in the Episcopal Church, Roman Catholic Church, or one of the Orthodox Churches (Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc.), then the Anglican Church in North America recognizes your confirmation as being in the same apostolic succession, and the equivalent of Anglican Confirmation.  If you desire to continue as a disciple of Jesus Christ within the Anglican Communion, then the Bishop will receive you into this communion. Rather than Laying hands upon you, the Bishop will take your hand and say to you: “Strengthen, O Lord, with your Holy Spirit, your servant, whom we recognize as a member of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and receive into the fellowship of this communion. Empower him for your service; and sustain him all the days of his life.  Amen.”

What is Reaffirmation of Faith?

Many confirmed persons find, at one or more times in their lives, that they desire to publicly reaffirm their faith in Jesus Christ and rededicate themselves to being His disciple.  For such times as these the church offers Reaffirmation of Faith, which is also done when the Bishop is present.  Rather than Laying hands upon you, the Bishop will take your hand and say to you: “The Holy Spirit, who has begun a good work in you, direct and empower you by his grace, that you may continue in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ all the days of your life.  Amen.”

So When Does All This Happen?

We are starting classes this fall to prepare anyone who desires to be confirmed or received.  This class is also open to anyone who is not ready for Confirmation or Reception, but is interested in learning more about the history and beliefs of Anglicanism.

Please call the church office at 432-683-9292 or sign up in the Atrium if you are interested in attending this class.  If you have any questions, please speak with Father Henry.

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