Mike Claridge - 26th September 2011
Roundabout - October 2011
St Andrew's, west Bromwich
Once again it’s time to ask whether there is anyone else interested in being Confirmed and admitted to membership this year.
Confirmation is the opportunity to make for yourselves the promises that were made when someone was baptised (Christened) as a baby or child. On that occasion the promises would have been made by the parents and godparents on the child’s behalf. In the case of some people, who weren’t baptised before, they also need to be baptised. We can do that either at the Confirmation Service or quietly sometime beforehand.
Confirmation has other meanings too. In the Church of England it’s become associated with receiving Holy Communion for the first time. That’s happened somewhat by accident as it is possible, in certain circumstances, to receive Holy Communion without being baptised. In the Methodist Church it’s associated with being admitted into formal membership of that church as a organisation although both churches recognise that entry to the Christian faith itself is through baptism, whether that’s as a child or adult.
Who can be Confirmed?
Confirmation is open to all who are over the age of ten. In recent years however the majority of those Confirmed at St Andrew’s have been adults. In the last five years we’ve confirmed twelve adults and eight children (10 - 15 years). That looks like being the case this year too with four adults and one child “signed up” so far. There’s room for more!
Until a few years ago the vast majority being Confirmed were children or teenagers. They were usually prepared in formal Confirmation Classes and that gave rise to the idea that you had to learn certain things in an academic or structured way. I’ve heard of some strange subjects being covered too. I really don’t see that knowing the correct terms for traditional clergy vestments or the difference between a purificator and a pall or a hassock and a cassock is necessary for Confirmation!
I prefer to take a more informal approach where we can talk together about faith and learn from each other. That’s what we’ll be doing in the next few weeks and, if you’re interested in joining us, whether you’re thinking of being Confirmed or not, please come along anyway. It’d be good to see some of those who’ve already been Confirmed coming along too. We all have a contribution to make as we explore faith together.
When is it?
We’ll be holding our Confirmation Groups on Monday evenings starting on Monday 10th October at 7.30pm in church. The Confirmation and Membership Service itself will be on Sunday 4th December at 4.00pm. On that occasion we’ll be joined by The Rt Revd Clive Gregory (Bishop of Wolverhampton) and our own Revd Phil Thomas (Superintendent Minister, West Bromwich Methodist Circuit). In the service those being Confirmed will become Communicant members of both the Church of England and the Methodist Church.