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About Confirmation

What is Confirmation? Confirmation is the sacramental rite in which the baptized Christian expresses a mature commitment to Christ, and receives strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 860)

When are Confirmations held? Since the Bishop is the chief sacramental officer, and a Bishop is the only order of ministry who may confirm, it is appropriate to have confirmations take place on the occasion of the Bishop’s Annual Visitation to the parish (this varies from year to year). Confirmations also may occur regionally within the diocese. Ask the priest for specific dates.

What is required of those to be Confirmed? It is required of those to be confirmed that they have already been baptized, are sufficiently instructed in the Christian Faith, are penitent for their sins, and are ready to affirm their confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 860)

What is involved in Confirmation? Confirmation is accomplished through the making of solemn vows (Baptismal Covenant) followed by the laying on of hands by the bishop with prayers for the strength of the Holy Spirit. This is done within the context of a public worship service.

How do I arrange for a Confirmation? The person aspiring to be confirmed should contact the priest directly. Arrangements are then made for the candidate to attend a series of instructional sessions in preparation for the rite.

What is a Confirmation Sponsor? Sponsors of adults signify their endorsement of the candidates and their intention to support them by prayer and example in their Christian life.

Who may be a Sponsor? Any Baptized & Confirmed/Received Episcopalian may sponsor a candidate. It is preferred that at least one sponsor be a confirmed member of St. James. In the case of married adults, it is appropriate for a spouse (if eligible) to be among the sponsors. 

Do I have to be Confirmed? Holy Baptism constitutes full membership within Christ’s Body, the Church. However, in the course of Christian development, those baptized at an early age (regardless of denomination) are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by a bishop. Those baptized as adults, unless baptized with the laying on of hands by a bishop, are also expected to make a public affirmation of their faith and commit to the responsibilities of their Baptism in the presence of a bishop and to receive the laying on of hands.

Note: Those previously confirmed in other apostolic traditions (i.e. Roman Catholic, or Lutheran) are expected be ‘received’ into the communion by the bishop rather than be confirmed. A different preparation is required of those preparing for reception.

What is the fee for Confirmation? The administration of the sacramental rite of Confirmation is a part of the pastoral ministry of the parish and diocese. No fee for the services of the clergy (priest or bishop) or the use of the church is expected. We hope that you will continue to regularly participate in the life of the parish and honor your baptismal vows.

Can I be Re-Confirmed? Confirmation is typically done once in a lifetime. However, there are times when one would derive spiritual benefit from going through the process of making a public affirmation before a bishop and having special prayers for strength and guidance. This is called the ‘Reaffirmation’ of Baptismal Vows. See the priest if you desire to have your baptismal reaffirmed individually and formally.

What if I am unsure whether Confirmation is right for me? Speak to the priest in order to determine which Sacramental Rite (Confirmation, Reception, or the Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows) is right for you.

Other questions? Please feel free to ask the priest about specific questions regarding Confirmation, Reception, Reaffirmation and other aspects of the Episcopal Church.