There will be a service of adult Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation on Sunday, April 29 at 2pm at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Minneapolis. If you’re an adult who has joined St. John’s as a member but never been confirmed an Episcopalian, or if you were confirmed in another denomination and would like to be received, this is a wonderful opportunity to take that step. If you have been confirmed or received, you may want to participate in the Rite of Reaffirmation and recommit publicly to the Christian life.
Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation of Baptism are moments of new beginning, an entrance into the body of Christ and the local expression of that body in the Episcopal Church. These are moments when God’s grace is made present and real. If you are interested or have questions, please contact Lea Anne Schmidt at [email protected].
Why Adult Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation are Important
The Episcopal Church’s theology of Confirmation has continued to evolve along with its understanding of baptism. Confirmation is no longer seen as the completion of Christian initiation. Instead, it has been increasingly understood in terms of a public reaffirmation of the Christian faith and the baptismal promises. It is the sacramental rite in which the candidates “express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop” (BCP, p. 860). It is not just for teens attending Confirmation classes, but an important ritual for adults as well.
Others who have experienced a renewal of faith or desire to renew their Christian commitment may also reaffirm their baptismal vows. Reaffirmation may be repeated, depending on the pastoral needs of the person. The candidates reaffirm their renunciation of evil, and renew their commitment to Jesus Christ. They reaffirm the promises made by them or for them at the time of baptism. Those present in the congregation promise to do all in their power to support the candidates in their life in Christ.
Reception (Christian Commitment) is for baptized persons who have been members of another Christian fellowship and who wish to be affiliated with the Episcopal Church. They may make a public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their baptism in the presence of a bishop. The bishop lays hands on each candidate for reception and says, “We recognize you as a member of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church, and we receive you into the fellowship of this Communion” (BCP, p. 418).
Why is laying on of hands by a bishop important? Apostolic succession is the line of bishops stretching back to the time of the apostles. For the early Fathers, “the identity of the oral tradition with the original revelation is guaranteed by the unbroken succession of bishops in the great sees going back lineally to the apostles.”
Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation are rooted in the baptismal covenant. They are important and meaningful events in an adult faith journey.