by the Rev. Charlie Dupree
This Sunday at St. Paul’s, the Right Reverend Gayle E. Harris, assisting bishop in the Diocese of Virginia, will be at St. Paul’s to baptize, confirm, receive, and reaffirm members of our community, as well as guests from St. Mary’s in Goochland. It will be a memorable, festive day.
What is confirmation? This is the definition from our catechism (BCP, p. 860)
Q. What is Confirmation?
A. Confirmation is the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.
I understand confirmation as an adult affirmation of the vows that we made at our baptism. Since most of us were baptized as infants, we didn’t really get a chance to voice our intentions, did we? Our parents or godparents vowed, on our behalf, to help us grow in Christ-like ways and stick to a Christ-like paths. As infants, we didn’t get to say, “Yes! With God’s help, I promise to live according to Christ’s teachings and example.” At confirmation, however, teens and adults, having been prepared in classes and formation events, get to use their own voices to dedicate their lives to following Jesus and shaping a more loving and just world.
At confirmation – we are confirmed by our Bishop (only a Bishop can confirm, reaffirm, and receive). She will lay her hands on these folks, invoke the Holy Spirit, and ask God to continue – to make firm – the work already begun in them.
Do you remember when you were confirmed? I was confirmed when I was fourteen years old by the Right Reverend Robert Estill, ninth Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina. These folks will remember this moment for the rest of their lives. As extensions of their spiritual family, we are called to offer support; I hope you’ll plan to attend.
If you have questions about confirmation, reception, or reaffirmation, please speak with one of your clergy.
See you in church,
Here’s the schedule for Bishop-related events on Sunday:
9:00 am – Bishop meets with sponsors and candidates in the Norwood Room
10:00 am – Worship in the church.
11:30 am – Festive Reception in Scott Hall
11:30 am – Q and A with Bishop Harris in Scott Hall