You will be aware that we have a confirmation service at St Thomas’ each year. This year it will take place on July 12th.
Confirmation is the point in a Christian’s life when he or she becomes an adult member of the church, affirming for themselves their Christian faith. Most people coming for confirmation will have been baptised as a child, when their parents have affirmed their faith. So Confirmation is very much an adult rite of passage, and it is a step that can only be made once. There is no upper age limit, and last year one of our candidates was in her late eighties!
In some parishes, including our own, the seriousness of this stage has become rather eroded by an assumption that the children ‘get confirmed’ at the age of 11. I feel that this is, in almost every case, far too young. In fact my experience here has been that we have presented large numbers of children for Confirmation and most have not been back to church since then!
We do now admit to communion children from Year 5 upwards, and the PCC could consider lowering this age limit. The children we have admitted are, on the whole, faithful members of the congregation. They were prepared for admission with a series of lessons taught by experienced members of the congregation. More will be prepared this spring, and should be admitted at Easter.
This year we will not present large numbers of children for confirmation. Only those year 6 children who have been regular members of our congregation will be offered Confirmation - though I do feel strongly even they would be better waiting to make this decision as an adult.
I would like us to make a real effort this year to encourage those adults (and there are many!) who are regular members of our congregations and yet have not been confirmed to consider confirmation for themselves. It would be good to see a large number of adults being confirmed this July. Please do what you can to encourage anyone you know who might think of making this step!