Congratulations on wanting to explore confirmation. It is important to see confirmation as a part of your journey in faith in Christ and not in isolation.
The first move is to use our Contacts page to speak to the vicar. He will invite you to attend a confirmation course. This is a good way to explore your faith with others who are thinking about confirmation and is a safe place to ask any questions you have about God, Jesus and the journey of faith.
Confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey at which you affirm for yourself the faith into which you have been baptized and your intention to live a life of committed discipleship. This affirmation is confirmed through prayer and the laying on of hands by the confirming bishop. The Church also asks God to give you power through the Holy Spirit to enable you to live in the way of Jesus.
Your confirmation will be led by the bishop and will take place in the cathedral.
There may be a rehearsal before the confirmation service so that you understand everything that happens in the service. The priest will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move. Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join in; some will be for just you and the other confirmation candidates to say.
Most of the confirmation service will normally take place at the front of the church, but for the renewal of baptism promises, candidates may be asked by the bishop to gather around the font.
The bishop will speak to every candidate by name saying:
(name), God has called you by name and made you his own.
He then lays his hand of the head of each saying:
Confirm, O Lord, your servant with your Holy Spirit.
The Church of England has two authorized confirmation services. One is taken from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and is in 17th century English. Most confirmations use a service in contemporary English, taken from Common Worship (2000).
Read the text of the Common Worship service.
Making decisions and promises
When you were baptized as a child, your parents and godparents were asked to declare publicly on your behalf that they believed in God and that they would bring you up to follow Jesus. They were asked to answer, on your behalf, that you had decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ. At confirmation, you will renew these decisions and promises.
The declarations made by you will be made in front of the church congregation; the local Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you.
The sign of the cross - the bishop will make the sign of the cross on your forehead with oil. This is a sign of the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit. It is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him.
The role of sponsors
At Baptism, Godparents stood alongside your parents to make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptized. At confirmation you may be asked if you would like a sponsor to stand with you as a symbol of their journeying with you in faith. Usually this is someone who has previously been confirmed. It may be one of the people who has prepared you for confirmation or it may be a youth worker, a good friend, a relative, or a Godparent.
It is normal for Confirmation to be followed straight away by Holy Communion, although in cases where confirmation has not taken place in a candidate's parish church they may instead take Communion for the first time in that church on the following Sunday.