Our Book of Common Prayer says of Confirmation that, “In the course of their Christian development, those baptized at an early age 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 the bishop. Those baptized as adults are also expected to make a public affirmation of their faith.” We offer confirmation preparation for adults and teenagers who wish to take this step in their spiritual growth.
The process of preparing for confirmation offers you the opportunity to learn about our Spiritual path. It is a time to learn our history, consider how the past has shaped our approach to faith, discuss alternatives for your own spiritual way, and begin deciding what you do – and do not – believe. Preparation for confirmation is not a time for you to memorize theological positions nor is it a time for us to tell you what to believe or how to live. Rather, it is an opportunity for each person to begin the lifelong process of deciding how you will develop and follow your own spiritual path.
We take an individualized approach to confirmation preparation. Depending on the scope of your interest, you will meet with our priest or deacon for between 6 and 12 sessions. During this time we will trace how our way of life was shaped by the actions of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. We’ll examine how the bloody conflict surrounding these monarchs led to a faith that builds community built on the belief “we who are many become one people through sharing one bread, one cup.” We’ll discuss how our way of understanding scripture – by balancing reason, tradition, and the text – deloped and what it means for us in 21st century California. And we’ll explore different spiritual practices, identify those which are authentic and ancient Christian practices, to help you develop a spiritual framework you can use. This process enables people to think as adults about their spirituality and how that may shape their daily life.
Confirmation helps people understand why we build our community life around the celebration of the Eucharist. Some spiritual paths are best walked alone. From its earliest days, Christianity has been a communal effort. We are baptized into a community of faith. We are confirmed, married, and buried by this faith family. Communication offers us a way to renew and replenish our spirits as we prepare for a new week.
Preparing for Confirmation here is not a process designed for those who wish to “read the Bible literally” or want to be told a list of things they have to believe to be a Christian. Jesus didn’t read – or preach from – a word for word reading of scripture. He didn’t require people to agree to a series of theological positions before he welcomed them to his life. Instead, he invited people to work together to work together to bring the Kingdom of God a little closer to their place and time.
Confirmation is appropriate when you ready to accept the promises made on your behalf at your baptism. This usually happens during the teen years, but adults of any age may be confirmed in the church. One must be baptized before being confirmed.
Confirmation expresses not only a desire to live as an adult Christian, it also indicates a desire to do so in the Episcopal Church and the world-wide Anglican Communion. The sacrament of Confirmation is something that only a bishop can perform, so our confirmations are scheduled annually at Grace Cathedral, at an annual outdoor Eco-Confirmation service, or when our Bishop visits St. Cyprian’s.
Here are some resources which may be incorporated into a personalized approach to preparing for a meaningful Confirmation. Please note: this list is from the national Episcopal Church and reflects the diversity of our faith, beliefs, and practices.
- Confirm not Conform (one program for Youth and one for Adults)
- My Faith, My Life: A Teen’s Guide the Episcopal Church
- Your Faith, Your Life: An Invitation to the Episcopal Church (for adults)
- Keeping the Promise Journey to Adulthood (which encompasses more than Confirmation)
- I Will with God’s Help
- Seedlings, which is designed for small churches, also has a Confirmation