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. Confirmation is for those who have been baptized as infants and who have received sufficient instruction in the Christian faith and are ready to affirm their confession of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd has a model program for confirmands. It is an eight month program in which children who are ready for the commitment, systematically and creatively engage with the promises they will make, the creeds they will say, and the key prayers and basic theology of the Eucharistic service. It is a Christianity 101 course, covering basic concepts but also allowing the youth to grasp on a deeper level liturgical actions they may have been performing all their lives. Part of the program involves selecting a mentor or sponsor from within the congregation who will be a shepherd to the youth throughout the eight months. The confirmand and sponsor will spend time doing activities common to each of their lives. They will also select together a community service project, in which they will live out their baptismal promises. One very special event is the Confirmation Fair, where the youth share their community service project experience. They also make their public Statement of Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the school year, there are fun and silly moments intertwined with sacred ones. It is no wonder that many of these confirmands remain friends all their lives from having shared this experience. The whole process culminates in the spring, when the Bishop comes and confirms them all as a group.
Confirmation is a serious and personal decision, and only you and your child will truly know when he or she is ready to be confirmed. At the Church of the Good Shepherd, we begin when the child is about 11 or 12 years old. We use the 6th grade as a benchmark. However, we try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate individual growth. Our Clergy and Youth Minister will work with youth beyond the 6th grade to prepare them for Confirmation.
The beauty of our youth confirmation process is that it often reminds adults that it is also important for them to make a firm commitment to Jesus Christ. If you have been baptized, but not confirmed in a Christian denomination, the Church of the Good Shepherd will happily structure a time of preparation for you in which you will meet with a member of the Clergy. If there are more than two or three adult confirmands, a class will be formed to create community and a time for shared discussion. Actual confirmation will take place at the Bishop’s next visit to our parish.
If you are interested in being confirmed, or in having your child confirmed, please contact the Church Office at 361-882-1735.