As a church community we think it is excellent that you are wondering about getting baptised or confirmed.
This is for you
Adults who wish to be baptised in the Anglican Church of Australia are prepared for confirmation as well as baptism at the same time. Confirmation reflects a further step in a maturing commitment to Christ and the Christian faith.
Preparing for confirmation offers a great opportunity to take stock, to ask the hard questions about what we actually believe as well as to find out more about the Anglican Church.
Confirmation completes the initiation into the Anglican Church of Australia. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event and therefore it is worth preparing well for it.
What sort of preparation do you need?
This varies a great deal, depending on your past experience and present practices. Traditionally most parish churches have offered a course in the run-up to a date in the diary that had been fixed with the Bishop.
However, this approach doesn't easily take into account different backgrounds and doesn't always fit with people's availabilities. It may create a presumption that being confirmed is inevitable at the end of the course and can therefore make a genuinely open exploration more difficult.
I have therefore decided to offer a more flexible approach instead.
This page outlines the elements that I would suggest should go into preparing for confirmation. It will help you to assess how well prepared you are and what to look out for to prepare yourself further.
You will find a few suggestions here for the way forward.
There is much you can do on your own initiative but I am of course ready to advise and take a fuller part in your preparation. Maybe the most important thing in this process is to be honest with yourself (and others).
Pray for clarity and purity of heart.
Preparing for confirmation offers a wonderful opportunity for transformation.
As a church community we are delighted that you are thinking about this and want to yelp you as best we can.
Shalom, Rev Jamie Murray
A Moment for Reflection...
Who are you? What made you who you are? What do you think is your place within the larger scheme of things?
Have you been baptised? If so, what does your baptism mean to you today? If not, what difference do you think getting baptised would make?
Before God and this congregation, you must affirm that you turn to Christ and reject all that is evil.
It is good to reflect on the baptismal questions:
Do you turn to Christ?
I turn to Christ.
Do you repent of your sins?
I repent of my sins.
Do you reject selfish living, and all that is false and unjust?
I reject them all.
Do you renounce Satan and all evil?
I renounce all that is evil.
Will you, by God's grace, strive to live as a disciple of Christ, loving God with your whole heart, and your neighbour as yourself, until your life's end?
I will with God's help.
What do these mean for you practically? What is your relationship with Christ?
These initial reflections are already very personal and you may need to set aside a little time on your own to reflect on them.
It may be useful to talk to a Christian whom you trust about what turning to Christ, repenting of sins and renouncing evil means in his or her life.
The Alpha course offers space and opportunity to explore these things. If you would like to know more about Alpha, you can find more information by clicking here.
Baptism formally recognises us as members of Christ's body, the Church, and confirmation confirms our membership in this particular expression of the Body of Christ. There is really no point in getting confirmed, if you do not want to take your part within the life of the Body of Christ, the Church.
What do you like about church life? What do you find difficult? What do you think you need from your local church and what do you think you contribute?
Our belonging to the Church is an aspect of our belonging to Christ. Preparing for confirmation is a good time to reflect on how you hope to nourish these relationships.
You don't need a theology degree to be a Christian but a basic understanding of the Christian faith is important. It is good to know the so-called Apostles' Creed by heart and to know what it is we affirm with those words.
We will be running the Alpha course during Term 2 2021. This is an opportunity to explore questions of life and faith in a safe and open environment.
You could also, for example, write up in your own words what the Creed means to you and note what excites you or puzzles you - what you find easy or difficult, if not impossible, to believe. Discuss this with a trusted Christian friend or ask for help from Rev Jamie, our Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) or wardens.
What does it mean to live as a Christian? What is our duty towards God and our neighbours? It is useful to know by heart the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and the Beatitudes of Jesus (Matthew 5) and to reflect on these, Eg. in small group meetings.
Christian behaviour is about much more than proper moral conduct. It is about what sort of people we are. In all of this we recognise our need of God's help given through His Holy Spirit to live in step with God's way.
Are there any issues of Christian behaviour that you need to think about specifically? Do you need an open discussion about a moral issue or a confidential conversation about your lifestyle?
Choosing to follow Jesus and exercise faith is strengthened through what we call spiritual disciplines such as:
- private and public prayer
- prayerfully reading the Bible individually and or in small groups
- making confession
- serving the poor and needy
- partaking in Communion
- studying Christian books
Everyone's discipline is different and an active discipline is likely to change and evolve over time.
It would be good to take stock where you are at the moment and to seek guidance, as you reflect on good habits for you to nurture. Which disciplines would you like to develop or explore?
Regular participation in our gathering times is of course expected both as part of the preparation for confirmation and beyond.
A developing understanding...
What ought you to understand before getting confirmed?
We have already noted the basics of Christian faith and practice as topics to be explored.
For seasons in church history Confirmation was traditionally also the point of first Communion. In the Anglican Diocese of Bunbury we involve children and baptised adults in communion before confirmation.
However it is a good opportunity to make a special note of understanding what the Eucharist (also called Holy Communion, Mass, Lord's Supper) is and how a typical Eucharist is structured within the Anglican Church.
There is a mystery here which we are not likely to understand fully any time soon. Different people vary in the depth of knowledge they desire about the way this event is understood in different branches of the Church and that's all right.
But you will want to give some thought to it and this may lead to further reflection on what we mean by sacraments.
You probably also want to have a basic understanding of what the Anglican Church of Australia is and how it relates to other Churches.
You may ask why the Anglican church is organised in parishes and dioceses and what the work of bishops, priest and deacons entails.
A detailed understanding of such matters is by no means required to be confirmed but you should know enough to appreciate what it means to be confirmed in the Anglican Church of Australia rather than, say, becoming a Roman Catholic or a member of a Uniting or Baptist church.
This would include talking through the confirmation service itself.
If you have been baptised, you may also want to make a private confession and/or offer a public testimony to what Christ means to you or how you came to the decision to be confirmed.
If you do, these will need a little preparation as well.
... I am not at all sure that I want to be confirmed.
If you want to explore any aspects of confirmation mentioned here, you are very welcome to do so without any further obligation.
... I am starting from very far back.
Take your time.
If you love exploring in the company of others, join one of our groups. At our meetings we have people from all sorts of backgrounds with little or much knowledge.
If you prefer to reflect on your own to start with, get a book to read, e.g. How to live - a guide to the Christian Journey. You can probably get a copy from Rev Jamie.
... I feel already pretty well prepared.
Have a chat with Rev Jamie to assess what remains to be done by way of preparation and to get on the list of candidates.
... I have lots of questions.
That's alright. In fact, it's healthy to keep asking questions.
Some are happy to live with lots of open questions, others can only move forward when certain questions have been addressed. Some like to ponder questions silently, assimilating material to see what insight it might bring, others need to give voice to their questions.
If there are specific questions that are important to you and that you want to express, why not meet up with Rev Jamie or write him your questions?
... I don't know what to do next.
Reflect on the contents of this page and get in touch with Rev Jamie. He can help you with the planning.
As you begin further thinking on this perhaps the prayer below would be helpful.
Heavenly Father thank you for the invitation you make through Jesus.
Thank you for the possibility of exploration confirmation brings.
Holy Spirit please lead and guide me through this, I ask it in Jesus name.
I pray for you.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, make His face to shine upon you, be gracious to you and give you His peace.
Rev Jamie Murray.