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Rites of Passage: Confirmation
What is confirmation?
When a baby is baptised, parents and godparents make promises for them. Once they are old enough, they can decide for themselves if they wish to live as a Christian, and in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches they then make their own promises in a confirmation service.
Before people are confirmed they will usually go to 'confirmation classes'. Here they will be taught about the important beliefs of Christians. This is really important so that they understand the promises they will make to God.
On the day itself in the church service, some of the people being confirmed talk about why they believe in Jesus and want to be confirmed. This is called a 'testimony'.
In the Anglican Church, the Bishop asks the young people being confirmed if they have been baptised. Anyone who has not been baptised will be baptised at this point.
When it is time to be confirmed, each person comes to the front in turn and kneels down. The Bishop says, 'God has called you by name and made you his own.' The Bishop then puts his hand on their head and says, 'Confirm, O Lord, your servant with your Holy Spirit.' They say 'Amen.'
In some churches, the Bishop then draws the sign of the cross on the forehead of the candidate with the oil. This is an ancient symbol of being part of God’s family.
You can watch a short video of a confirmation service here.