On May 26th of this year, Bishop Hobby will come to All Saints for his final episcopal visit before releasing us into the Anglican Diocese of the South. During both services that Sunday he will confirm and receive people into the Anglican Church. The landscape in the Church has changed pretty dramatically since my own confirmation in December of 1985, and as a result the ACNA has had to relook at how and why we do confirmation and reception. Being an old school Anglican, I’ll admit I’m still trying to make sense of the changes, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to explain them, at least as best as I understand them to this point.
In the early years of the Church, baptism with water and the laying on of hands were both part of the same rite. However, as the Church grew, and as infant baptism became more and more common, the rite was divided into two separate parts, with the priests being primarily responsible for baptism with water while the laying on of hands became the purview of the bishops as a way to “confirm” the promises made for a child at his or her baptism. According to the ACNA Prayer Book, “In Confirmation, God, through the bishop’s prayer for daily increase in the Holy Spirit, strengthens the believer for Christian life in the service of Christ and his kingdom. Grace is God’s gift, and we pray that he will pour out his Holy Spirit on those who have already been made his children by adoption and grace in Baptism.”
The Rev. Eric Zolner
Father Eric is a 3rd generation Anglican and the Rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Springfield, MO.