Communion and Confirmation

 

Communion...

For many Christians, the Eucharist is the point of closest encounter with God. As we obey Jesus' command given to his disciples at the Last Supper to take bread and wine 'in remembrance' of him, God gives himself to us now as he gave himself once on the cross, as a sign of love and a source of power for living. We offer bread and wine, tokens of our life, which God takes, transforms and returns to us as nourishment for eternal life. Through this giving and receiving we are drawn into communion, made one with God and with one another.

The Eucharist (Greek 'Thanksgiving') tells the story of salvation from beginning to end, in word and action, engaging us body, heart and mind, and is therefore one of the Church's most effective evangelistic tools. And like other Christian Sacraments, it not only points to, but conveys and delivers the divine grace and love of which it speaks.

We come broken and fragmented, and the divine love, expressed in Christ's brokenness on the cross and on the altar, re-makes and re-members us, making us whole, one Body, and then sends us out in the power of the Holy Spirit to love and serve the Lord.

...and Confirmation

Mindful of St Paul's warning in I Corinthians chapter 11 not to treat the Eucharist lightly, the Anglican Church has traditionally regarded participation in the Eucharist as an adult privilege conferred after a period of preparation marked by Confirmation. Adults who have not previously been baptised will be prepared for Baptism and Confirmation.

In a growing spirit of ecumenism, this discipline was relaxed some years ago so that anyone who is a communicant member of another Christian denomination is welcome to receive communion at an Anglican service.

And although the Anglican Church now increasingly admits children to Communion before Confirmation, it is still the Church's normal practice to require adult communicants to be baptised and confirmed and admitted children to be confirmed as they become adults.

Baptised members of other churches who have been confirmed by a bishop and who now wish to become members of the Church of England are not confirmed again, but are formally Received into the Church of England.

In the Bible, baptism (with water) and confirmation (the laying on of hands) were originally twin parts of a single rite of initiation into the Christian faith. Over the centuries, they became separated, with babies and children being baptised almost as a rite of passage at birth, with the baptised person later confirming their faith later when they were old enough to answer for themselves.

People wishing to be Confirmed at Easter are invited to prepare thoroughly. The preparation course normally begins in the autumn and reaches its climax at an exciting service on the night before Easter when they are Confirmed. Candidates who have not been previously baptised are baptised and confirmed at the same service.

Please contact the Canon Pastor for more details on 020 7367 6706 michael.rawson@southwark.anglican.org