A Wokingham church marked Ascension Day with a special confirmation service. The Revd Caroline Kramer shares her memories of the special day
On Thursday, May 17, All Saints Church Wokingham, was excited to welcome 13 candidates for Confirmation. Ten were from Wokingham and we were delighted to welcome three young people from the Church of the Good Shepherd in Cox Green, near Maidenhead, who joined us for the evening.
Confirmation is always a big deal in Anglican churches. Older people often remember long classes in draughty church halls or the vicar’s study and then having to wear pristine white dresses and, for some, hats and gloves to the service itself.
These days we ask young people whether they would like to consider Confirmation at a slightly older age, in our parish, at about 13 or 14. Some say yes, some choose to wait before they confirm for themselves the vows which were often made for them if they were baptised as babies.
Confirmation courses have changed too. Rather than long lectures there are interactive courses run by teams of volunteers. So our candidates learned about social responsibility and generous giving by playing a game where they pretended they were a family in India making a living from making paper bags – two out of three of our families found they would have starved in real life. We learned about praying by trying different ways to pray and all of this with lots of pizza and cake.
The service itself was on Ascension Day – the day when we remember Jesus going back into heaven (Luke 24:31 and Acts 1:1-11).
Our Bishop, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud came to do the service: Confirmations are always done by a Bishop representing that this is a declaration which is made not only in the local parish but in the Church throughout the world.
Our candidates declared in a loud voice that they turned to Christ, repented of their sins and renounced evil, that they believed in God creator, redeemer and sustainer and then one by one they knelt down in front of the Bishop who laid his hands on their head and called down the Holy Spirit to confirm, bless and sustain them.
One of them asked me afterwards: “Did you have a funny feeling inside when you were Confirmed?”
I smiled. “Yes,” I replied, knowing that God has worked really hard on me for many years but that my ownConfirmation was a real deepening of my understanding of my faith and the beginning of a much closer and more committed journey with Christ.
There was the mandatory bun fight afterwards complete with our trademark cupcakes and indoor fireworks.
We will continue to pray for our candidates and to walk with them in their journey of faith, knowing that God has touched them through this act of Confirmation and will continue to hold them for the rest of their lives.
Caroline is the associate vicar of All Saints, Wokingham