Whenever a bishop makes an annual visitation to a parish, everyone is given the opportunity to receive certain spiritual and ecclesial benefits that flow from the episcopacy. That is why we commonly have Confirmation, Reception and Reaffirmation vows during a Bishop’s visit.
On Sunday, September 25, parishioners have an opportunity to confirm, receive, or reaffirm their faith during Bishop San’s annual visitation to our parish. What is the difference?
Confirmation The sacramental rite in which the candidates “express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop” (BCP, p. 860). Those who were baptized at an early age and those baptized as adults without laying on of hands by a bishop are expected to make a mature public affirmation of their faith, recommit themselves to the responsibilities of their baptism, and receive laying on of hands by a bishop (BCP, p. 412). Adults baptized with the laying on of hands by a bishop are considered to be confirmed.
Reception is the means by which a validly baptized and confirmed person from another Christian denomination is formally welcomed into the fellowship of the Episcopal Church. The action is symbolized by a discreet handshake rather than by a formal laying on of hands.
Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows represents an opportunity for a person to publicly acknowledge a renewal of faith after a period of unbelief or deep questioning, or to acknowledge the gaining of a new level of spiritual life or understanding. It can also be an occasion of thanksgiving for the gift of faith in the life of the individual Christian.
Please consider the role of faith in your life. Liturgical moments, such as these, can have a deeply meaningful and even transformative impact on your spiritual life. Please let me know!
Want to know more?
If you are new to the Episcopal Church, or just want a refresher, we invite you to an an Inquirer’s Class. Tentative dates for this 3-part series are on Wednesday, July 6, 13, and 27 at 6:30-8:00PM in the Parish Hall. Let Father John know of your interest or phone the church office at 410-287-5522