We were visited by Bishop David Williams today, who led our annual confirmation service. This year we had six young candidates: George Turner, Francesca Wheatley, Elise Duke, Ellie Rember (who was being baptised as well), Sophie Jennings and Emily Jennings.
Amanda, Rebecca, Gerry and I had been running Confirmation Classes on Tuesday evenings at the Rembers’ house and running through some fascinating discussions largely relying on some great material: Are you Ready? Preparing Young People to Live their Confirmation by Pete Maidment. The candidates were extremely engaged and we all had a lot of fun discussing the questions of Life the Universe and Everything!
For the service itself, there was a packed church St Mary’s Easton. We welcomed godparents, friends and relations of the candidates and our usual congregation as well! We had some stirring hymns: Crown Him with many crowns, To God be the glory and Guide me O thou great redeemer.
Jessica Duke read the lesson John 3:1-21 and Jonathan and Jessica Cragg read the prayers. Bishop David preached about Nicodemus: that leader from the ruling council of the Jews who was transformed by an encounter with Jesus ‘at night’ into being the man who bravely asked Pilate for Jesus’ body and prepared it for burial. Bishop David looked at Jesus’ statement that we must be born again – born of the Spirit and explored the fact that the Christian life is about giving ourselves up to being guided in our decisions by the Holy Spirit. He encouraged all of us to look again at the vows given by the young people and to say them again in our hearts for ourselves.
After the seriously heavyweight decisions that the candidates made in the service: ‘Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God…do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil…do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour…do you turn to Christ as Saviour…do you submit to Christ as Lord…do you come to Christ, the way the truth and the life…and several questions asked about their faith….to which all the candidates assented and answered positively, the Bishop baptised Ellie and then confirmed each the candidates, by placing his hands firmly on their heads.
We all then received communion together from the Bishop.
Photographs and cup cakes followed…..
Thank you to all involved in the preparation of the candidates and to the Rembers for their hospitality for the classes and to those who prepared the cupcakes! Thank you Bishop David for a wonderful Spirit filled service – very moving indeed. I am confident that these young people are going to go on and change the world. This is only the beginning……
Just a great day for us all……
Revd Alex Pease