Confirmation is a church practice that falls into the category of what the Anglican Catechism calls “rites and institutions commonly called sacraments.” Along with Confirmation, there are four others like it: Absolution (confessing one’s sins and receiving forgiveness in the presence of a priest), Ordination, Marriage, and Anointing the sick.
These practices, or rites, are deeply charged “sites” of God’s grace. They are “commonly called sacraments” (and for some Anglicans, they just are sacraments) because they are visible signs that confer an invisible grace. But we distinguish them from the two primary sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, because these latter two are “commanded by Christ as necessary for salvation.”
While many Protestants shy away from calling Confirmation a sacrament in the strict sense, the witness of the church throughout the ages, especially in the Anglican wing, has seen fit to uphold them as a vital means through which God mediates grace to us.
Confirmation arose out of the early church’s reflection on Scripture in connection to how one became a Christian. It was first used to describe what happened when a bishop would lay hands upon, pray for, and anoint the forehead of the newly baptized with oil, signifying the gift of the Holy Spirit. The newly baptized/confirmed would then proceed to receive their first Eucharist.
Gradually, in the western churches (Eastern Orthodox churches still confirm infants immediately upon Baptism), Confirmation became separable from Baptism. For Anglican churches, the normal course would be that you were baptized as an infant, and then as a teenager undergo a lengthy instruction (catechesis), which prepared you for Confirmation. Again, Confirmation was necessary before receiving Communion. Confirmation was also unique in that, while a priest could baptize, Confirmation was usually reserved for the bishop.
Confirmation Classes are conducted at Saint Stephen's once a year.
Contact the church office to learn more and to find out when the next confirmation class will begin.