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Confirmations Making A Comeback

by Gerry Lynch last modified 08 Feb, 2018 02:12 PM

Diocese celebrates 15% increase in people being confirmed in 2017

Confirmations Making A Comeback

Hannah Goddard being confirmed by the Bishop of Sherborne. (C) Gerry Lynch.

The Diocese of Salisbury is celebrating the news that the number of confirmations it held increased by 15% during 2017, with those of young people growing most rapidly of all.

The total number of confirmations in the Diocese increased from 552 in 2016 to 634 last year, with those aged 18 or under growing by 20%. This follows decades of steady decline, locally and across the country. 

Bishop Nicholas said, “It is very moving to hear why people want to be confirmed. For most it is a staging post on life’s journey, wanting to be close to God and to one another. Being confirmed is a great way for people to say they are following in the way of Jesus Christ, that they are his disciples. 

“I am delighted that in the last three years we have stabilised what had been steady decline in confirmations and have now moved into very significant growth, particularly with young people from parishes and church schools. 

“Of course the task is to grow in depth and in service of God’s kingdom. That is the way of Jesus Christ.” 

Marissa Heron is one of the young people behind the increase. She was confirmed in the church of St Mary the Virgin, Gillingham, Dorset, last September. Marissa said, “I chose to get confirmed because I don’t remember my baptism very well, so when I had the opportunity to decide myself to take another step onwards, I wanted to. 

“Being confirmed made me feel closer to God because I had chosen to do this myself. I enjoyed the confirmation group and found it very helpful.” 

Gillingham Confirmations.jpgHannah Goddard, an adult who was confirmed in the same service, said, “We had a really lovely confirmation, made all the more special as the group that was confirmed together chose our hymns and readings together. 

“It was an emotional service, but I feel truly blessed and closer to God than I had expected. As the story of the loving father goes, no matter what happens or what we do, God will always love us. I feel blessed to know that I am always surrounded by love.” 

Neil Larkey, the Diocese of Salisbury’s Project Worker for Young People’s Confirmations, said,“I am especially delighted that confirmation is being thought of differently. Many clergy and others are beginning to understand that a resource-rich learning environment, using multiple learning styles alongside relational ministry helps candidates be ‘hungry for more’ and want to grow in their journey of Christian faith after confirmation.”

Lower photo: those confirmed in St Mary the Virgin, Gillingham, last September with the Bishop of Sherborne. Credit: Gerry Lynch.

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