On Sunday, August 27th, our Bishop, Chris Warner, and his wife Catherine will visit Immanuel for the first time. We’ll share more details about their visit later in the summer, but this week I’m mentioning it for two reasons. First, the annual visit of our Bishop is a reminder that we are a part of something much bigger than our own local congregation. Resting under the authority of our Bishop, we are woven into the greater Anglican expression of God’s Kingdom through the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, which in turn rests within the Anglican Church of North America, which links arms with Anglican followers of Jesus around the globe and through the generations. We participate in a global koinonia—this communion of beloved Jesus-believers and our Trinitarian God that we’ve been hearing about in John’s letter.
Second, when Bishop Chris comes, he will also exercise one of his important roles as Bishop – Confirmation. Our Book of Common Prayer 2019 describes this practice well:
The Anglican Church requires a public and personal profession of the Faith from every adult believer in Jesus Christ. Confirmation or Reception by a Bishop is its liturgical expression. Confirmation is clearly grounded in Scripture: the
Apostles prayed for, and laid their hands on those who had already been baptized (2 Timothy 1:6-7;
Acts 8:14-17; 19:6).
Who should consider being confirmed by our Bishop?
First, those who have been baptized as infants and are now ready to affirm for themselves the baptismal vows made on their behalf by parents and godparents. Usually this is a younger person ready to take this step, but this may apply to older people, as well as any baptized Christian who has not yet received laying on of hands by a bishop.
Second, there is within the Rite of Confirmation a liturgy called “Reception.” This is an opportunity for people who have been baptized in a different Christian tradition to formally join the Anglican Church of North America. “Reception” is encouraged for those from other denominations who have found a home in the ancient-future Anglican Way, and are ready to fully participate in its local, national, and global life.
Finally, this is a good opportunity for any who want to renew their commitment to Jesus and his Church. The BCP offers the “Reaffirmation of Vows” to those who would like to publicly rededicate themselves as followers of Jesus and members of God’s family, and receive the laying on of hands and prayer from the Bishop.
If you are interested in Confirmation, Reception, or Reaffirmation, please speak with me sometime before the end of May. We will meet several times during the summer to prepare for this important day by praying, reading Scripture, and reviewing the Anglican Catechism (instruction on Christian faith).
Your Pastor in Christ,