In the early days of Christianity, only bishops baptized people. As the church grew, bishops could not keep up with the growing demand for baptism, so priests were authorized to baptize, subject to confirmation by the bishop when the bishop visited. In later years, confirmation became the rite by which adults confirmed their commitment to Christ that was made on their behalf when they were baptized as infants.
Once you are baptized, you are a full member of the church, eligible to receive the sacrament of holy communion. The Episcopal Church accepts baptism in any branch of Christianity, and does not re-baptize. However, confirmation is still a wonderful way to make a public, adult commitment to your faith, and to the wider Church.
Confirmations can take place when one of our bishops visits the parish (annually), or at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City in late May or early June. In recent years, we have taken confirmands down to St. John the Divine, to experience the breadth and diversity of our diocese, which includes Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and Rockland, Orange, Westchester, Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan Counties.
Preparation for confirmation normally takes place during Lent and
Easter season. We have had youth classes, adult classes and intergenerational classes, depending on numbers. The clergy and lay leaders lead the class, which normally includes a study of core beliefs, the Episcopal Church, prayer practices, stewardship and service.
If you have already been confirmed in another denomination, but would like to be received into the Episcopal Church, you would still take the confirmation class, and go to St. John the Divine where the bishop receives you. Likewise, if you have been confirmed in the Episcopal Church but are returning the Church after a time away, or would simply like to renew your commitment, you would participate in the confirmation class and then the bishop would reaffirm you as a member of the Episcopal Church.
To sign up for the next confirmation class, just speak to one of the clergy. Taking the class is a great option for those who would like to know more about Christianity, as well as those who would like to deepen their faith. The decision to be confirmed, received or reaffirmed is made at the end of the class–it is not a requirement for membership at Christ the King.