From the Rectory
September 2007

Most people are baptised as infants these days, they have no say in what happens or when. Godparents are appointed to lead them forward in faith, to be a godly example and to bring them forward to Confirmation when they are older. Few, in my experience fulfil that particular remit. On the 7th October, Paul, Bishop of Southampton is coming to Christ Church, Freemantle to confirm seven candidates. These seven have decided for themselves that, as adults they would like to confirm their baptismal vows and become full members of the Church. The service of confirmation also enables the Church to affirm and encourage them. Preparation began several weeks ago.

During the time leading up to confirmation the candidates, led by myself and Andrew Gay, who is the chairman of Churches Together in Shirley, have been looking at a whole range of topics and issues that concern the Christian in the world today. We have also looked at what is in the Bible; what we do in Church; why we have different liturgical colours; the vestments that are worn; church structures and personnel; prayer and worship; God, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and a number of other things as well. It is very interesting to work through these things with active and enquiring minds. I find myself having to think quite hard about some of the topics. Things that I take for granted may need to be explained: why we do certain things doesn't always make much sense if they are left unexplained and sometimes even after being explained they still don't make much sense either - to them or me! It is very easy when you do certain things so regularly to overlook their meaning and significance. Confirmation for these seven candidates is an opportunity to question and learn about their faith. So many people take their faith for granted and because they have always practised it they do not think too deeply about some of its content and meaning. That's not a criticism, it's so easily done, and we all do it. But preparing this group of people, which is a huge privilege, has also enabled Andrew and me to question and learn from them and their experience. It has also given us the chance to revisit our own confirmation and prepare anew ourselves. Confirmation will not be the end of the journey for them, but, hopefully the beginning of a lifetime of questioning, enquiry and discovery. As they grow in faith I pray that they and we will all continue to keep up the practice. Practice makes perfect, and we are called as Christians to follow Christ who gave us a perfect example of how we should live and relate to the world and those around us, to love God and our neighbours as ourselves. We should never take our faith for granted, but rejoice and praise the Lord for every opportunity that we have to worship and adore him.

Yours for Christ's sake.