Joint Confirmations

Whereas the local presbyter will be responsible for confirmations in a Methodist Church, a team of confirming ministers will be involved in a LEP. Ministers involved in joint confirmations should refer to 'Guidance for the Reception of Christians of Other Communions into Membership of the Methodist Church and Joint Confirmations', CPD Vol 2, Book 6, Part 2, Section 13.

Joint confirmations involving the Church of England can only happen:

i) where the Church of England is participating in the LEP and
ii) where the bishop has authorized Church of England participation in joint confirmations.

The House of Bishops first agreed Church of England participation in joint confirmations in 1975 and provision is made for them in Canon B44. Note not in Canon B43, which means they are possible only in LEPs.

What Happens

In these services representative ministers confirm candidates within the life of the Churches involved in the LEP and through the actions of their confirming ministers. For the Church of England, this will be the bishop; for other partners in the LEP, it may well be the local minister, or possibly another representative minister.

Even where the bishop is working as one of a team of confirming ministers, they will not proceed as if the normal Church of England arrangements for a confirmation are to be put in place. Everybody should be aware of the distinctive procedures.

At the very outset, there needs to be consultation about the date, ensuring the availability of the various confirming ministers. The usual denominational systems for fixing dates need to recognize this. The host Church should put the confirming ministers in contact with one another at an early stage.

Arranging the Service

The Order of Service is one approved by the county sponsoring body or its equivalent. This may be a Methodist rite, or that of another Church participating in the LEP, or a specially devised rite. The Joint Liturgical Group has produced a resource booklet - ' Confirmation and a Re-affirmation of Baptismal Faith'- 1992.

It should not be assumed that any particular person preaches or presides at the Eucharist. All these matters are for decision jointly by the confirming ministers, as are agreements about the Order of Service, and robes. A Service Arrangements Form may help.

In these services there is a tension between articulating a sense of belonging to the Church of God and being a member of the local congregation. After the laying on of hands there is a welcome within the life of the member Churches of the LEP (Church of England, Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed etc) followed by a welcome within the life of the particular LEP.

Preparing for the service

Careful preparation is essential. The way the minister shares ministry with the other confirming ministers will speak volumes for the Methodist Church's participation in the LEP. Ministers who have taken extra care with preparation are rarely caught off-guard, and testify to the power of these occasions in witnessing to the One Church of God.

  • Sign up for e-newslettersKeep in touch with what interests you