Making an Adult Commitment

Background

Fifty years ago the norm for many Australians was to have their babies ‘christened’ (i.e. baptised) as infants.  For a great number it was the ‘done thing’.  Then when the children were twelve or thirteen they were brought to Church where a bishop confirmed them.  There were expectations in society that one did this, even if you did not participate in the life of a Church community. 

Over the last few decades this societal expectation has disappeared, and these sorts of baptisms and confirmations have reduced along with it. 

Today the majority of confirmations, and many baptisms are requested because of a commitment on the part of the candidate or of their parents to Christ and his Church.  In these times there are many more people coming forward as adults for baptism and confirmation.  There are many also who were confirmed as a teenager, but who now wish to make a more significant commitment to Christ as an adult.

In response to these changes the Church has returned to the practices of the early centuries (i.e. the first few hundred years of her life).  The emphasis in preparation for initiation and confirmation has shifted towards that of the faith journey rather than classes and information. 

Gone are the ‘confirmation classes’ designed to transmit information about the faith.  We no longer expect great slabs of the catechism or the creeds to be learned by rote.  What the Church asks from people today is that they connect with the faith community at worship and in its life outside of worship, that they undertake the beginnings of the journey of faith with a companion, and that they learn something about this faith that they intend to follow.

In returning to the early practises of the Church we have reinstituted a process called the catechumenate.

 

Practical Concerns

How this works in practice is that the process for making a formal adult commitment to Christ is now a longer one.  In the early Church several years were spent in preparation for baptism as an adult.  Today it is generally expected that the candidate would spend a number months preparing for this commitment. 

In summary the process focuses on three areas: 

As an individual: 

Each candidate has a companion and a spiritual director who are there to walk alongside them on this journey.

The companion and the candidate meet weekly at certain points in the program to share prayer, and ideas and experiences.  A printed guide is provided to help with these times together. The companion is selected from the congregation, and is there as just that, a companion & friend to walk along the way with the candidate.

The spiritual director is one of the parish clergy if the candidate does not have one already.  This person meets with the candidate at least three times during the process to see how things are developing.  By way of a ‘spiritual audit’ as the candidate undertakes this part of their spiritual journey.

As a group: 

The candidates in the program join parish group studies (particularly during Lent and Advent) to share and learn with others in the parish.

 As part of a worshipping community: 

During this time of preparation (and hopefully beyond!) candidates are encouraged to participate as fully as they can in the worship life of their worshipping community. Christians are never individual believers, but always part of the faith community.

 

WHAT COSTS ARE INVOLVED?

There is no cost for the Sacraments of the Church.

An OPTIONAL thank offering may be given to the church and/or the priest.

This is used for the ongoing ministry of the parish. 

 

On reading this you may feel a little daunted, yet the process is actually quite low key and relaxed. 

It is designed to allow for time and reflection with much discussion, to provide candidates with both the information and the consultation they need to consider this commitment to Christ in baptism, confirmation, reaffirmation or reception.

This is a unique and precious opportunity, to reflect on one’s faith and direction and to make a conscious decision to redirect it in the footsteps of Christ.

If you would like to know more please speak to one of our clergy.

 

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