Walking the Path to Confirmation

Stephen Hillier and his son Seth with the Bishop of Doncaster Peter Burrows and Canon Missioner Keith Farrow. 

Stephen Hillier and his son Seth with the Bishop of Doncaster Peter Burrows and Canon Missioner Keith Farrow. 

My young son signed up for confirmation classes in 2016. I was immensely proud of him. But his decision raised an obvious question for me - why had I not been through confirmation myself? And was I now willing and able to do something about that?

I will offer a chaotic childhood as the reason why I was never in the right place at the right time as a child. But as an adult I can only say that I drifted along, happy to think of myself as a Christian, but also blind to the importance of walking the path to confirmation. 

My son's journey underlined that confirmation is a key part of being a member of the Church of England. Not only is it the key to receiving communion. It also confirms your intention to live a life of committed discipleship. And in return the Church asks God to give you the power to live in the way of Jesus. 

I signed up to join adult confirmation classes at the Cathedral, despite being very apprehensive. I am no saint, would that be embarrassingly obvious to other members of the group? Would it be incredibly dull? Would I have to memorise long sections of the Bible and the Creeds, even supposing I am capable of that?

I need not have worried. Those leading us were warm, natural, welcoming and supportive. The group members were the same. No lecturing, no bores, just folk like me, seeking to take their faith to the next level. We quickly gelled as a group, exploring issues and helping each other see our way forward. 

This was no chore, instead I kept arriving 15 minutes early, keen to pick up where we had left off the week before. Each time, we looked at a different aspect of faith and worship. I was not alone in being inspired and moved by the group's discussions, or in feeling that something special was happening to all of us. 

By chance, my son finished his classes in the same week that I did. Standing side by side, we were confirmed by the Bishop in front of our "home crowd", as part of a Sunday Eucharist service. A day neither of us will ever forget, and the beginning of a new chapter in our faith and our lives.