The sacrament of Confirmation has had an interesting history. In the New Testament the ‘laying of hands’ as a sign of the giving of the Holy Spirit is found in the book of Acts. On some occasions this event is linked to Baptism and sometimes it isn’t. As a result there is no clear agreement about what Confirmation gives: does a person receive all the gifts of God at baptism (which is generally regarded as the complete way of entering Christ’s Church) or is there something new that comes with the laying on of hands?
Over the years different answers have been given to this question. But in practice, for most Anglicans since the Reformation in the 16th century, Holy Communion has been restricted to those who have received a period of training leading to Confirmation.
Today parishes like St James’ believe that Baptism is all that is necessary to admit people to Holy Communion and we encourage them to do so as soon as they are ready.
Confirmation then becomes a wonderful celebration when we welcome those who are older as they make a more mature and personal commitment to the building up of the Church, in the presence of the bishop.