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The Way to Baptism, Confirmation, Reception

The Way to Baptism, Confirmation, Reception
Published by Josh Hosler on Tue, Nov 16, 2021 9:37 AM

Before we were called Christians, we were called followers of “The Way”—a way that led through death to Resurrection, as modeled by Jesus Christ. Followers of The Way were initiated into this new, transformed life through baptism. At Good Shepherd, we use the term The Way to refer to a process that leads toward baptism or some form of reaffirmation of baptismal vows.

Baptism: Wet, anointed, and burning with the flame of Christ’s love

Why be baptized?

  • It’s what makes you a Christian. You can be a believer before baptism, but being baptized means committing to find your place in the community of Christians all over the world.
  • Perhaps the Holy Spirit is urging you in this direction.

Confirmation: Affirming vows made on your behalf when you were young

Why be confirmed?

  • Baptism makes you a full member of the faith. But confirmation shows that you recognize for yourself that you are part of the Body of Christ and take responsibility for your own relationship with God.
  • If you have made an adult affirmation of faith in another denomination, you are already considered to be confirmed. In that case, read about …

Reception: Grounding yourself in the Episcopal Church

Why be received?

  • To be a member of Good Shepherd, all we need to know is that you’re baptized and want to be considered a member.
  • But perhaps you feel a call to make public your intention to make the Episcopal Church your home base.

Reaffirmation: Saying “yes” to God yet again

Why reaffirm?

  • This option is available for everyone else, including sponsors of those going through other rites. Some people feel a call to reaffirm their baptismal vows, especially when they have been through a big change in life. You can reaffirm your baptismal vows anytime you like and as many times as you like, right alongside those who are undergoing these other rites.

Leadership: To take on certain ministries and leadership roles in the Episcopal Church, you must be confirmed or received as an Episcopalian. These include:

  • Vestry
  • Delegate to Diocesan Convention
  • Eucharistic Minister
  • Eucharistic Visitor
  • Worship Leader

The Way: Explorer

What does THE WAY to confirmation, reception, or reaffirmation look like?

The Way: Explore

EXPLORATION (September – November)

  • No group has formed yet, but your journey with Christ has already begun.
  • Undertake communal worship as a weekly practice and personal prayer as a daily practice.
  • Make a financial pledge to the church, whether large or small, to dedicate yourself to a Christian practice of giving.
  • During this time, make known your desire to enter the official process for baptism, confirmation, or reception.
  • You will be assigned a sponsor to walk through this journey with you.
The Way: Engagement

ENGAGEMENT (December – February)

  • Sunday, December 5: We welcome newcomers with a twice-yearly rite. Perhaps you are among them!
  • During Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, reflect on the possibility of joining The Way and engage in personal prayer practices.
  • Sunday, January 9: In church together, we welcome our 2022 group of participants and sponsors of The Way into existence.
  • Weekly meetings of the group begin during Epiphany, at a time TBD. We spend this time telling one another the stories of our lives from the perspective of our Christian faith.
The Way: Commitment

COMMITMENT (March – April)

  • Ash Wednesday, March 2: Those seeking confirmation or reception are invited to help the clergy distribute ashes.
  • The First Sunday in Lent, March 6: The group again stands before the congregation for prayers.
  • Weekly meetings of the group continue during Lent. We hold the contents of our lives up against the story of Christ and grow in understanding together.
  • Holy Week, April 10-16: The group attends church on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter. You may be invited to take part in specific tasks at these liturgies.
The Way: Discernment

DISCERNMENT (April – May and beyond)

  • Weekly meetings continue through the fifty days of Easter. The group explores God’s purposes for us as individuals and as a community.
  • Saturday, May 7: Cathedral Day. At St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle, the group is confirmed or received in this annual diocesan celebration. Sponsors are encouraged to reaffirm their baptismal vows formally at the same time.
  • Sunday, June 5: The Day of Pentecost, and The Rite of Affirmation of Vocation. All participants in the group share with the congregation the fruit of their experience and their discernment about God’s next call in their lives.
  • This year’s group disbands, but our formation as Christians never ends.

Questions? Contact Pastor Josh.

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