Confirmation / Affirmation of Baptism
In the Evangelical Lutheran tradition, we believe that God is the actor in the sacrament of Baptism, and that God’s actions are always effective! If a person has been baptized in any Christian tradition or congregation, at any age or stage of their life, God has made that person God’s own, and has joined their human life to God’s eternal life through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. There is nothing a person can ever do to undo or reverse these unbreakable promises God has made to them.
This does not mean that there is nothing a person can do to show and celebrate their own commitment to this relationship God has with them. The practice of making our own promises to God and committing or re-committing to our faith is called Affirmation of Baptism, or Confirmation.
Affirmation of Baptism is appropriate at many different times in our lives of faith. The most familiar of these occasions is a celebration of Confirmation for young people in our church. We offer a two-year program of Confirmation Classes for youth, usually around the stage of grade 7-8. During these classes, students work closely with the pastor to study the holy scriptures, Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, and our Evangelical Lutheran understanding of the church in the world. At the completion of these classes, the young person has enough information to make the choice whether or not they wish to take a mature responsibility for their lives of faith, and make the promises that their parents and sponsors made in their behalf at their baptism for themselves. The celebration of the young person’s Confirmation takes place as part of a Sunday worship, and is a joyous occasion for the whole congregation.
Affirmation of Baptism is also appropriate at other occasions in our lives of faith. Sometimes, a whole congregation celebrates a corporate Affirmation of Baptism as part of worship. Sometimes, Affirmation of Baptism is part of a worship service which welcomes new adult members to a congregation. Affirmation of Baptism would also be an appropriate ritual to acknowledge a name change or gender identity transition, and celebrate these changes in a person’s life as part of their life of faith.
Normally, Affirmation of Baptism takes place during our regular weekly worship service, as part of the ritual involves the congregation also welcoming and promising to support and encourage the person making this affirmation. In certain circumstances, private or family gatherings for Affirmation of Baptism may be appropriate.
Affirmation of Baptism is an important part of our ministry as a congregation of followers of Jesus. There is no charge or fee for joining our worshiping community or participating in Confirmation Classes. Usually, we ask families to pay for the cost of the study materials (approximately $50), but we do not want financial concerns to provide a barrier to participating in this program. On the day of celebrating an Affirmation of Baptism, If you wish to make a donation to the ongoing ministry of the church as we collect our offering in worship or make a specific donation to our Memorial Fund to mark this special occasion, you are more than welcome to do so.