“I look forward to this day every year” said the Bishop!
Which day? Which Bishop? The day was the day when children from St Chrysostom’s School come to church to be confirmed. They are encouraged and supported by their friends, classmates, teachers and family – and of course by church people too. Bishop Mark (that’s the Bishop) has led the celebration each year for several years.
In some parts of the Church of England Confirmation has gone out of fashion. Not at St Chrysostom’s! Of course we are ‘church for a different world’ at St C’s. that means celebrating and honouring what is good in our tradition and proclaiming it afresh for today. That’s what our Confirmation day tries to do!
The day begins with getting church ready, and candidates are getting ready in school. The Bishop arrives at the School and is welcomed by children and staff, shown new developments, and visits classrooms before enjoying a school dinner with the children in the school hall. Then candidates for Confirmation have a special meeting with the bishop and then all going to church gather for the procession to Church. This year Mr Elswood, the executive headteacher, carefully marshalled the procession, and off the procession went complete with banners and this year, for the first time St John Chrysostom joined us! (in statue form).
At school the children were splendid in behaviour. Eleven children were confirmed and of those seven were first of all baptised. The school has children from so many different cultures and over 40 different languages are represented at the school. It was wonderful to see the variety represented in the children being confirmed.
This was evangelism in celebration – and in a multi faith setting. Great care is taken to make the words of the liturgy understandable, straightforward and with meaning for all the children. Bishop Mark took great care to honour the different faiths present and encouraged all to commit themselves to prayer – whatever their faith.
Well over 200 people (children and adults) were present on this weekday afternoon – very much showing our activities at Church are “more than Sunday!” The attention of all present was inspirational, and the sincerity and care of the children being confirmed was an example to all.
What a wonderful celebration of the Scaraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
Thank you children, thank you school staff and a special thanks to Bishop Mark.