Confirmation offer the chance for people who have been baptised as infants or young children to confirm their baptismal promises in public, to make a firm commitment to Christian discipleship and to receive the laying on of the bishop’s hands with prayer.
In past years, Confirmation was often received by large groups of children around the age of 12 or 13, as passport to receiving Holy Communion, and sadly in some cases as a kind of exit ritual from church life. Today, Confirmation has a different and much richer role in Christian formation.
Children who have been baptised are encouraged to be admitted to receiving Holy Communion, with appropriate preparation, from as young as six years old. Confirmation, then, is normally offered from the age of 16 in the Diocese of Perth, unless there are good reasons, discussed with the Archbishop, for Confirmation at a younger age.
Adults are often confirmed. Sometimes they were baptised as infants but have not previously professed their own faith and baptismal promises. Sometimes they have come to Anglicanism from another church which does not have bishops as part of its order. Many adults who come to faith and ask for baptism (not having been previously baptised) are receive the laying-on of hands by the Bishop in Confirmation, immediately following their baptism.
For those who have been mature Christians in another denomination, a service of Reception into the Anglican Church is available, as is the opportunity for the Reaffirmation of Faith after a time of being separated from the Church. To find out which service fits your circumstances, talk to your parish priest or chaplain.
Candidates for Confirmation undertake instruction in the Christian faith, and formation in prayer, worship, bible reading, giving and serving, in ways appropriate to their age and background.