C of E basic questions

(58 Posts)
flotsomandjetsom Sun 13-Jan-13 21:03:48

I am a lapsed catholic and recently started attending a C of E church which I have enjoyed. If we decide to stay with C of E what happens about my child in terms of sacrements? She is baptised catholic. I assume she cant be baptised C of E, but do they have 1st holy communion and is confirmation different?

BackforGood Sun 13-Jan-13 21:42:08

Just didn't want your post to go unanswered, although I'm a Methodist myself, so can't answer for the CofE !
Would the best way forwards not to be asking if you can have a visit from the vicar or a lay person to answer some of your questions ?

Tuo Sun 13-Jan-13 21:51:43

Hi flotsomandjetsom - I'm so glad you've found a church where you're happy.

I will try to answer your questions, but there are others on here who know more than me and who'll be able to correct me if I'm wrong.

As far as I understand it, your dd's Catholic baptism will be recognised by the Anglican Church, so she won't need to be baptised again.

The Anglican Church doesn't have First Holy Communion, and the norm would be for her to go up for a blessing rather than to receive communion until such time as she is confirmed. However, I know that some churches (mine just did it for the first time) have a very simple (not a big thing, like a Catholic FHC) service of 'Admission to Holy Communion before Confirmation', after which younger kids can receive communion. Some churches may allow anyone who's been baptised to receive communion (I have seen this in the US, but not personally in the UK... but my experience is not extensive) - I think it'll depend on the vicar (and possibly also on the diocese).

Confirmation seems to happen a bit younger nowadays than it did back in the Dark Ages when I was young. I was confirmed at about 14, I think. My dd was confirmed last year at the age of 10, and the youngest in her group was 7 (though I think that's a bit young, tbh - the others were between 10 and 14, plus a few adults).

I hope this helps. If in doubt, of course, the best thing would be to talk to the vicar.

ReallyTired Sun 13-Jan-13 21:54:46

The church of england is very varied in style. Some churches are very similar in style to the catholics where as other churches are more like the evangelical free churches. Its probably best to speak to the priest to know what your church's policy is.

Your daughter would be baptised again as the Church of England recongises Catholic baptism and you can only be baptised once. You can only be baptised once.

Churches vary considerably when they allow children to recieve first communion. High Anglican churches often allow children to recieve first communion from seven years old after a course of instruction. My son had 6 first communion classes and had his first communion at nine years old. It is not the same as comfirmation as pre teen children cannot make the commitment of confirmation.
Other churches insist they wait until thirteen or fourteen and they take their first communion at the same time as confirmation.

Tuo Sun 13-Jan-13 22:18:50

ReallyTired... My dd was definitely confirmed at 10 - I think that the deciding factor is whether the child in question understands what it is that they are promising. In my dd's case, she hadn't been baptised as a baby and had actually asked to be baptised rather than confirmed, and it was the priest who suggested that she could be baptised and confirmed at the same time. I think that the fact that she had come forward of her own free will to ask to be baptised was proof enough that she knew that she wanted to make a public and formal acknowledgement of her faith, so her age wasn't really an issue.

ReallyTired Sun 13-Jan-13 22:24:57

Tuo... a lot depends on the area, and the policies of the priest, church and dioese. My son has had first communion, but he isn't confirmed. Our church insists that children wait until 13.

Tuo Sun 13-Jan-13 22:33:12

Hi... yeah, it definitely varies... I'm not sure who makes the final decision, whether it's the priest-in-charge or the bishop...

Anyway, for F&J's purposes, the main thing is that her dd's baptism is valid, and that for the rest she can check with the priest.

flotsomandjetsom Sun 13-Jan-13 23:03:03

Thanks all very much for your replies. It has made things a little clearer. I dont feel brave enough yet to discuss wiv the vicar as not 100% sure we're ready 2 commit 2 anything, just curious really.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 20-Jan-13 08:31:30

"My dd was confirmed last year at the age of 10, and the youngest in her group was 7"

I'm sorry but that's disgusting. Confirmation is supposed to be an individual deciding for themselves to follow a faith. You can't expect a 10 year old to understand enough about what they are being told to do, let alone a 7 year old.

Confirmation should be reserved for adults. Why isn't it? Because by the time most people are 18 (especially in the UK) they are far less likely to confirm themselves and the Church couldn't have that, could they?

Out Of interest, how much do baptisms and confirmations cost these days?

GinandJag Sun 20-Jan-13 08:45:51

If she is baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, she cannot be re-baptised in the CofE.

If she grows in her own faith, she will take herself to Confirmation in her mid-teens. She can reaffirm baptismal vows (ie say them for herself) at this time.

It is not standard in the CofE to share HC until confirmed, but some Dioceses now all this "admit children to Holy Communion".

AuntieStella Sun 20-Jan-13 08:48:34

It would be unusual in CofE to be confirmed that early (simply doesn't happen in our parish, and I've never heard of it anywhere else before).

Typical age for Confirmation would be early secondary school age (year 7-9).

First Communion was only introduced fairly recently, and not all parishes have it as the norm. Those that do (and the one I know that does it is on the evangelic side; the Anglo-catholic church I know does go in for it) do it about mid-primary age (year 4ish).

AuntieStella Sun 20-Jan-13 08:49:20

"does not go in for it"

AuntieStella Sun 20-Jan-13 08:51:39


Both free - though a (waivable) small charge may be levied for certificates.

GinandJag Sun 20-Jan-13 08:53:54

A baptism doesn't cost anything but there is an £11 fee for the certificate, usually waived by the PCC for members of the church family.

I don't think there is a fee for confirmation, as these are usually for church family exclusively. The bishop's expenses will be covered by parish share, so paid for by regular worshippers.

sunnyday123 Sun 20-Jan-13 09:08:32

Our parish does communion and confirmation at the same time at age 8!

pixi2 Sun 20-Jan-13 09:11:53

I am classed as 'high Anglican' . It's basically catholic without the confession side. Baptism and confirmations are free. V. Glad as what we were charged for the wedding was almost extortionate.

Trazzletoes Sun 20-Jan-13 09:17:45

I was baptised and confirmed CofE in the 90s and didn't have to pay anything...

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 20-Jan-13 09:52:40

Well that's good at least. Still seems like a pointless exercise to me at that age though. What 7 year old can honestly tell you that they've considered all the alternatives, understand the church sufficiently and have chosen it as their "way". Not many, I can tell you. This is the indulgence of the parents, as is baptism. Perhaps we should be letting our children make their own choices.

Trazzletoes Sun 20-Jan-13 09:58:03

Pedro I was confirmed at 16 and, in retrospect, am not entirely certain that I had done the things you've listed...

Children can sometimes have a greater understanding of things than adults. I think a child of ten is perfectly possible of making up their own mind about what they believe.


Tuo Sun 20-Jan-13 11:56:09

Gosh, Pedro... That's a bit harsh!

I don't think that my dd2's confirmation was 'disgusting'. I think that she made a conscious decision to make a public statement of her faith, and I know - because we talked about it - that she understood what she was promising. She also had preparatory lessons and attends church regularly.

She had actually asked to be baptised, rather than confirmed, having not been baptised as a baby. (I had a lengthy agnostic period, and didn't feel able to make the baptismal promises on her behalf when I wasn't at all sure what I believed myself; I have returned, very happily, to my faith in the last couple of years.) The request came from her, not from me; it was not, as you say, 'an indulgence of the parents'. I have another dd (dd1) who chooses not to go to church. She knows about Christianity and is interested in it from a philosophical perspective, but she doesn't believe. That, too, is her choice.

My dd2 knew that she didn't need to be baptised, but she asked for it because she was ready to acknowledge her faith and her full belonging to the Church family. Surely the fact that she was able to articulate and request this for herself suggests that she understood what baptism and confirmation meant, and embraced their implications for her as a young Christian.

The implication that the Church would only baptise and confirm people for the money (I presume that's what you're implying) is just wrong. I did not pay a penny for her baptism and confirmation. The Church opened its arms and welcomed my daughter, it did not buy her. That really would be disgusting - but it's not the case.

(Of course, you are entitled to your view that confirmation should be reserved for adults, and of course that is the practice in some churches. I respect that. But please don't disparage my daughter's desire to embrace her faith.)

Tuo sounds like your daughter is a very thoughtful girl. Glad it was such a good thing for her. I chose to be baptised at 16 having not been baptised as a baby.

MadHairDay Sun 20-Jan-13 14:57:47

Pedro, my DD, like TUO's, was confirmed at ten years old.

She was given complete choice as to whether she wanted to make such a decision. There was no question of us telling her she had to do it. We told her she could do it when she wanted, or not do it at all. She was insistent that she wanted to confirm her own faith. She was baptised as a baby and felt she wanted the opportunity of saying in public that she had this faith.

She'd already been admitted to communion at 7 so it was not a case of wanting to join in the sacrament. It was much more profound.

There was absolutely no cost. We had a big service with loads getting baptised and confirmed then a huge bunfight in the hall. DD still looks back on the day as being incredibly special to her.

How could this be 'disgusting'?

You'd actually be in danger of of saying the same about an adult with a profound learning difficulty, if you went along the line of a child's understanding not being good enough. Would you bar such an adult from confirmation? How can you quantify understanding? A child's understanding may be basic, but if it is their faith and their decision, what is the problem?

Tuo Sun 20-Jan-13 15:09:18

OP - just came back to say, don't let the differences of opinion expressed here put you off. If you're happy with the church you're attending now, keep going; keep asking questions here, and if/when you want to talk to your vicar too... Good luck.

(Oh and FWIW, my church is pretty liberal - e.g. in its attitude towards women priests, etc. - but 'high' in the 'smells 'n' bells' sense...)

MaryBS Sun 20-Jan-13 17:46:40

I have a real issue with people who say "I'm sorry but..." when they aren't sorry at all. Another one is "no offence but". You aren't sorry Pedro, why say it? hmm

My daughter was confirmed at 12, this was her choice, she asked to do it, no-one pushed her into it. She was already receiving communion, so there was no pressure there either. My husband was confirmed at 45 smile.

We are all different, our needs are different, thank God that God reaches out to each of us as we are rather than insisting we reach a certain level of holiness, a certain level of intellectual or theological stature, or even a certain AGE before being judged worthy to be his child grin

GinandJag Sun 20-Jan-13 18:06:18

I think I'd be a bit suspicious if all 7 year olds in a church were being confirmed at the same time.

At our church, we invite those in Y9 and above to bring themselves to confirmation. About 2/3 of them will respond in Y9. Most of the rest will come forward in Y10 or Y11. (we have been very fortunate recently to have annual bishop visits).

I think if we were to visit our Y2 or Y3 groups and invite them to confirmation, they would all jump up, shouting "me, me, me". I can't really picture teaching young children about confirmation where they really think about it and sometimes reject it.

In my church, confirmation is not a sacrament, so waiting a few years does not deprive the child of an inward grace. We are very happy of any child to bring themselves to baptism, however, which is a sacrament.

Tuo Sun 20-Jan-13 18:34:37

No, no, no... Not all 7 year olds were encouraged to do so, and I know nothing about the 7 year old in question. I only know how old she was because dd asked her. But I guess my point is that it's not for me to judge her readiness, and certainly not on account of her age alone.

In my church there is no hint of a whole year-group being 'targeted' for confirmation (or anything else). Those interested in exploring the possibility were simply invited to talk to a priest about it, and then a group was confirmed (and a couple, like my dd, also baptised). The onus was always on the individual to make the choice for her/himself.

GinandJag Sun 20-Jan-13 19:23:17

That's reassuring, Tuo. It's a far cry from the RCC first communion of all 7 year olds (in their little wedding dresses), and blanket Y8 confirmations in CofE prep schools.

I think I struggle a bit with <10yo confirmations because we don't introduce that concept in our church. I don't think any child knows about confirmation until they are invited to attend classes round about Y9. I don't think many children have the personal urge to affirm their lifelong faith. I think that those who have made the decision, as children, to follow Christ rather than the ways if the world, can wait a few years. Their lifelong decision isn't going to change.

My DD1 was confirmed a couple of years ago, aged 15. The service was held in a neighbouring church - we participate in annual Deanery confirmations. Everyone from our church was either a teenager, aged 14 -16 or an adult of any age. Everyone from our host church was a child, around 8yo. The service demonstrated the diversity of the CofE.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 20-Jan-13 19:38:03

Ok, firstly, I wasn't implying that the church was making money off these ceremonies, I was genuinely curious as to the cost.

Secondly, these children of 10 and below who are being confirmed, I have no reason to believe that they did not do this freely and willingly, but can you honestly tell me that they studied the Bible fully and completely, that they studied the Torah, the Qur'an, the ancient Greek and Roman texts? Have they a strong understanding of scientific theories on evolution, the origin of the universe, genetics, etc, etc? If the answer to any of those is no, then they are not making the decision to follow their faith with sufficient understanding. These children are clearly already attending church regularly, so they are being taught about Christian beliefs and it's only natural they would think that being confirmed is something that they want to do because they are told about it, they see other children going through it it is presented as a natural next step. How many children of 10 who do not regularly go to church do you see being confirmed? Probably not many. That tells you one of two things. Either children of this age do not come to their own conclusion that confirmation is something they should/want to do or that only children who go to church are competent enough to make this choice. Which seems more likely?

In addition to all of this, children under 10 are not considered, by law, in this country to be responsible for their own actions. So I would argue quite strongly that children of 7 are certainly not able to make the choices that they are being asked to make in these ceremonies.

Finally, MaryBS, whilst it's more a turn of phrase, I AM sorry. I am sorry for the children who are guided down this path of believing what they are told and not being encouraged to explore for themselves with the correct tools.

GinandJag Sun 20-Jan-13 19:54:19

TBF, I don't think many adult confirmands can fulfil your requirements.

I was confirmed at 27 and had no knowledge of the. Torah, Koran or Ancient Greek.

What I did know was that I wanted to follow the ways of Christ rather than the ways of the world.

God does not deny the riches of heaven to those who only have a child-like understanding of theology.

What I perhaps have an issue with is children coming forward because of suggestion or herd instinct. I don't come from a particularly sacramental heritage, so I don't see the harm of denying HC for a couple of years. The blessing they get is pretty good.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 20-Jan-13 20:10:48

I was confirmed at 27 and had no knowledge of the. Torah, Koran or Ancient Greek.

Were you ignorant of fact that other religions existed? If not, what would possess you to make you decision to follow one faith without at least having looked into the others a little bit. That kind of thinking is what stunted scientific development for hundreds of years through the middle ages.

What I did know was that I wanted to follow the ways of Christ rather than the ways of the world.

What do you mean by this? What is following the ways of the world?

God does not deny the riches of heaven to those who only have a child-like understanding of theology.

This statement is fairly empty of substance. It is religious waffle as it assumes the existence of god and also suggests that everyone is entitled to heaven anyway, so what's the point in following the faith if there's no distinction between those who do or don't follow or believe?

Tuo Sun 20-Jan-13 20:24:55

G&J: Definitely (re. diversity in the CofE)... I wasn't confirmed till I was in my teens and thought that was the norm. I wouldn't have pushed my dd to get confirmed at any age. But equally I supported her desire to do so.

Pedro: This thread was started by someone looking for information about the CofE. I suggest you start your own thread if you want to debate the existence of God and under what conditions/at what age someone can be considered capable of choosing to follow Him.

GinandJag Sun 20-Jan-13 22:02:51

Pedro, I am not stupid. I know of other faiths. I have lived overseas, and now live in probably the most racially diverse part of the UK. Stop trying to be condescending.

I forgot to mention that I am also a scientist.

I am sorry that you don't have what I have.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 20-Jan-13 22:10:08

You said you knew nothing of the other faiths. I'm not being condescending, merely clarifying what your position was. Either you had some knowledge of them or not.

Don't be sorry, I'm not.
What kind of scientist are you?

niminypiminy Sun 20-Jan-13 22:39:55

Pedro, I am wondering why you feel compelled to post on this thread. This is not really the place to conduct a debate about whether parents who are practising Christians should take their children to church with them, and teach their children about their faith, nor about whether God exists, or whether science is superior, or whether the Bible is true. You would be welcome to start such a thread, and you would find Christians who would be willing to debate with you.

What I can say with some certainty is that Christians will not suddenly see the light of atheism if it is presented in such a rude and hectoring fashion.

I got confirmed at 18 having become a Christian at 18. I knew a little of other faiths but not a lot. I loved Jesus, and still do. I wanted to publicly declare that love.

I got married at 36, I had not loved many other men, nor did I know much about them, I wanted to committ to the one I loved.

I think that love and faith are quite similar, it is about heart knowledge as well as head knowledge.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 20-Jan-13 23:18:13

It's odd how aggressive everyone gets when their religions are challenged on their morality. I was only responding initially to bizarre comfortability which people seem to have in letting their 7 year olds commit to a faith which they clearly are not qualified to do.

Tuo Sun 20-Jan-13 23:29:34

Err... no. I said that someone else's child who was confirmed with my dd was 7. My dd was 10, and I have explained why I felt that she was 'qualified' (in your bizarre term) to do so, on the basis of her own understanding of and desire to commit to her faith.

A comittment to faith is something personal between an individual and God (imho). The service of confirmation (or believers baptism in some churches) is an outward expression of this. The vast majority of people talking about confirmation were talking about people who are older.

Pedro I am sorry if you sense aggression. There was a comment about a confirmation being 'disgusting', which I think was rather offensive. Also, I think it might be that this was a thread asking about specific things about a denomination not one wanting to discuss the bigger issues in this specific space.

For that reason I think I will leave it there but I wanted to reply to you simply because I did not want you to feel that Christians are afraid to discuss faith. I am sure there are lots of other threads on here where Christians are doing just that.

Sorry tuo I was responding to Pedro not you and defining a commitment to faith in my words as personal, not commenting on what you had written, as I did not see it until after I posted.

Tuo Mon 21-Jan-13 02:04:34

That's OK, ItalianGreyhound. I realised that. And, yes, I didn't mean to come across as aggressive, though I may well have come across as defensive, since something important to me and to my daughter had been defined as 'disgusting'.

MadHairDay Mon 21-Jan-13 10:39:15

Pedro, you don't seem to have answered my question about adults with learning difficulties. There is a man in our church with Down's Syndrome, he has very little understanding in terms of what you qualify as suitable understanding, yet he has a living and active faith. Would you disqualify him from confirmation? Because by your logic about children, you would.

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 17:05:58

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 19:20:19

If people were not subjected to any kind of religious faith until they were adults, many fewer would join the sects. Because children are subjected to the fairy tales when they are younger and have it presented to them as fact, they believe it because of an inherent compulsion of juveniles to trust their superiors (parents, guardians, people of status in their community). This is an evolved trait as it's genetically advantageous to trust the experience of parents. This trait also exists in those with impaired mental capacity. Nothing says that they cannot live an active life nor that they cannot have a genuine faith. But they will most certainly have difficulty making the decision to choose a belief on their own. Mad, they guy in your church, if he had been brought up in a Muslim household, do you think he would be attending your Christian church?

MaryBS Mon 21-Jan-13 19:59:58

Thank God for God's grace, thats all I can say. God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform. Thank God Jesus said let the little children come to me. Thank God I'm bringing my children up in a Christian household, so they can understand properly what it means to be a Christian without being tempted to join the churchofjudgypants (not that I am saying anyone on here belongs of course... wink)

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 20:04:03

Bless you, Mary smile

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 20:07:52

"God moves in a mysterious way"

Ah, the all encompassing get out clause to explain anything that doesn't really fit.

Mary, why is it that the only alternative to being Christian is being judgy?

MaryBS Mon 21-Jan-13 20:12:38

Didn't say that. In fact some of the most judgmental people I've come across have been Christian.

God DOES move in mysterious ways. Not a get out at all. IF he doesn't would you care to explain why you think he doesn't?

AND you didn't answer the question about whether someone with Down's should be disqualified from Confirmation?

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 20:14:51

God surpasses understanding which is equivalent to saying mysterious.

Of course God has thought processes far superior to those he created.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 20:19:26

I don't need to explain why he doesn't because I don't believe he exists. Those who DO believe he exists but can't explain, for example, why he would allow natural disasters to kill thousands of innocent people, say that he moves in mysterious ways and that we can not understand why he chooses to allow the things he does. This seems to be a sufficient answer to believers without further question. Which is rather insulting to the intelligence of most people.

MaryBS Mon 21-Jan-13 20:27:31

So if you don't believe, why are you bothered about Confirmation? Or anything else that has been said on this thread?

I'd gladly explain my thought processes about God, and why he allows suffering, but it would take a long time, and involves a journey of half a life time, so to properly explain it would take some time, but I don't think you're really interested, you're just trying to derail this thread.

niminypiminy Mon 21-Jan-13 20:38:48

Those of us who have childen do our best to bring them up in the light of the values that we believe in and live out, and to teach them the things we have found to be true, and to pass on what we believe the best way to live. For Christians that means bringing our children up in the faith that we ourselves practice. So, Pedro, that's why I take my children to church, and why I hope they will be confirmed at whatever age they think they want to.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 20:48:08

Not at all, I'm fascinated to understand the belief. But I'm bothered about the confirmation of minors because inducting children into a faith before they understand exactly what it means is unfair. They do it "willingly" because they are conditioned to believe that it is something they should do and are not presented with alternative faiths (or non faith based understanding).

This conditioning leads them to support their church (or building of choice for their faith), they attend regularly, taking with them their fairy tales and converting them to "truths". This propagates a larger organisation which thrives on relieving it's members of their small change, relieving it's more deeply invested of their lives and relieving tax payers of millions of pounds every year in this country alone.

These wider organisations, supported at the lowest level by their unsuspecting moderate believers, are manipulated by devout extremists to support some of the most horrendous acts ever brought upon the human race.

This is why I have a problem with a ceremony being performed for a child which is supposed to be an educated decision to follow a faith. It is no less child abuse at its core than slicing off pieces of genitalia of babies to appease a deity.

niminypiminy Mon 21-Jan-13 20:57:38

Rubbish. Paranoid fantasy.

Perhaps you do not have children and so do not know how hard it is to get them to do anything they do not want to. For example, you have to tell them to say 'please' and 'thankyou' many hundreds of times before they will learn to say it. I only wish it was so easy to indoctrinate them as you suppose. My job as a parent would be so much easier!

But seriously, I can't really see that the CofE is being manipulated by extremists to support some of the most horrendous acts ever perpetuated. It is more likely that it is a stealth operation to support the profits of PG Tips and United Biscuits.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 21:09:53

Of course I have a child, I'd look pretty odd hanging around Mumsnet if I didn't.

Indoctrination of children is incredibly easy when it comes to teaching them what is true. Getting them not to put their fingers in a plug socket is a completely different thing to explaining to them that God made all the flowers. It's surprisingly easy to indoctrinate many adults too apparently. Just look a the number of people who get caught up in cults like Scientology. Vulnerable people are easy to convince and children are some of the most vulnerable, innocent and niaive humans that there are.

The CofE is a Christian organisation. Christians have been the direct cause of numerous wars and acts of terrorism throughout human history. As a whole they are milder now, but by no means completely peaceful. Religious disagreement is the main cause of hostile aggression in the world. Islam is currently going through a period of global aggression as they have more influence in the world than they ever have and they have very similar structures of low level moderate followers supporting the wider organisations.

niminypiminy Mon 21-Jan-13 21:41:47

How do I know you're not a spam-bot generated by Richarddawkins.net? I have no evidence that you're a real person let alone a real person with a child.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 21:58:41

Haha!! My arguments would be much more solid if I was!

What evidence would you like?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now