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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?

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.

Italiangreyhound Sun 20-Jan-13 22:49:43

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.

Italiangreyhound Sun 20-Jan-13 23:32:48

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.

Italiangreyhound Mon 21-Jan-13 00:05:50

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.

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