CofE Eucharist - baptised but not confirmed.(29 Posts)
I've only recently started to go to church after spending the majority of my adult life as a pretty militant athiest. When I fist went I didn't realise there were rules about holy communion so I just had it, but the priest quickly realised that I wasn't confirmed and said I could go up for a blessing. I've visited a few churches near me and they all do the same. I have been bapitsed.
The priest offered to allow me to attend confirmation classes and get confirmed this easter, knowing full well I'm not sure whether Jesus was the son of God....why would you confirm a confused agnostic?? It appears holy communion is a very sacred thing you can only have if you're confirmed but confirmation is apparently a throw away thing if they will confirm anyone!
It has really put me off, I feel very left out when everyone else goes up. Because I love it. I absolutely love it. I feel less empty, it fills such a need in me, its my favorite part. I even find myself going to cathedrals (like St Pauls) where I can have it in peace :/ Am I being disrespectful by doing this?
I don't understand the whole thing.
In our church (Anglican) the vicar invites anyone who loves the lord and accepts Jesus as their saviour to receive communion, but we are a fairly relaxed "low" church. On maundy Thursday we had a ceremony where we each gave communion (naan bread) to the person next to us, which was very special.
I think churches vary a lot in how they deal with communion, some high c of e churches are almost like Catholic churches.
With regards to confirmation, the classes may be a good start to help you explore your beliefs, you don't actually have to get confirmed if you don't feel ready. Also, something like the alpha course may be helpful too.
I'm from a higher end of middle of the road church if that makes any sense.
The key sacrament is baptism and you can receive communion as long as you intend to seek confirmation. I did for a year when I was at university and had missed the annual confirmation bunfight.
Why not go on a confirmation course and see where it leads to. Faith is a journey rather than a destination.
I agree with PPs who suggested doing the confirmation course. It's a fairly long period of time, at the end you will think carefully about whether you are able to make the commitment of confirmation.
BTW the church will confirm anyone, on proviso that they understand the commitment they are making and are willing to make that commitment. So it would be very much up to you if you felt sincere in your desire to be confirmed.
Finally, one of my favourite bible quotes:
Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief (Mark 9.24)
It does make sense to go on a course - either the confirmation one you were offered, or even something like an Alpha course elsewhere. By starting the course, you are not committing to being confirmed, you are committing to finding out if it is for you.
However, it does vary from Church to Church. I go to a Methodist Church and the minister makes a real point that there is no barrier to receiving communion other than loving the Lord. Some Anglican Churches are like this, others are not.
I've always considered our church pretty high (we have both smells and bells), with some catholic practices. But as for communion, we practise an open table, where anyone who attends another church can take communion, as can anyone who feels so inclined that day. I'm no expert but I think it's an increasingly common practice. I was reading the other day about more churches practising 'radical hospitality', and it feels to me an extension of this.
I always go up for a blessing. I was raised in a religiously hybrid family (an Anglican and a non-practising Jew and a Quaker Jewish granny) and feel uncomfortable taking part in communion as a practice.
Although I attend church partly through necessity (I'm a choirgirl's mum), I've begun to look forward to my Sunday mornings (and occasional evenings).
The point of confirmation is that you make your own statement of belief, in the form of the creed.
So it isn't that they will confirm "anyone" but rather they will confirm those who make this vow. And confirmation is a sacrament.
I very much agree with greenheart that faith is a journey. I think you might really benefit from going on a course; either the confirmation course offered or another course in another church you feel you would trust. It's a great way to explore faith. It seems you're experiencing something profound in the Eucharist, something at a deeper level than you can understand and many of us understand that. At my church we welcome anyone who loves the Lord, we don't specify the confirmed but do encourage confirmation for people who want to go forward and take that step. I don't think you're unreasonable for going to different churches to receive communion, the fact that you are obviously meeting with God in the depth of that is compelling you to seek that which is wonderful. There is nothing wrong with that; it's a stage along the journey you are following and doesn't mean you have to go one way or the other.
I'm Catholic and I was baptised, made my first confession, first holy communion and confirmation.
I thought you had to have made your communion in order to receive it in church?
I'm in a fairly similar situation to you, but decided to go ahead with the confirmation classes, and am going to be confirmed at the end of May. I'm very glad I did, because one of the most valuable aspects of the classes for me has been looking closely at the actual words of the liturgy and putting them into context, which makes some of the difficult parts a lot more acceptable.
My experience so far has been that the sort of CofE church which is strict about taking communion tends to be one which has more of an emphasis on the mystery and general unknowability of God, and therefore is one which doesn't see doubt as all that unusual or problematic.
I only go up for a blessing at the moment, but I don't feel excluded, because I do think that understanding whst is happening during the Eucharist is important.
You might be interested in reading Take this Bread by Sara Miles, which is on my to-read list. It's the autobiography of a woman who was an atheist, a successful journalist in her forties who pretty much wandered into a church one day and took communion and felt the same sort of instant sense of completion you describe. She ended up becoming a priest and running a huge food bank.
I'm glad you suggested that broomstick - I read it last year and thought it was fascinating. She found the Eucharist an incredible experience of mystery and closeness to God, and from that experience she became involved in some local community initiatives involving feeding the poor and homeless etc, the church did this as part of the eucharistic meal and that was very important to her. A worthwhile read.
At my C of E church anyone can take communion. The bread and wine/grape juice are passed round and anyone who wishes can take it. You don't need to be confirmed.
The verse normally used as a basis for refusing communion is 1 Corinthians 11:29. But I think it takes a rather dubious view to interpret it to mean that it you are unconfirmed or have an unconfessed sin etc that you shouldn't partake. I think it is more about coming to it with decent intentions, not wanting to misuse the sacrament or misrepresent yourself (e.g. it has been known for people to try and keep the bread and use it in witchcraft). I don't think having doubts is a reason to not go up, quite the opposite of anything.
But then I am pretty much lowest of low churches: being baptised isn't a requirement to partake; children are welcome if parents are ok with it etc.
hello Alice I was confirmed as an adult, i think it joins you to the church formally.
don't understand the whole thing.
Well no need to let that put you off totally believing it...
@kel1493 In the CofE, they don't do first holy communions in childhood as Catholics do, but as part of Confirmation when they are teenagers.
I was raised as a practicing Anglican and confirmed at 11. Converted to the RC church at 22 and had to be re confirmed before I could receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church. Best thing I ever did though! It does upset my mum and dad that I will not take communion in their church anymore.
Do the confirmation course - it will give you lots of opportunities to talk about faith and, if you're not sure by the end, you can still decide not to be confirmed.
They've started doing First Communions in CofE. My friend's DC did it - several years ago now. I didn't know when it changed.
I have real issues with this - I had an adult believers baptism in a CofE church and have declined to be confirmed as I think if you've had a believers baptism it's pretty meaningless.
I wonder how attached to your church you are? I think most CofE churches expect baptism before taking communion but few would check, and if you are willing to broaden your search to other denominations then maybe you'll find somewhere that handles communion in a way you feel happier with. I think it's a grey area faith wise - you are no less a child of God for being confused by this as it's largely human interpretation that's at issue here.
And personally I can't imagine that God is anything other than lovingly supportive of your visits to the cathedral to share the Lord's supper there.
That said, Alpha/ Christianity Explored (I've done both at different times in my Christian journey) are brilliant courses for enquirers and doubters and believers. You can be all 3.
I think most CofE churches expect baptism before taking communion
Not in my experience. All the c if e churches I've been to have accepted anyone who has put their trust in Jesus for communion. I've never been anywhere where the question of baptism has been raised.
Actually Church of England Canon Law is very clear. You cannot receive communion unless you have been baptised and before you can receive communion unless you have been formally admitted, either through confirmation or a course of preparation (this applies particularly to children admitted to communion before confirmation). Those are the rules and all clergy in the Church of England promise to obey them when they are ordained.
Except of course many Evangelical clergy ignore them because they don't actually attach much significance to communion (another rule that frequently gets broken is the requirement to hold a communion service each week, yet another is refusing to baptise infants).
Yet if those of us (mainly in higher churches) were to bless same-sex marriages -also against the rules, also a matter of theological conviction - my goodness, what a rumpus there would be. <feeling grumpy>
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