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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?

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...

Italiangreyhound Sun 20-Jan-13 10:19:23

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.

Italiangreyhound Sun 20-Jan-13 10:19:31


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.)

Italiangreyhound Sun 20-Jan-13 14:08:54

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...)

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