Baptism is the rite of initiation for Christians. It is only through Baptism that a person becomes a Christian.
It has become the custom for most people to be baptised as babies or small children and then for the rite of Confirmation to take place during the adult or teenage years. Confirmation is when the candidate repeats the promises and declarations made on their behalf at their baptism, and professes their own belief in God, and faith in his Son, Jesus Christ.
Only the Bishop can administer the sacrament of Confirmation, as a result candidates are prepared by their local Church and then attend one of the special services organised within the Dengie. Preparation involves attending a series of sessions which cover the basics of the Christian faith, and help the candidates think about their relationship with God, and also the promises and declarations they are about to make. Because of the serious nature of these promises, and the commitment that is to be made, it is advisable for candidates for Confirmation to be in their mid-teens or older. During the service of Confirmation, the bishop will ask the candidates to make their promises and confirm their faith, before the laying on of hands and the anointing with the oil of Chrism.
Please contact the Vicar if you would like to be confirmed so that you can receive the details of the next preparation course and confirmation service.
The sacrament of Confirmation has become associated in popular culture with the ability to receive Holy Communion, during the Mass. However this is not the historical origin of this Sacrament, and the Church of England has rediscovered this heritage, and given permission for children to be admitted to Communion, before receiving the sacrament of Confirmation.
St Mary's in Burnham has this permission and has found that allowing children aged 8 (Year 3) and above to receive communion, enables them to feel a greater sense of involvement in the life of the worshiping community.
The Vicar, Fr Mark North, usually runs a preparation course as an After School Club at St Mary's Church of England VA Primary School. The course runs during the Autumn Term and the participants are admitted to Communion on one of the Sunday's just before Christmas. Other arrangements are made for those children who attend other schools and this will normally involve attending preparation sessions at the Vicarage or Church.
Preparation for Confirmation or for Admittance to Communion will involve attending worship at St Mary's. Please see the appropriate pages on the website with details of the services and worship available at St Mary's both on a Sunday and during the week.