On the Feast of Pentecost, 5 June, the congregation at St Paul’s were blessed with a spirit-filled service of Holy Communion with the Rite of Confirmation. As we gave thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit, we welcomed and celebrated the affirmation of baptismal vows by seven members of our congregation. It was a special and holy occasion, and a splendid one with the church decorated with red and yellow banners and flowers.
Four children and three adults presented themselves as candidates for confirmation. Over the preceding months, the Rector, the Reverend Canon Dr Ben Edwards, met with the candidates and prepared them for confirmation. Together they worked through the book, ‘Faith Confirmed: preparing for confirmation’ by Peter Jackson and Chris Wright. The classes required reading and responses, and the viewing of video clips, which involved a lot of thought and reflection, but also a lot of humour and fun.
Once the candidates were prepared, their sponsors presented them to the congregation on the Feast of Pentecost. Bishop Carol was the confirming bishop, and after laying hands on the candidates, she prayed:
Almighty and everliving God, watch over these your servants:
Luke, Ava, David, Timothy, Monique, Alastair and Avisha upon whom we have
now laid our hands.
Let your holy spirit always
be with them
and lead them to know and obey your word,
that they may serve you
in this life,
and dwell with you
in the life to come:
through Jesus Christ
What a wonderful prayer! How blessed are those disciples of Christ who have reaffirmed their baptismal vows, and have the prayers of the community, and the cloud of witnesses, behind and before them. The Rite of Confirmation is also a call to the gathered community to support these our sisters and brothers in their promises. May we all serve God in this life, and dwell with him in the life to come.
By the grace and abundance of God, the candidates for confirmation were supported spiritually by the St Paul’s Prep and Junior Choirs. The Introit Anthem, ‘Jubilate Everybody’ (Fred Dunn) was sung by the Prep Choir, which is made up of children aged 3 to 7.
The hymns and other choral works in the service were sung by the Junior Choir, made up of choristers between the ages of 7 and 12. The mass setting was ‘Mass for young voices’ (Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) composed by Canberra-based composer Michael Dooley in 2020 for the St Paul’s Junior Choir (commissioned by the Parish of Manuka Arts Foundation).
Our Prep and Junior Choristers make a blessed and life-affirming contribution to our worship, and in this service we also commissioned two choristers into the Junior Choir. These children have musical gifts, which we are asking them to dedicate to the worship of God and the strengthening of His Church. This will require discipline and practice.
The service was followed by a sumptuous feast of culinary delicacies and much joyous frivolity in the church hall.
If you would like to watch a video of the service, it is available here:
by Reverend Kay Pendlebury
Photo at top: The Seven candidates for confirmation: Luke, Ava, David, Timothy, Monique, Alastair, Avisha