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March 18, 2018: Making a "Mature Commitment"

by Elizabeth Terry

Last Sunday I took part in the first meeting of one of two “catechumenate” small groups who are exploring the possibility of being confirmed in or received into the Episcopal Church. As Fr. Jadon put it, Confirmation could be considered the “other half” of Baptism, especially in a denomination where infant Baptism is common. It’s a mature, public recommitment to the promises made at Baptism.  Reception is for people who have already been confirmed in another tradition and want to formally identify themselves as Episcopalian.  Lent is the traditional time for adults to engage in these preparations.

Our discussion began with each of us sharing a bit about when and how we were baptized and the influences in our religious lives. At least a dozen different Christian denominations were mentioned among the six people in our group, along with a couple of Eastern religions. Fr. Jadon remarked that you’d get a similar diversity in most any group of Episcopalians. He also stressed that from the Episcopal Church’s perspective, one is not baptized into a particular church or denomination—Baptism is universal, full stop. But in Confirmation and Reception we incorporate the Episcopal ethos into our religious identity, without losing our past.

In my own case, I grew up Roman Catholic. My parents were ambivalent about the Church’s teachings, but wanted to at least get their four daughters baptized and confirmed. My sisters and I were all baptized, but after #3 was confirmed, my mom started attending an Episcopal church instead. Meanwhile, at college and a bit at loose ends, I tried “Episcopalianism” too since my mom liked it, and I’ve been a mostly happy churchgoer ever since.

So why be received now, 25 years later? It’s not as if I’ve ever felt unwelcome without that box checked. It’s like when a couple who’s cohabitated for decades suddenly decides to get married. What changed? While I’m not new to Episcopalianism, I’m somewhat new to All Souls, having first come three years ago. I’d long had in the back of my mind to get around to being received, but perhaps what made the difference now is that I’m feeling settled here and part of the community. I’m ready to make it official, and I want to do it as an All Souls parishioner!

As a first step, I and the other members of our group plan to reaffirm our baptismal vows at the Easter Vigil. I’m really looking forward to it, and invite your prayers (and presence!) then and as our group prepares for the diocesan confirmation and reception service at the cathedral on
May 12, at 10 a.m.  

Last Published: March 15, 2018 2:08 PM
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