NZ Anglicans continue to debate place of Confirmation

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has decided to broaden its conversation on confirmation after changes to the rites of baptism and confirmation were let lie on the table at General Synod/Te Hīnota Whānui (GSTHW) in May.

The bill presented to synod proposed new formularies for the baptism of adults, baptism of children, and a new rite that would replace confirmation, to be known as The Laying on of Hands for Affirmation, Renewal and Reception.

The proposed formularies came in response to local research that outlines how confirmation has lost its pivotal role for many Anglican churches in Aotearoa New Zealand.

But there was no agreement about what do do about it.

Proposals to replace it with a new rite of The Laying on of Hands for Affirmation, Renewal and Reception, were postponed to allow further consultation.

A bill containing the new rite, together with proposed new formularies for the baptism of adults and the baptism of children, were let to “lie on the table” when the Synod met in May.

The report accompanying the bill said that the changes in the understanding and status of confirmation has mainly occurred since the 1970s.

That was when baptism became the sole rite required for Christians to receive communion in Anglican churches in the country.

“This work on confirmation has identified a crisis in our church,” the Reverend Michael Wallace from Dunedin said.

“But I believe the crisis is not with the rite of confirmation itself, but with our church’s approach to catechesis and formation.”

The dioceses and hui amorangi (the areas of the Maori part of the Province) will discuss the report.

They wil report back to the liturgical committee ahead of the next General Synod in 2018.
Anglican blogger, Reverend Bosco Peters says he would have liked to have seen far more information disseminated – education and discussion about baptism and confirmation.

“Do many people even know that removing confirmation is a discussion/debate? How informed on these theological and liturgical discussions will the  GSTHW members be?”

His website contains an extensive discussion on the topic


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News category: New Zealand.