The 2019 Diocesan Celebration of Confirmation, Reaffirmation & Reception was held at Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral the morning of Saturday, May 11. During Archbishop Skelton’s episcopacy the preference for celebrating diocesan liturgies on a Saturday morning continues and the general consensus is that this is working really well. No need to rush downtown after Sunday worship to assemble at the cathedral on a Sunday afternoon.
This service was a little bit different than usual as it had the added component of baptism. Young Malakai was baptized prior to the confirmations and the flow of the sacrament of baptism into the confirmations was seamless and fitting. A natural liturgical progression modelling a journey of faith. Archbishop Skelton was the celebrant and presider for the Eucharist, however, the Right Reverend John Hannen, 8th Bishop of the Diocese of Caledonia baptized Malakai who is his grandson. Bishop Hannen resigned his episcopacy in 2001, to become Rector of St. Barnabas’ in Victoria in the Diocese of British Columbia to further follow his vocation of ministry to First Nations people, specifically at that time First Nations people in the Greater Victoria area. He retired in 2007, and is an Honorary Assistant at Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria.
At the 2019 diocesan liturgy, twenty-seven Christians of all ages were confirmed, two were reaffirmed and one was received into the Anglican Church of Canada. Six congregations in the City of Vancouver were represented, with three of the larger congregations: Christ Church Cathedral, St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale and St. Philip, Dunbar presenting a total of 19 of their members for confirmation. The other three Vancouver congregations represented were; St. James’, Holy Trinity, and St. Thomas, Collingwood (confirmand Nicholas was accompanied by his sponsors, the Reverend Fr. Matthew Johnson of St. James’ and his father, the Reverend Fr. Michael Batten, Rector of St. Thomas). There were also confirmands from St. Hilda, Sechelt, St. John the Evangelist, North Vancouver, St. Martin, North Vancouver and St. Stephen the Martyr, Burnaby.
Members of Cathedral Choir under the direction of Organist and Director of Music, Rupert Lang led the music in worship. A feature of the confirmation service in recent years is the choir’s singing of Bobby McFerrin’s setting of Psalm 23, with its powerful paraphrasing of the original text and McFerrin’s heartfelt dedication of this work to his mother. In the opening few minutes of her homily, Archbishop Skelton referred to Psalm 23, its impact on the Christian world and the meaning of the McFerrin paraphrase.
The offering received during the singing of the Offertory Hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Again” was forwarded to Directions Youth Services in support of their program which provides nutritious meals to young people – ½ of whom are Indigenous youth.
The Eucharist, the central purpose of our liturgical life together seems even more meaningful and appropriate when it is celebrated at a confirmation service. Even though some churches practice Open Table and the majority of Anglican churches welcome all baptized Christians to participate in the Eucharist, the first Communion following confirmation holds a special place in the memories and hearts of the newly baptized, confirmed, reaffirmed and received.
Please remember the newly confirmed, reaffirmed, received and baptized in your prayers and may they continue to experience God’s Grace on their journeys of faith.