A Celebration of Confirmation, Reaffirmation and Reception took place on Saturday, May 13, 2017, 10:30am at Christ Church Cathedral. Bishop Skelton has been experimenting with Saturday diocesan worship as a way of limiting the rushing around that takes place on a Sunday when members of parishes who are attending these liturgies experience travel and time challenges. The most recent Ordination Eucharist and the most recent Investiture of New Members to the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster took place on Saturday mornings. Both of these worship events were well-attended and much enjoyed by the participants.
More and more Confirmations are taking place during Bishop Skelton’s scheduled episcopal visits to parishes, however the 2017 diocesan cohort of confirmands was quite impressive; 63 for Confirmation, 1 for Reaffirmation and 1 for Reception. Nineteen of the diocese’s 68 worshipping communities were represented: Christ Church Cathedral; Holy Trinity Cathedral, New Westminster; Holy Trinity, Vancouver; St. Alban, Richmond; St. Augustine, Marpole; St. Catherine, Capilano; St. Christopher, West Vancouver; St. Clement, Lynn Valley; St, David, Tsawwassen; St. George, Ft. Langley; St. Hilda, Sechelt; St. James, Vancouver; St. Mark, Ocean Park; St. Mary, Kerrisdale; St Mary the Virgin, South Hill; St. Michael, Vancouver; St. Paul, Vancouver; St. Stephen, West Vancouver, St. Timothy, Burnaby. The Parish of Christ Church Cathedral presented its largest Confirmation class in more than 20 years with 16 confirmands.
The confirmands, clergy, sponsors, parents and guardians gathered at the downtown Vancouver Cathedral more than an hour before the beginning of worship to acclimatize and rehearse some of the components of the Confirmation.
Prior to the procession, the Very Reverend Peter Elliott, dean of the diocese and rector of CCC welcomed the capacity congregation and presented some background on Confirmation and CCC’s role as the diocesan Cathedral and a place where this sacrament has been given and received for many years. He also requested that the sanctity of the service be respected and that those in attendance refrain from taking photographs during worship, assuring everyone that Bishop Skelton and the newly confirmed would be available at the end of the service for photographs.
Bishop Skelton in her sermon referred to the instruction that she offered at the Diocesan Confirmation preparation day April 29. Her focus during those sessions is on communicating information about Anglican Identity and our “Anglican ethos.” She explained an exercise where specific descriptions of Anglican Identity, various phrases, are written on easel/newsprint paper and taped up around the room, and then she asked the participants to go and stand under the paper that displayed the words that attracted them and described their values. On April 29 the largest group of people stood under the paper that read, “Loving the Questions and teaching others to love the questions.” So they started the day by collecting some questions:
And then Bishop Skelton declared, “Today is about loving these kinds of questions.”
The sermon was followed by: the Presentation and Examination of the candidates; Bishop Skelton leading the congregation in the Baptismal Covenant; reaffirming the vows of Baptism; the Prayers of the People led by confirmands, Pablo and Elena; the Confirmation, Reaffirmation and Reception of the 65 candidates; the Celebration of the Eucharist; Dismissal and many photographs. The lengthy photo session was fun and energetic with most everyone getting into the spirit and enjoying themselves.
This worship experience was a very positive one and bodes well for the future of Saturday morning liturgies in the Diocese of New Westminster.