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The Interdependent

October 2000 - Issue 21

A letter from the Ed…

At last its that time again when your favourite newsletter crosses your doorstep! Long have you waited, but hopefully not in vain, because a lot has happened since the last edition to keep you entertained.

I am now no longer solo Ed. Peter Sheehan has kindly volunteered to help me out. So a big thank you and welcome to him.

So what has happened since May? Well those scary things called exams for one. I hope everybody did Ok and got the results they deserved. I got into my first choice of university so I’m happy!

The confirmation weekend sounded like a great success, we can read all about it in Julian Granger-Bevan’s report. Confirmation is a subject that has been on the agenda for quite a few years now. I think the older people in YAG are finding that they want to move on and start discussing new topics. However, it is still a very important subject, so it’s good that the people coming into YAG get a chance to learn about confirmation from an interchurch point of view.

I have also been thinking about Confirmation. I wrote an article for the AIF journal about my thoughts on Confirmation. I gave a copy of this to my Catholic parish priest to give him an idea of what was going on in my mind. He is very keen for me to be confirmed and arranged to meet me so that we could discuss the article. I have written a little bit about what we discussed.

Swanwick was excellent as usual, some might even say that the food had improved… well… miracles can happen! I had a really good time. I love Swanwick because it’s the best time to see everybody again. But this year had a little bit of sadness slipped in – it was Andrea Rigg and David Smith’s last Swanwick. They will be missed, as will all the other people who find they can’t come back next year.

A group from AIF went to Breakout 2000 in September. It was an amazing and extremely loud event. My ears were ringing for days after! It was quite an experience, and it felt so special to take part in an event where so many people had come together to worship God.

Well that’s it from me, can we have a big hand for Peter…

Sarah

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Considering Confirmation

The Considering Confirmation weekend on the second May bank holiday weekend was a fantastic success. Everybody had fun in the free time and what we learnt was very helpful for a lot of people.

We arrived on Sunday and when the parents had finally gone the weekend started. The first session was for us to get to know each other better. After a couple of minutes and a silly game, we started discussing our situations regarding Confirmation and what we had come on the weekend to find out. A problem that a lot of people identified with was that they were told it was now time for them to be confirmed, but not what Confirmation is or means. We found getting recognised as an interchurch person was hard in some places; but it varied depending on whom you talked to.

The second session looked at the history of Confirmation. We found that Confirmation was not mentioned at all in the Bible under that name, but as Baptism, because most people were then baptised as adults. So the profession of faith and preparing for the coming of the Holy Spirit was a part of the baptismal service.

The third session was about the service in Roman Catholic, Church of England and Methodist churches. We found the similarities were greater than the differences. In each service there was an affirmation of faith and some sort of church membership section.

Next was the fourth session, which was called ‘A Treasure Chest of Options’. Here we looked at all the options that we could choose to do. The options were Joint Affirmation; Joint Confirmation; Confirmation in one and Affirmation in the other; Confirmation in one with the other minister giving a blessing; Confirmation in only one church or Nothing. We looked at each option considering what you might miss out on if you took that option and which could follow on after another.

The fifth session recapped all that we had done during the weekend. We discussed how the weekend had helped us decide or partly decide which of the options we are going to try and take. By this time some of us had already decided which option(s) we were going to take or had cut down the choices to two or three.

I myself had a lot of fun. I would certainly have missed out if I had not gone. Before, I had not heard of Affirmation as an alternative to Confirmation. The weekend has taught me what my options are, instead of me having to choose from an incomplete mental list. It was also a very good chance to meet people who you normally only see at the Swanwick conference or not at all. Being a couple of years below YAG and its social events, I don’t have a chance to go to AIF meetings except Heythrop and Swanwick.

Julian Granger-Bevan

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My thoughts about confirmation

After coming back from a very informative confirmation retreat in Stone, Staffordshire I really began to think about how I could take my relationship with God further. During the few days that we were there we were given our options and the one about affirmation really appealed to me. I talked it over a lot with my parents and AIF mentor, who were very supportive and helpful. The next stage I took was to talk to my two priests. I knew I didn’t want to be confirmed because I felt that this would be a too serious step to make and once done I would not be able to change my decision later in life. I did however want to show my two church communities that I was committed to church and God. I also felt that it would deepen my relationship with God. Both of my priests were very supportive although had different ideas about what I should do. My Catholic priest felt it would be better to have a special service at my Anglican church (in the village where I live) where I could renew my baptismal vows with both priests and church communities present. My Anglican priest thought that doing something during the Bishop’s visit at confirmation in my Catholic church would be appropriate. At this stage I was forced to think quickly as the Catholic bishop only comes to my church every three years! I thought I would like the service in my Anglican church, as my Catholic priest suggested, because that is what he felt most comfortable with. However I am still thinking and praying about it and will have to talk to my priests again before I make my final decision. One thought I have about the special service is that it seems a shame I cannot make an affirmation at the Catholic confirmation or for that matter at an Anglican confirmation with the children of the parish.

I admit my case is different to theirs but I feel that I would be acting even more differently by creating a special service just for me!

Laura Finch

 

Who puts it together?

This is just a short bit from the person who has put this edition together. My name is Peter Sheehan, and I have been appointed the one that puts the "interdep" together. Just to say that I hope you enjoy this edition and if you have any feed back to give on the "interdep" then you know where to send it. Equally if you have any bits that you want to put in this. Then please send it to Sarah and expect it in the next edition.

So this is me signing out and

Hay you kids... you kids be cooooool!!

Peter (the Indy kid) Sheehan

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Pushing the Stools Together

 

A few months ago I wrote an article about my thoughts on joint Confirmation. I wrote it for my English coursework (being an interchurch child is good in every respect!), but it was also published in the AIF journal. I mentioned in my article that my Catholic parish priest, Fr Lightbound, had voiced his concern that I may end up "Falling between two stools" and not get confirmed at all. I gave him the journal to read, because I felt that it was important that he could understand why I didn’t want to be confirmed at this stage.

He read it and then came back to me with his own views on the subject. He said that he believes that Confirmation is not just about becoming a member of a denomination, it is receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit from God. It is therefore important that we are confirmed, where we are confirmed is secondary. As the Church stands, if I am confirmed a Catholic then the Anglican Church will recognise me as being confirmed and will give me communion. However, the reverse is not true. He therefore suggested that I be confirmed into the Catholic Church but still receive communion in the Anglican. However I wasn’t really happy with this, I felt that this didn’t reflect any part of the joint Confirmation I had hoped for.

I want representatives from both the Anglican and Catholic denominations to take an active part in my Confirmation. I don’t think that joint Confirmation is a realistic prospect for the near future, but I don’t want to wait so long that being confirmed is no longer that significant to me. I believe that Confirmation is an important sacrament and I understand that to take this sacrament in the near future I can have a special service for my Confirmation, but it won’t involve both bishops laying their hands on my head.

I talked through the options with Fr Lightbound. I think that because Confirmation is a personal step, the important thing is that my Confirmation feels ‘joint’ to me. I have decided to have a service in which the Catholic bishop/priest lays his hand on my head and the Anglican on my shoulder. Fr Lightbound suggested that the Anglican priest be one of my sponsors, I am still deciding what I think about that. The Anglican priest will then say a few words about how he sees me as a full member of the Anglican community. This service would not clash with any of the teachings in either denomination, but it would hold significance for me, because both priests will have asked God to bring down his Holy Spirit upon me and both denominations will be represented in the congregation.

I hope to be confirmed early next year.

Sarah Mayles

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