Church of St. Uriel the Archangel Sea Girt, New Jersey
Rogier van der Weyden, Confirmation
Detail from the Seven Sacraments Altarpiece (1445-1450)
Royal Museum of Fine Arts
The outward and visible sign of the Sacrament of Confirmation is the laying-on-of-hands by the Bishop, accompanied the words prescribed in the Prayer Book: "Strengthen, O Lord, your servant N. with thy Holy Spirit; empower him for thy service; and sustain him all the days of his life. Amen."
The inward and spiritual grace is strengthening of the gifts of the Holy Spirit received at Baptism to accompany a mature commitment to the Christian faith and life.
Like Baptism, Confirmation is an unrepeatable Sacrament conferred only once in a Christian’s life. All baptized persons who have not been confirmed are candidates for Confirmation regardless of physical or mental disability.
In recent years at St. Uriel's, only those sixteen years of age or older have been eligible to be confirmed, on the grounds that Confirmation presupposes and expresses a commitment to taking one's place as an adult in the Church's life.
Reception into the Episcopal Church
Because Confirmation is an unrepeatable Sacrament, those who have already been confirmed by a bishop in the Apostolic Succession, or who have been chrismated in the Eastern Orthodox Church, are not confirmed again. Instead, they may be formally received by the Bishop (usually during his Visitation to the parish) using the formula prescribed in the Prayer Book.
Those entering the Episcopal Church from a denomination without bishops in apostolic succession are strongly encouraged to receive the apostolic laying-on-of-hands in the Rite of Confirmation. Doing so in no way minimizes the value of previous instruction, formation, and rites of commitment in former denominations.
In all cases, non-Episcopalians who want to become members of Saint Uriel's (and hence of the Episcopal Church) need to have their baptisms recorded in the parish register; this normally involves providing the parish office with a copy of your baptismal certificate.
It is not required that those being confirmed have sponsors, as they are normally presented to the Bishop by the priest or catechist who prepared them for Confirmation.