|The Book of Common Prayer|
ORDER OF SERVICE
for the Reception of Baptized Persons
into the Full Membership of the Church
AUTHORIZED FOR OPTIONAL USE IN
Published for the Church of South India by the
PRINTED IN INDIA
The Church of South India (CSI) was formed at the time of Indian independence from the Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational Churches. As such, one might expect its Confirmation service to be somewhat different than that found in typical Anglican Books of Common Prayer. And, indeed it is, as may be seen, for example from the fact that a bishop need not be present, and in the numerous alternatives, presumably to accommodate the various traditions in this initial iteration of the service.
Two more recent CSI Confirmation services are available online from a CSI congregation in Michigan.
This service has a threefold purpose:
THE ORDER OF SERVICE
The candidates shall be seated together in front of the congregation, facing the Minister.
The Minister or some other person shall address the candidates and congregation as follows, all save himself remaining seated:
Dearly beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ, before he ascended into heaven, promised to his disciples that they should receive power, when the Holy Spirit was come upon them, and charged them that they should be his witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. So, after he had ascended, they returned to Jerusalem and continued stedfastly in prayer.
‘And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples: and he said unto them, Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed? And they said unto him, Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Ghost was given. And he said, Into what then were ye baptized? And they said, Into John’s baptism. And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Jesus. And when they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And they were in all about twelve men.’—Acts xix. 1-7
‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and so shall ye be my disciples.’—John xv. 4-8
‘I THEREFORE, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.’—Ephesians iv. 1-6
An address may here be given.
Dearly beloved, you have been baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For some time we have examined you, and learnt that you desire to accept the promises of God made at your baptism, and to walk according to the promises then made in the family of God on your behalf. [When candidates are present who have been baptized as adults, the presbyter shall say ‘by you or on your behalf’.] Now, outward fellowship in the Church is nothing without inward fellowship with Christ, and only those who desire to be saved from all sin, and trust in him alone as Saviour, can enjoy this fellowship. We therefore call upon you to make public confession of your faith and of your acceptance of Christ as your Saviour, and to promise that by God’s help you will fully renounce all evil and zealously seek what is pleasing to him.
Or else he shall say:
Beloved in the Lord, in your baptism you were received into the fellowship of Christ, sealed as members of the family and household of God, and engaged to be the Lord’s. Now you come, of your own choice, to ratify the solemn covenant then made on your behalf, to profess your faith in the Lord Jesus, to consecrate yourself to him, and to receive the gifts which he is waiting to bestow. Doubt not, but earnestly believe that he waiteth to bless you and that he will confirm and strengthen you anew by his Holy Spirit, that you may grow in the knowledge and love of God and be kept by his power to the end.
Then the Minister shall continue with the Vows.
After the singing of the opening hymn or lyric, and prayer, the presbyter shall read the names of the candidates, who shall stand one by one as their names are read. Or he may call them to stand together, the names being read after the Questions.
Dearly beloved, you were received at your baptism into Christ’s flock, that you might be tended and nurtured in his fold. You now come, in the presence of this congregation here assembled, to accept his promises for yourselves, to acknowledge the obligations of your membership in him, and to dedicate yourselves in person to him as your Lord.
‘I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.’—Romans xii. 1, 2
‘NOW when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: for as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.’—Acts viii. 14-17
‘I THEREFORE, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.’—Ephesians iv. i-6
An address may here be given.
The Minister shall then continue, the candidates standing:
I ASK you now, in the presence of God and of this congregation:
Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your only Lord and Saviour, and do you confess the Christian faith, as contained in Holy Scripture and as taught in the Apostles’ Creed?
In the power of Christ do you renounce all evil, and will you fight against sin both within and without?
Do you promise to obey God’s holy will, and to walk according to his commandments all the days of your life? Do you determine to fulfil the duties of your membership in the Church, joining in public worship, especially in Holy Communion, and being faithful in the reading of Scripture, in fellowship, in prayer, in giving, and in observance of the Lord’s Day?
Do you acknowledge yourselves bound to confess the faith of Christ crucified and risen, to fight manfully under his banner, and to continue his faithful soldiers and servants unto your lives’ end, bearing witness to him both in word and in deed?
If the names have not been read before, they shall be read now, one by one, each candidate answering ‘I do, God being my helper’.
Then shall the Minister say to the candidates:
Beloved, you have confessed your faith in Christ our only Saviour, and your desire to obey him and live in the fellowship of his people; I ask you now to kneel and confess to him in silence your sins and shortcomings, praying that he may enable you truly to give yourselves to him. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Here shall silence be kept for a space, all kneeling. Then shall the Minister say:
I ask you now to give yourselves to him, saying with me: I bow down and worship God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and today I accept him as my Lord, and give myself to him as his servant. I dedicate myself, my body, soul, and all that I have, to him. I promise to serve him, relying on his grace, unto my life’s end. He hears the vow which I have now made in his presence, and the members of this congregation are witnesses thereof.
Then shall the Minister call on the congregation to pray together with him in silence for the candidates, after which the following prayer shall be said by the Minister alone, or, at his invitation, by the congregation with him:
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who by holy baptism hast received these thy children into thy family, send down upon them, we beseech thee, thy Holy Spirit the Comforter, and daily increase in them thy manifold gifts of grace, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and keep them in thy mercy unto life eternal; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.
Then shall the Minister lay his hand upon the head of each of them, saying:
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ grant thee, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man: that Christ may dwell in thy heart by faith, that being rooted and grounded in love, thou mayest be filled with all the fullness of God. Amen.
May thy grace, O Lord, abound unto this thy child, that he may continue thine for ever, and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit, until he come unto thine everlasting Kingdom. Amen.
Defend, O Lord, this thy child with thy heavenly grace, that he may continue thine for ever, and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit, until he come unto thine everlasting Kingdom. Amen.
The presbyter, following the Minister, may here give to each newly confirmed person his membership card; or this may be done after the reception by the congregation, or immediately after the service. Together with the membership card, a Prayer Book, Bible, or New Testament, may be given.
When all have been confirmed, the Minister shall say:
Let us pray.
And all shall say together:
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done; In earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.
Then shall the Minister add this prayer:
Almighty and everlasting God, who makest us both to will and to do those things that be good and acceptable unto thy divine majesty, we make our humble supplication unto thee for these thy children, upon whom we have now laid our hands. Let thy fatherly hand, we beseech thee, be over them; let thy Holy Spirit ever be with them; and so lead them in the knowledge and obedience of thy Word that they may serve thee all their days and be with thee for ever; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Then shall the newly confirmed persons rise and face the congregation, while the presbyter, or a representative layman, and the congregation shall stand and together say to them:
Beloved, we the members of this congregation do affectionately welcome you into full fellowship with us. We here with you renew our vows unto the Lord. We pledge to you our sympathy, our help, and our prayers, that you may evermore increase in the knowledge and love of God. God grant that, serving and being served, we may together be prepared for the perfect fellowship of the saints above. Amen.
Then shall the newly confirmed persons turn again to the Minister who shall say to them:
Dearly beloved, we have with joy received you this day into the full fellowship of the Church, to share in all its privileges and fulfil its responsibilities. We trust that you will fight valiantly under the banner of Christ, and continue his faithful soldiers and servants. unto your lives’ end.
Or else the Minister may give his right hand to each newly confirmed person, saying to him:
In token of our fellowship and common purpose we now give you the right hand of fellowship.
Instead of the right hand of fellowship, they may greet each other in any appropriate manner.
Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast that which is good; render to no man evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honour all men; love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you for ever. Amen.
Or he may say this Ascription instead:
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy: to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.
A hymn or lyric of discipleship may then be sung, during which the offerings of the newly confirmed persons shall be received. At the end of the hymn they shall return to their seats.
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