Should confirmation be required?

By Pat McCaughan
Posted Aug 28, 2012

Newark Bishop Mark M. Beckwith laying on hands during a confirmation service at Trinity & St. Philip’s Cathedral in Newark. Photo/Nina Nicholson

[Episcopal News Service] When the Rev. Canon Lee Alison Crawford told vestry members church canons required they be confirmed, an anguished junior warden resigned.

“As the (former) rector of a congregation whose average Sunday attendance was under 50, which gave me a core group of maybe 30 people, I usually found out by accident that somebody hadn’t been confirmed,” recalled Crawford, during a recent telephone interview.

She refused his resignation. “I said to him, you are one of the most faithful people I know. You already have a leadership position. You understand the church. In a small congregation I would say confirmation for leadership is an ideal but in theory and practice it doesn’t always happen,” said Crawford, a General Convention deputy from Vermont.

“With the change in theology in the 1979 prayer book, with baptism the root of everything we do, confirmation is a rite looking for a theology,” she added.

The confirmation requirement for leadership was the subject of intense conversation but not much consensus at the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis, said Deborah Stokes, a lay deputy from the Diocese of Southern Ohio.

Ultimately, General Convention rejected or referred for further conversation several resolutions proposing removal (A042, A043) or review (A044) of confirmation as a requirement for church leadership.

“We felt very strongly this was just the beginning of the conversation,” said Stokes, co-chair of the legislative committee on education, which considered the resolutions. “I didn’t want to lose confirmation, and I think all of us feared losing it if it’s not a requirement for something.”

Rather than eliminate it the proposed changes intended “to free confirmation to be a response to baptism, a pastoral response that might occur in various ways in people’s lives,” said the Rev. Ruth Meyers. The Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, she consulted with the Standing Commission on Lifelong Christian Formation, (SCLCF) which authored the resolutions.

She was surprised by the reaction to the proposed changes. “People had the sense that, by taking it out of the canons, we were wanting to do away with confirmation. That’s absolutely not the case.”

Rather, the canonical changes were intended to offer options. “We could just say that baptism, with some instruction in the history and governance of the church, is really what you need for leadership” allowing confirmation to follow “as a response to baptism at a time that makes sense to you.”

Bishop Porter Taylor of Western North Carolina, SCLCF vice chair, said the changes would make the rite more a response to the movement of the Holy Spirit and less “a hoop that we have to jump through. We don’t see confirmation as part of our governance.”

“And this is not about saying I want to be a member of the Episcopal Church,” he said during a recent telephone interview. “This is about saying that God has been doing something in my life and I want to mark that by standing up in the midst of the congregation and having the bishop lay hands on me in order to mark the movement of the Holy Spirit.”

For Lillian Sauceda-Whitney, who was confirmed May 6 at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in San Juan Capistrano, California, confirmation felt like “I had finally found my home. It was like being baptized.”

Bishop Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church confirmed the 59-year-old preschool teacher and more than a dozen others on behalf of Bishop Jon Bruno of Los Angeles.

“I had tears of joy,” Sauceda-Whitney recalled during an Aug. 23 telephone interview. “I really wanted to belong. I thought, it’s time for me to stand up and say I am an Episcopalian. I thought the only way to do that would be to join the church.”

Whether confirmation is required of church members in general and leaders in particular since it is no longer needed to receive communion, is a conversation that needs to happen organically, at all levels of the church, especially in the parish, said the Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton, a retired priest in the Diocese of Newark.

“It’s about belonging,” Kaeton said during a recent telephone interview. “I think we’re still not clear in our society and that’s reflected in our church, about what it means to belong. In the church we’re trying to figure out what it means to be an Episcopalian. We’re also struggling with what does it mean to have a public profession of faith.”

Rather than being tied to a rite of passage or an age, confirmation should be linked to a process of Christian formation,” she said. “It’s an exciting conversation. We’ve stopped talking about sex and now we’re talking about money and baptism and confirmation and marriage and these are important things.”

Another education committee member, the Rev. Charles Holt, rector of St. Peter’s Church in Lake Mary, in central Florida, said he was relieved and grateful that “none of the resolutions passed General Convention.

Had they passed, theoretically, “all one had to do to be an elected leader at the highest levels was to have taken communion three times over the course of last year” or be a communicant in good standing, he said. “Conceivably, they could not believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal savior and be a leader in the Episcopal Church.”

The conversation about confirmation is essential and a healthy one because “it makes us recommit ourselves and come to clarity about our core beliefs and wrestle with our faith,” said Holt.

Holt also believes confirmation “is actually the one thing a bishop can do to help grow the Episcopal Church. In the Episcopal Church, it’s the bishop’s job to make sure that every single person who’s a member of our church has made a mature profession of faith in Jesus Christ” – a moment he believes every Christian should experience.

“If we do away with confirmation then we don’t have that moment for people,” he said.

Making confirmation a powerful and personal moment is of utmost importance for Bishop Dorsey Henderson, who retired from the Diocese of Upper South Carolina in 2009. He now assists on behalf of Bishop Gregory Brewer of Central Florida at confirmations.

Henderson confirmed about 18 people at St. Peter’s Church on May 17, including eighth grader Grant Williams, 13, who believes “confirmation is very necessary.

“It felt like I was coming closer to God, like I was getting to know him better and confirming my faith in him by showing that I truly believed in him and wanted to follow him,” he said.

Henderson said he adds the names of each confirmand to a personal notebook he has kept over 15 years of the episcopacy. “I assure them that I will pray for them regularly by name and I ask them for their prayers.”

While confirmation “is not essential to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion … it provides a kind of spiritual boost” especially to those baptized as infants and those converting from other traditions, he said during a recent telephone interview.

Bishop Dan Martins of the Diocese of Springfield, said confirmation evolved the way it did because of practical necessity—because dioceses grew and “bishops could not multi-locate.”

What began as one service including baptism followed with laying on of hands by the bishop and a prayer for the gifts of the Holy Spirit over time “was separated and priests were authorized to celebrate at the water portion, with the understanding that at some point they would bring the newly baptized to the bishop for the laying on of hands. “Eventually it took on a life of its own as a separate event and acquired the name confirmation,” he said during a recent telephone interview.

The rite may evolve, but bishops remain a symbol “of the wider church, our organic connection to church through time and space,” he added. “The prayer may change, the name we use is in flux, but … as the sacramental sign of ministry, then it’s important that everybody come under the hands of the bishop at some point in their public profession of Christian faith and discipleship.”

The Rev. Tom Woodward, a retired priest residing in New Mexico and a long-time General Convention deputy, believes baptism and confirmation should both be delayed, to about 16 and 26 respectively, to allow for more mature professions of faith.

“A child in middle school or high school who’s being baptized—his or her friends would come to that service and it’s a powerful witness of the decision to be baptized,” he said during a recent telephone interview. “Confirmation class would include a discernment of ministry and gifts, Then, when the bishop comes to invoke the Holy Spirit it would be very similar to the ordination process, adding to the dignity and power of commission of lay ministry in the world.”

Timing had everything to do with confirmation for Karen Lander, 45, and Henry Lutz, 14, also confirmed May 6 at St. Margaret’s in San Juan Capistrano by Sauls.

“I decided since I was sending my eight-year-old to her first communion classes, it was time for me to do my confirmation as well,” Lander said during a recent telephone interview. “I have to be an example to her. I needed to learn more about the church instead of just going to church.”
For Lutz, who is entering the ninth grade this year it was a communal experience. “The bishop put his hands on me, and the priests and my family did the same.

“I gained a wisdom through the whole experience. I understand what I’m doing with the Bible, what I can interpret from God and so many parts of the Episcopal Church. I interpreted it as a sign of how I’m taking my faith to a different path now, knowing that I’m getting a stronger faith and ready to do more.”

— The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.


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Comments (63)

  1. Andy Hook says:

    Let’s get rid of the requirement of confirmation for leadership!
    Let’s get rid of the requirement of baptism for communion!
    Let’s get rid of the requirement of Jesus to be a priest!
    Let’s get rid of the name church since we want to do whatever feels good all in the name of ultra-inclusion!

  2. Frank and Dog Jeffrey. says:

    Confirmation is such a grand mass. I’d say, let the worshipers make the choice.
    However, it is in the 1979 BCP. and it’s a wonderful service. and a chance to meet the Bishop.

    Also, the Blessings of our Pets. they are also put on the Earth to give us Love and Affection.

  3. Russ Post says:

    I have heard from my friends outside the Episcopal Church that their impression of the ECUSA is that it is a club buffet – select what beliefs you want, nobody cares. Very sad.

  4. There is no national canonical requirement that vestry members be confirmed. That is left up to diocesan canons.

    1. Mark Fraizer says:

      I’m glad you pointed this out, Bp. Epting, it is just what I was thinking as I read the article!

    2. I was about to ask where the notion came from that Vestry member must be confirmed! I grew up in a parish that had a Warden who wasn’t even a member of the Episcopal Church. I think that was quite common at one time and derived from the notion that community leaders should take responsibility for the church in their community and that the church benefited from the insights and leadership of community leaders whether they were members or not. Doesn’t that fit better with the notion of a catholic church rather than the narrowness of a sect?

  5. Frank and Dog Jeffrey. says:

    Andy., why don’t you just leave the Episcopal Church. We are losing loyal members and the last thing that I need is to read is your personal wise cracks. therefore, this is not the site for this kind of Attitude debate.

    1. Michael McCoy, M.Div. says:

      I hear you Frank and Jeffrey, but I am very cautious about inviting people to leave. I think we may need to hear more of Andy’s reasons for his feeling so strongly.

    2. Joseph F Foster says:

      And why do you suppose you / we’re “losing loyal members”?

  6. Judith Wood says:

    Return Baptism to an adult rite and you won’t need confirmation. Confirmation is a reaffirmation of one’s baptismal vows and what two month old is going to remember what his parents, godparents and the church got him into. Confirmation, by the way, should probably also be an adult rite offered when a person is ready to make a commitment to Jesus and live and exercise the Christian life as best as he or she can. The problem with teenage confirmation is that he or she may have absolutely no understanding of it’s purpose as the whole experience goes in one ear and out the other.

  7. Harry W Shipps says:

    The positive observations above concerning Confirmation ring true. If Confirmation is no longer required for leadership but left only to those who want to make a ‘response’ to Baptism, it will quickly disappear.

  8. Jeff Sharp says:

    Realistically there is a difference between the baptism of a young person/adult and an infant. In the case of the baptism of an infant the promises and commitments in the Baptismal covenant are spoken on behalf of the child by the parents and grandparents. It only makes sense that if one really understands the nature of discipleship as outlined in the New Testament that there must come a time in a baptized infants life when he/she affirms those promises for him/herself. That happens to some extent when the Baptismal covenant is recited, but it also happens in a very powerful way at Confirmation. For me, the question one should ask is, Why does a person reject confirmation if they really have decided to follow Christ? We don’t make confirmation an expression of “holier than thou”, but a conscious, mature affirmation that one does indeed want to follow Christ as Savior and Lord. As for church leadership, one would expect someone who is mature in faith and conduct, knows or is willing to learn the position for which he/she is being chosen to lead, has demonstrated the gifts that are necessary for that position.

  9. Father John H. Shumaker says:

    Bishop Dan Martins is correct about the evolution and separation IN THE WESTERN CHURCH of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism and Holy Confirmation. IN THE EASTERN CHURCH this never happened, and the Sacrament of Holy Baptism and Chrismation (Confirmation) are still celebrated within the same liturgical action. The Chrism used for Confirmation in the Eastern Churches is blessed by the Bishop with his deligated authority for the Priest to Baptize and Chrismate …..’Sealed by the Holy Spirit’ (Confirm) the individual within one Liturgical act. I think that our present Baptismal Liturgy hints at this with the use of Chrism and the words “Sealed by the Holy Spirit (in Baptism ) and marked as Christ’s own for ever”

    1. Rich Friel says:

      The Roman Catholic Church added 5 sacraments as a response to the Reformation.
      I think we should return to our roots with Chrismation just a part of Baptism. I think it would be very meaningful for us to renew our Baptismal vows as adults if we are in line to accept leadership responsibilities.
      Let us not let ourselves be confused or diluted by what the Roman Catholic Church did merely to solidify it’s political control over it’s “members”, or rather “serfs” as they were in reality when all this as going on.

  10. Chuck Till says:

    Attempted takeovers of TEC congregations by dissidents make me believe that we need some kind of significant and explicit commitment to TEC’s polity from lay persons who aspire to serve on vestries. It may even be prudent to require such commitments from those who vote in vestry elections. My concern is not theological but practical. Confirmation has served as such a commitment, but it’s an imperfect one. As long as we devise and require a suitable commitment to TEC’s polity, we can drop Confrmation from the various diocesan canons.

    As for Confirmation itself, I believe the future is to understand and observe it as Reaffirmation, per the 1979 BCP. It won’t survive otherwise. There is a lesson to be learnt here: eliminating Confirmation as a requirement to receive Holy Communion effectively killed Confirmation. If we eliminate Baptism as a requirement to receive Holy Communion, we will effectively kill Baptism. Don’t kid yourself into believing otherwise.

    1. Joseph F Foster says:

      People of course may discover they can do without Communion. Quite a number of Protestant denominations have it only occasionally and make no big deal about it. And there are groups of Russian descended Starovery ‘Old Believers’ who are bespopovtsy ‘without priests’ who with a lay leadership only have kept the Orthodox Faith since the 1600s.

      1. Dick Fish says:

        Growing up in the church, every Sunday offered Morning Prayer at the main service, with Communion one time each month, unless, of course one went to the 7am service. Happily that is no longer the case, and Communion is now the central focus of every service. Although it MAY be time to re-think Confirmation, let it take several years to resolve, just like the blessing of same-sex unions is taking years of listening!

    2. Julia Langdon says:

      Chuck Till,
      Please tell me that I’m misreading — you want to replace the sacramental rite of Confirmation with some political affirmation of fealty to TEC? Would it become a requirement then and berets distributed?

      I’m beginning to wonder if I belong to a church or a quasi-communist group with liturgy and processions.

  11. Bruce Thomas says:

    Resolution A042 at General Convention this year went too far when it proposed removing confirmation as a requirement for the various types of lay ministries in Canon III.4.1 “Of Licensed Ministries.” Those are not positions of “governance” — most, if not all, of them should in my opinion require a “mature public affirmation of faith and commitment to the responsibilities of … baptism.” Those who drafted that resolution did what Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery did: they went “a bridge too far” when they included that portion of the canons to apply this blanket removal of confirmation as a requirement for various positions in the Church.

  12. Marylin Day says:

    Ultra-inclusion is exactly what Jesus wanted!

    1. Jessica Dye says:

      Amen!

  13. Richard Vanderlippe says:

    I would add my voice to those who consider “Life Long Learning” as the true measure of one’s commitment to a life in Christ. Confirmation as an individual practice in each parish or, more reasonably, in each diocese is a variable that is only one part of what should a a continuing process.
    Unfortunately my experience is more like “been there, done that, now there is no need to do anything further as a disciple. EfM taught me so much more than my “reaffirmation of faith” and was truly the most significant part of what has become, for me, a life long journey of faith and service.

    1. Richard Vanderlippe says:

      I should have been a little more careful with my words. I should have said that it the preparation for confirmation that is a big variable.

  14. Fr. Steven A. Scarcia says:

    Confirmation is already required, in that, by historic accident, it was and presumably still is originally part of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism – at least that is what was taught in Seminary. Therefore the question should really be, should we return Confirmation to the Sacrament of Holy Baptism? Unfortunately, early on in the Church, the Bishops delegated the water portion of Baptism to the priests while they themselves retained the Chrismation (Anointing with Holy Oil) for the time when the Bishop would come and “complete” the Sacrament.
    In Church History, one could find a variety of numbers of “sacraments” that were observed in the ancient Church; for example 33 sacraments commemorating the age of Christ and I read once up to 44 sacraments were observed. It was finally settled upon 7 and even after the Reformation, the 2 Dominical Sacraments (Baptism & Eucharist) were always “required” of a Christian, while the “others” were seen throughout Anglican history with a rather jaundiced eye.
    So if Confirmation is the completion of the Sacrament of Baptism, perhaps it should be required. Why? For the those who observe infant Baptism, it would and could be the adult self-affirmation of the Baptismal questions, renunciations & vows which a person can make, with confidence and on their own before their family, Church, priest & chief pastor, the Bishop. On the other hand, if being Baptized with water and anointed with holy oil by the priest is sufficient for membership in Holy Mother Church and to also receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, does it not also make sense that this is only what is needed for leadership in the Church? Yet, for example in our Diocese, one could be a member of the Vestry and not be confirmed. However, to be a Warden, one must be Confirmed in the Church. Then too those who are seeking Ordination must also be Confirmed…so we’re stuck with the “haves” and the “have nots.”
    Now consider this…why is it necessary for a Bishop to Confirm? If license was given to a priest to Baptize and to Preside at Holy Communion, why couldn’t a priest also Confirm members of his/her Parish? The Orthodox Church both Baptizes and at the same time Confirms infants and adults. That means that Confirmation is done by an Orthodox priest – also meaning that Baptism & Confirmation are ONE Sacrament. One little known fact is the in some instances, Roman Catholic priests can Confirm members of their congregations and they’re not Bishops!
    So what shall we do as Anglicans, about this Confirmation “thing?” Sometimes it seems that the Church is more interested in the “speck” in the eyes of our traditions and teachings than in the “Log” which is causing blindness in the Episcopal Church. Instead of nurturing the teachings, faith and traditions of the Church, our Churches are becoming more and more empty, yet we’re still “trendier than thou,” ultra inclusive and always neither too hot or too cold in offending anyone’s sensibilities. It’s like we’re going out of our way in the Episcopal Church to make elbow room in a place without elbows. Does that make sense?
    If we teach that Holy Baptism & Confirmation are one Sacrament in 2 parts, linked by faith and tradition to each other, then I can’t see that we’re far from the kingdom. Baptism and Confirmation is and always had a “special relationship;” one that welcomes, one that grants membership into the Christian family, one that plants the seed of faith into our lives and one that, upon becoming an adult, can enable us to re-affirm all this means and therefore “Seal” it all with the love, gift and blessing of God’s Holy Spirit. Believing that then, the question of “leadership in the Church” becomes a rather mute point.

    1. David Yarbrough says:

      My understanding in ECUSA is that Confirmation is the formal acceptance and reception into the Church BY A BISHOP of a baptized person who is making a formal commitment (Baptism in other traditions being recognized as equivalnt to baptism in the Episcopal Church). It is generally observed in common with Reception of persons who have been confirmed BY A BISHOP IN APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION (i.e., Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or even dissenting Anglicans), recognizing their prior confirmation but receiving them into this communion. It would be up to General Convention to allow Bishops to delegate this authority, and up to Bishops to choose to delegate or not.

      The central point is not so much the symbolic application of Holy Chrism as the public expression of a believer’s mature commitment to Christ and His Church – appropriately the basic requirement for leadership. Vestrypersons, let alone wardens, who have not been confirmed really should not hold the office.

      Also, while I can’t speak for the entiriety of the Roman Catholic Church, I note that in the RC diocese of Charlotte confirmation is frequently performed by the Vicar General, a priest whose primary function is similar to our Canon to the Ordinary position. While he doesn’t hold the order of Bishop he is specifically delegated to perform this function – essentially functioning as an assisting Bishop – and the function is not delegated to parish priests as such.

  15. Alma T. Bell says:

    I cannot think of many groups or organizations which do not require that their leaders have an understanding of their purpose, rules of order, beliefs, history, etc. Why is what we believe, as Episcopalians, not important for those who wish to serve on vestries, be wardens, handle funds,etc? No one is required to take such roles but anyone who does should know how we express of beliefs and what it means to be Episcoplanian. Doing away with the requirement for confirmation means that we can choose leaders who do not really know what they are leading.

  16. Nancy Sjoholm says:

    As a longtime member and leader in the Presbyterian Church, I was received into the Episcopal Church in 1993. When Bishop Talton held my head in his strong hands and spoke to me, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in that sanctuary. The rite was meaningful and sacred and beautiful. I would hope that all lay leaders, especially Vestry members have the opportunity to experience that power. I can’t imagine why anyone would not want to be confirmed or received.

    Thank you, Pat, for a very clear article, and for all the interesting comments which it generated.

    1. Bob Mason says:

      I was Baptised on the 9th TH September and felt so happy. I left the Catholic Church after 70 years and I love my NEW church and the wonderful Pastor Sally.I asked to be Confirmed as well and know that I have already been Baptised and Confirmed in the Catholic Church.But I am an Episcopal now and want to be part of that church all the way.I feel so peaceful in church.

  17. Why would someone who is active in the Church want to avoid confirmation?

  18. The Rev. Canon Nancy Platt says:

    OH My Let’s look at this more closely. The “new” 79 Prayer book allows 3 options: confirmation reception and reaffrimation of baptismal vows. Each is appropriate in a unique pastoral setting. however I do not believe that setting is membership on a vestry when baptism ( and of course commitment to a particular congregation in terms of presence and stewardship) should be sufficent. Having encounter resistence on the part of a prospective vestry member who had been baptized in the Episcopal church, I suggested he simply reaffirm his baptismal vows which made sense and was acceptable to him, to me and to the church, when his son was confirmed. let’s keep it simple.

    1. David Yarbrough says:

      Why would an Episcopalian look for a workaround to Confirmation – especially when the workaround was being done during a Confirmation service?

      I would think that it would be a unique blessing for father and son to be confirmed together.

  19. I came from another denomination. Probably 2/3 on average of people in my congregation and most meetings I attend came from another denomination. Many people do not understand the polity or history of the church that they attend; they are only concerned with the doings of their parish, maybe dimly aware of the diocese and almost no interest beyond that except among sacristy rats like me. I believe Confirmation could serve — as it did for me — as a strong personal milestone when you commit to the church you’re in, and — if it has a reasonable educational program (maybe an online one that can be done at one’s own pace?) that covers the basics — is not too much to ask those in leadership roles. However, rather than a “hoop to jump through” it should be seen as a goal and — if done right — be a wonderful spiritual moment as Nancy described above. I know it was for me. For those whose previous church experience was negative, a rite of initiation feels like coming home.

    I understand that many parishes and even dioceses are struggling. But the answer is not to keep dropping our standards.

  20. Rev James Hodson says:

    I would agree with the description of Confirmation being a rite looking for a theology. Confirmation is so often presented as rite of commitment, where the baptized come and make an affirmation of the baptismal promises made on their behalf ment years before. The problem in my experience is that in most cases following confirmation we never see these people again. I believe the true sacrament of commitment is participation in the Eucharist. Some which can be done week after week as we recommit ourselves again and again to the life of the Church.

    1. The Rev. James C. Pappas III says:

      Amen, James.

  21. David Yarbrough says:

    For churches like ECUSA which practice infant baptism, Confirmation is the only vehicle by which one makes a formal, mature profession of faith before the congregation (discounting those of us who are recovering Southern Baptists, and others who made a mature profession of faith at baptism). The extent to which it is “a rite looking for a theology” is a function of the extension of Holy Baptism to those who are not able to profess faith for themselves – which has been debated for centuries.

    This mature public profession of faith is the issue, not the theology of Confirmation or the “spiritual boost”. Church leaders should without exception have made such a public profession.

  22. Judy Elliott says:

    It has always been my understanding that Vestry members should always be Baptized, at the least, but Wardens had to be Confirmed also, I continue to support that. Why change that
    qualification for the leadership in our parishes? Confirmation demonstartes a mature profession of one’s faith in front of the congregation, and we experience a powerful feeling of the Holy Spirit when the Bishop’s hands are placed upon our heads. I will never forget that awesome feeling nearly 50 years ago.

  23. Adelaide Kent says:

    I had thought the main purpose of confirmation as opposed to baptism, which makes one a Christian, was to accept the baptized person as a member of the Episcopal Church.

    As a practical matter, it also gives the person who was baptized in infancy the opportunity to speak for him-or herself. I was confirmed at age 33, and it mattered a lot to me.

    As far as the matter of Vestry members being confirmed it would seem logical that they belong to the church they are going to help run. Besides it is no big deal to be confirmed if you have not already been confirmed at 13 or 14.

  24. Doug Desper says:

    Confirmation of one’s baptismal grace is a problem why? Isn’t it also the step that one takes to pledge loyalty – to be counted on as a responsible churchman/churchwoman: “Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship…”? We should all have to answer that question for ourselves and be trained to take on a responsible role in the passing on/support of the faith.

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