St. Timothy’s Anglican Church celebrated the confirmation of two of its members on Sunday, January 30th. Bishop Stephen London was pleased to confirm both Linda Payne and Gillian Appleyard.
“One of the great things about confirmation,” says the Bishop, “is hearing people’s stories of why they want to come forward to be confirmed in the faith. They come from different backgrounds and every story is unique. I always appreciate it when people have the courage to confirm their faith publicly. And I think it re-grounds all of us in our faith as well.”
Linda Payne was raised in the United Church of Canada and discovered the Anglican Church not long before the pandemic began. Rector of St. Timothy's, the Rev. Clare Stewart, says Linda “was keen to become an official member of the Anglican Church and actually chose to hold off receiving Holy Communion until her confirmation.” As this year begins, Linda is now sharing her gifts at St. Tim’s, helping with Coffee Hour and Altar Guild.
Gillian Appleyard, is the 3rd generation of her family to be active members of St. Timothy's. “Gillian is our go-to person for live-streaming of our services,” says Stewart. “One Sunday morning things were not working correctly as I stood before the congregation to share announcements prior to the service and I joked, ‘where is Gillian when you need her?’ The words were not out of my mouth, and she walked in the door!”
During the laying on of hands, Rev. Stewart invited the families of each confirmand to stand alongside and touch their shoulder, reminiscent of the ‘holy huddle’ at ordinations. Stewart says she first experienced this many years ago when her son was confirmed. She has encouraged it each time she has prepared people for confirmation since.
“When I asked Bishop Steve about this ahead of time,” she says, “he indicated that as far as he was aware this was not a tradition in the Diocese of Edmonton, but he was excited to see how it works. I really love the involvement of the family, because as I always stress for both baptisms and confirmations, that we do not walk our faith journeys alone and the support of the family is the constant, whereas the clergy acting on behalf of God are, in reality, transient in a person's life.”
St. Timothy’s relaunched its Sunday School program, Kids’ Church, during Advent 2022. Not all the children were able to be present for the confirmation service, but those who were there shared the song "I have Decided to Follow Jesus" with the congregation following Holy Eucharist.
The service was followed by a fellowship time with cakes made by Bronwyn Appleyard and other goodies brought by members of the congregation.
Stewart says it was a joy to spend her late Thursday afternoons with Linda and Gillian (and Gillian's grandmother, Patty, who decided to refresh her knowledge) for the ten weeks of confirmation preparation. They used a resource out of the Diocese of Western Newfoundland called Grow in the Spirit, which Stewart has adapted for small group discussions in the local context. “All three had lots of questions,” she says. “They revealed new insights to me, and consistently surprised me by asking questions or referring back to our discussions weeks later in response to something that they observed during our Sunday liturgy. We are fortunate to have them as members of our St. Tim's family, and I am privileged to know that I will continue to watch them grow and blossom in their faith.”