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Changing Trends in Anglican Confirmation

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This paper explores in detail the changing trends in candidates presented for confirmation throughout one Church of England diocese between 1981 and 1989 and models the implications of these trends against indicators of local church life and church growth. It is evident from these data that confirmation has ceased to be a rite celebrated primarily during the teenage years, that emphasis on confirmation during the pre-teenage years tends to be associated with signs of church decline, while emphasis on confirmation during the years of adulthood tends to be associated with signs of church growth. The practical pastoral recommendation is made that, if the number of teenage confirmation candidates should continue to fall, the Church of England is likely to build a stronger future for itself by reasserting confirmation as an adult rite of Christian commitment, rather than as a childhood rite of admission to communion.


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