Tranent Parish Church
WONDERING ABOUT MEMBERSHIP OF THE CHURCH?
Why not consider CONFIRMATION?
Here's some helpful information for you...
CONFIRMATION is often the next public step in someone’s faith journey after BAPTISM. In the Church of Scotland, confirmation is not a sacrament: there are only two sacraments, baptism and holy communion. However, it is a very spiritual and special occasion.
In the past, most people were baptised as babies or infants and it was hoped that, in time, the child would come to make his or her own public profession of faith. Meanwhile, the congregation would support the family in offering Christian teaching and nurture to that child as they grew up. People baptised as children usually began to consider confirmation (often referred to as ‘membership of the church’ or ‘joining the church’) when they reached their teenage years.
However, in recent years, it has become more common for people of all ages to come forward for baptism… and so confirmation, too, can happen at any age. It is a public ceremony, celebrated as part of a normal Sunday morning service, in which God confirms the person with the seal of the Holy Spirit (represented by an anointing of oil on the confirmand’s forehead) and the person confirms their desire to live out their baptismal vows. The confirmand is encouraged to make a public profession of faith during this service: sometimes people prefer to speak themselves and sometimes they choose to write down their ‘story’ and the Minister reads it out to the congregation.
Confirmation admits the individual to all the rights and privileges of Church membership. The person's name is then added to the congregation's membership roll and they become eligible to vote in Church meetings and be elected to offices such as the eldership.
Traditionally, confirmation has involved admission to Holy Communion for the first time, which is why preparation for confirmation is sometimes called ‘Communicants’ Classes.
However, since 1992 the national Church has allowed children to participate in communion as part of their Christian nurture and so in Tranent Parish Church, we now use the term ‘Enquirers’ Group’ for the meetings we offer to prepare people for confirmation.
Enquirers’ Groups take place in the cosy comfort of the manse, over tea/coffee/cake/lunch and are offered whenever we have two or three people considering confirmation. Anyone can come along to this group just to find out about membership or confirmation: there is absolutely no requirement to take part in a ceremony at the end of the course! The course usually happens over a few evenings or afternoons and takes the form of relaxed discussions on such topics as: baptism & our faith journey so far; the Bible & prayer; the global church & the Church of Scotland; the vows taken at confirmation. If someone goes through an Enquirers’ Group and decides they DO wish to be confirmed, a suitable date will be arranged and the Minister will discuss the service with the confirmand.
After confirmation, everyone is invited to join a Discipleship Group which meets monthly, again in a relaxed, comfortable setting.
MEMBERSHIP / MOVING TO A NEW CONGREGATION
When Church members move from one congregation to another they take with them a Certificate of Transference, commonly known as 'lines'. These ‘lines’ are valid for one year after the person leaves their original congregation: so if your lines are ‘in date’, you can join Tranent Parish Church simply by handing the certificate to our Roll Keeper, Mrs Linda Ingham. If you left your previous congregation more than a year ago, you can still join us: speak to our Minister and she will ask the Session to admit you by ‘resolution of Kirk Session’.
Members of other denominations can also transfer to the Church of Scotland. There is no standard procedure and, in these circumstances, an approach should be made to the minister of the relevant congregation, and he or she will advise.
INVOLVING FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
Confirmation is a very important step, and a big celebration for the whole church, so please do invite all your family, friends and neighbours to share in the joy!
Tranent Parish Church always supply a large, personalised cake for the whole congregation to share, along with tea and coffee, after the service in the gathering area.
FOR MORE INFO, PLEASE CONTACT THE MINISTER