Outlook Issue 27 Spring 2019
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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A day to remember
Our photograph shows the visit to St Mary’s of the Right Reverend Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, on Sunday 17 February, when he held a service of confirmation for six members of St Mary’s congregation, two from All Saints’, Little Bealings, and one from St John’s, Woodbridge. Confirmation is an important sacramental rite in the Anglican Church and marks the moment when the adult believer makes their public declaration of belief in God. It is still traditional for members of the Church of England, as for certain other Christian denominations, to receive the sacrament of baptism – the initiation and reception into the Christian faith – as an infant child. Those being confirmed affirm the vows that were made on their behalf at baptism and, through the acts of prayer and the laying-on-of-hands by the bishop, they are strengthened by the Holy Spirit for their continuing commitment to the Lord. Worldwide church community The rite of confirmation is carried out by a bishop, rather than the local priest, as the bishop represents the worldwide church community into which the confirmand is being welcomed. It is followed by a celebration of the holy Eucharist where the newly- confirmed will take the sacramental elements of bread and wine for the first time. It is a truly special event and a rite of passage that many people remember all their lives. Bishop Martin joined in this sense of great occasion and added his own warmth of spirit. He seemed to take particular pleasure in asperging the entire congregation – sprinkling us with holy water, for which he used fresh twigs of rosemary – to remind us all of our own baptism. The Bishop also took every opportunity to engage with members of the Junior Church (pictured on p.11). He explained to them that the mitre, his curiously shaped hat, represented tongues of flame descending from the Holy Spirit. ‘Fortunately for me,’ he said ‘they are symbolic and not real!’ The confirmation service was followed by a joyful shared lunch in St Mary’s House. Andy Todd