Would you like to be confirmed? Or would you like to know what the Christian faith is all about?
We run short courses for those who are, or might be, interested in Confirmation, or who just want to know a bit more about what it means to be a Christian.
We are flexible when each session takes place and is open to teenagers and adults.
Contact Revd Andy Wilson for more details.
In October 2014 six of our parish confirmed their faith at St Thomas’ Church in Bedhampton. Here are their stories:
Depending on how you look at things, you might say everything that has happened to me has been through coincidence. Instead I believe that I have been guided. I grew up in Australia. For a long time I was lost. I had no faith in anything and felt like I was a no-body. Then about four years ago, I met my wife and she brought me back to this life. After our first daughter was born, we started going to church together more regularly. I have been blessed for I have come through some challenging and difficult times in life. I thank God for what He has done.
When I started the confirmation process, I spoke about how I had always felt like an outsider. But since I have become part of Christ Church family, I feel that people accept me for who I am and not for anything else. They don’t judge you. Finding faith in God has been a fundamental thing I looked for. It has given me a reason to start making some positive decisions on what I want to do with my life and fired me up about the direction I want it to go in.
In 1957 my father was appointed a diplomat at the Rhodesian High Commission in London. Before leaving, my parents placed me at a boarding school to do my GCEs. The school belonged to the Brethren. All the teachers were volunteer missionaries. They encouraged us to be baptised. When I was 14 years old I made the conscious decision to be baptised. These were mass baptisms in a river near the boarding school. We were baptised by the Bishop who was also the inspector of schools.
When I come to Portsmouth in 1964, I could not find a Presbyterian or Brethren Church, so I stopped attending church.
For over 40 years, I worked in Portsmouth and Cosham. On my way home, I used to sit on the top deck of the bus so I could see Christ Church. Every time I passed it, I longed to be on the inside, but I never found an excuse to intrude. However in 2013 I was invited by my neighbour to come to the Summer Festival at Christ Church.
On the inside, it became clear that Christ Church wasn’t just a building. I never experienced a warmer welcome anywhere: a community who comfort and look after each other in times of stress and need. I knew right away that this was the community I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
I have always believed in God but in the last year or so, it has become very clear that worship cannot be a solo activity. This is why I embarked on the road to conformation.
I was baptised as a child and would probably describe my church attendance as limited to church parade and events such as Harvest, Remembrance Day and Christmas. I have always felt an affinity with Christianity and the presence of God in my life.
In November 2013 I had a baby boy. Following his birth I felt the Holy Spirit closer in my life than ever before. When Eli was 3 weeks old, we moved to Widley. Whilst still settling into our new home a leaflet from Christ church was put through our door inviting us to the Advent Fayre. We decided to go along; in need of a break from all the boxes.
Everyone at Christ Church was so friendly and welcoming. Something just drew us in. We have been attending as a family ever since and Eli has been baptised here.
I thought I wouldn’t be allowed to do Confirmation: that it was something open to others or maybe teenagers. Andy and Annie encouraged me to consider it. I came to the meeting and felt it was something I was meant to do. It was the right time in my life. On reflection I realise God has been calling me nearer. I have come close to doing this before but never felt ready.
I was blessed by God to be born into a Christian family. I know my mum and Aunty Gwen prayed for me all my life. I grew up with learning difficulties. At school it was tough because I was bullied. I first learned about Jesus at Sunday School and finally gave my heart to Him in my twenties. I was baptised a year later.
When my mum and aunt became ill, I looked after them. My mum had dementia. It was very difficult and made me angry at God. I stopped going to church. My mum died in 1998 and her funeral service was at Christ Church. Afterwards, people encouraged me to go to church again. And I’ve been coming ever since!
I’ve found lots of support and friendship here. Being part of the Christ Church family has helped heal the hurt that was inside me.
I want to be confirmed to make a public declaration of how Jesus has helped me in my life. Last year I was made redundant but Jesus has provided for me during that big change. God has given me gifts to make up for what I haven’t got: being able to pray and welcome people.
I didn’t really feel any connection with God when I was growing up. My family weren’t religious. But I did attend a Bible school in Denmead every summer. I met my wife Rachel, but it wasn’t until after we got married that we started to talk about what we believed.
We decided to have children. Our first child Kiera was severely ill. We sought comfort after tragedy and looked in part to the church. Kiera was baptised at All Saints, Denmead before she died. The hospice chaplain provided emotional support to both of us for a while. But when we were blessed with a second child, Aiden, we looked for a nearby church community to settle in as a family. Rachel had attended Christ Church when she was younger. We began to come regularly, got to know lots of people and I learned to play the drums. Aiden was baptised at Christ Church in 2013 and Rachel was confirmed that year. I noticed the change in her and it made me curious about finding a faith for myself. For me confirmation is about connecting with God’s direction in my life, and getting and giving help and support where I can.
My close family and I have attended Christ Church, on and off since I was a cub attending church parade. I was honoured to be one of my nephew’s and niece’s godparents and my sister married in Christ Church. In 2009 our world was torn apart when our dad passed away. After his passing we were sure that he was still with us. When I needed his kind, warm, reassuring hands in times of my greatest need, there would be a reassuring beautiful white feather left where I could easily find it. Some might think this coincidental, but it happened far too many times when needed most for it to be just a coincidence. The arrival of these feathers started me thinking.
Following dad’s death I started accompanying mum to church and had a chance to really reflect on what I believed my faith to be. Now prayer gives me strength. It provides a chance to be thankful, to reflect on what’s happening in my life and to ask God for support.
As a science teacher, I am fascinated how faith and science work together. I decided now was the right time to make the public step of confirmation.