This year’s Confirmation service was especially poignant, as 16 of our pupils were confirmed by Bishop Martin Seeley, of St Edmundsbury in Ipswich, in front of a socially distanced audience of proud family. The confirmation last took place in March 2020, just a week before the UK government imposed severe restrictions on society due to Covid-19, making church ceremonies impossible.
The Confirmation service is one of the most anticipated in the College’s spiritual schedule as it is the time in which pupils are recognised and their spiritual choices accepted by the Church of England in a formal service. It is often considered a coming-of-age service for young adolescents that recognises a young person’s confirmation of belief. School Chaplain, Brynn Bayman says: “For me, the annual Confirmation service is the spiritual highlight of the year. It’s a rite of passage for our pupils, who, by being confirmed, are empowered to go into the world and make their own spiritual choices, independent of the school and of their parents.
“This year’s Confirmation was an exceptionally moving ceremony after a year in which we have not been able to congregate. For me, it was a really spiritual moment as the two Confirmation services bookended the most severe period of the Covid-19 pandemic and seeing people in the chapel again was a real sign of hope.”
Typically, hymns are sung, and bible passages are read by the Bishop and other members of the congregation. Pupils receive candles, which are ceremoniously handed to them by their parents and godparents as part of their confirmation. At the ceremony this week, our pupils were handed their candle and then led out of the chapel, to the front of the school to celebrate and reflect.
Rev Bayman added: “The Bishop’s attendance adds a huge amount of purpose and emphasis to the Confirmation service, as he is an important figure in the Church of England, within Suffolk and the throughout the country. What makes his attendance so special is that he personally really takes the time to engage with our pupils. For example, he arrived early to talk with the pupils and made the effort to speak to each one of them and understand their plans and hopes for the future.
“The Bishop has often said that attending our Confirmation service each year is a highlight of his annual schedule. I believe this is because of the attitudes and warmth of our pupils. This year was especially warm, as pupils’ friends even made the effort to attend the service and watch their peers being confirmed. For me this is a clear sign of the positive ways in which the culture of kindness is alive in the College. The warmth and compassion throughout the ceremony was felt by all.”
For many of our pupils who were recently confirmed, their time at Framlingham College is coming to an end and they will soon take their fledgling steps towards their careers. However, memories of a truly special Confirmation service will no doubt stay with them for many years to come.