The Parish of Sandal Magna
St. Helen's and St. Paul's Church
Serving Sandal, Walton and Portobello
in Wakefield UK
© Sandal Magna PCC 2011
Confirming your baptism promises
Confirmation preparation usually involves completing our Alpha Course. Once you have completed the course, you may wish to make a commitment to confirmation as your next step of faith. Please read the selection of stories below for inspiration and follow the links to official information on the Church of England website.
If you are interested in being Confirmed, please contact the Parish Office.
Please see the bottom of this page to download the latest Confirmation Stories from April 2012.
April 20th, 2008. St. Helen's Church, Sandal
My journey to confirmation started during childhood. My parents gave me a very loving upbringing founded on the Christian faith and morals.
I have therefore had faith for a great many years.
All relationships have their ups and downs; my faith came under strain when we found out that my Dad was suffering with dementia. I asked God why he was not helping. I was given the answer God was helping. He after all gave me a close loving family, precious time with Dad and the ability to help and care for him. After we lost my Dad in 2007 the Church community and our faith helped us a great deal. Our family was offered the opportunity to attend the Alpha Course to learn more and grow in our faith. In confirmation I confirm I believe in God and that we are friends.
My faith has grown over time and has been influenced by many things. The strongest of these has been my parents, Peter and Crijnie who brought their children up in the Christian faith teaching by example. I have been able to practice the example they have shown in my own work with people disadvantaged in some way or other. The strength I felt during my Dad's illness before his death last year, was I believe sent by God. He looked after us then and continues to do so.
I felt my life was lacking the opportunity to discuss the important questions in life and to consider responsibilities, forgiveness etc. I was interested in attending church to see if this would help, and to meet those in the community around our new house. My son had also started R.E. at school and had questions. My husband supported the idea of giving my son the Christian upbringing he had had. I found the church very warm and welcoming. The sermons were thought-provoking and interesting. I saw the need for prayer for worldwide issues. Through the Alpha Course and House Group I have found out more and enjoy the fellowship and understanding of other church members.
Diane NelsonMy relationship with God began when I lost my beloved husband, Ian on his 50th birthday in April 2006. This huge loss was followed six weeks later by the death of my mother. I then lost my father just a year later.I had never experienced such pain and despair. I feel now as if I have always been surrounded by God's light but I had to be plunged into darkness to really start to see it. And the light is so, so beautiful.Jesus, thank you for being a light to me in this time of darkness. Help me to believe that your light can lead me into new life
What has brought me to faith? This summer will see me celebrating my 53rd birthday and so my journey to confirmation has been a lengthy one which I now question why, and wish I had committed to it before.I was baptised as a baby and in due course attended Church of England infant, junior and secondary schools. I was raised in a warm, loving home by my parents, who had both been confirmed in their youth and participated in Church life, with mum taking Sunday school. I learnt by their example the importance of caring, loving, sharing, listening, respect. It cannot however be said that I had been a regular attendant at Church in the past other than on special occasions such as Easter, Christmas, Weddings, Christenings, the latter of which proudly includes my becoming a Godmother in the year 2000. In June 2003 my dad passed away and as a resident of the parish of St. Helen's his Funeral service was held in the church taken by Shirley Coombes. Naturally this was a moving and emotional time, but for me I feel it was also the time I was drawn to regular worship. Initially I don't think I had an intention to become a 'regular' worshipper, but within a short period of time I found myself wanting to come to Church, looking forward to the next attendance. The inspirational enthusiasm for worship and support and care for others displayed by members of the congregation, particularly Pam, is without doubt a positive factor in my journey to faith and has forged valued friendships. I leave after each service feeling calmed and refreshed and ready to face the new challenges ahead, truly believing I can put my trust in God to be my guide.
How did I get here? My story can be summed up with the statement 'God found me, I didn't find God.' I have been exceptionally fortunate in being brought up in a loving home, and small, safe community. Hilfield Youth Camp had a profound effect on me as a teenager, both in questioning the world around me, and experiencing a dynamic faith community. At college, after much 'soul searching' I made more solid steps in my faith, with adult baptism while at university. Recently, stepping out to work for the church here, and serving in this community has led me to Confirmation within the Anglican Church. Faith is the start, but it only means something through action. This Parish has given me many opportunities to serve, for which I am grateful. It would be difficult not to mention my wife Jessica, and daughter Rose, both revealing new mysteries of God's love for me each day, as we share together with our friends here in our joys and sorrows - sharing the mystery of Christ's suffering and victory. "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."John 13:35
I was brought up as a non-practising Christian although I did go to Sunday School until about the age of 10/11. I was educated at a Catholic school where mass and religious studies played a "heavy" role in the curriculum, and I may respectfully add, not taught in an enthusiastic way. So hence I drifted away but never letting it slip completely away. Years later and now a married adult to a Christian husband - as a couple we saw the contemporary service advertised - we thought we would like to sample the modern church. Not the one I remembered as a child. We told my parents we were going to church on Sunday and my mum replied: "I'm coming". The rest is history. Everyone made us welcome, the teachings were thankfully not what I remember and we now look forward to church, people and events that bring us together with other Christians.
What has brought me to this point in my faith? As a child, my family and I attended St. Helen's. Later in my teens I decided I didn't need to go to church anymore, except for special occasions.I got married at St. Helen's then moved to Horbury. My daughter was christened at St. Paul's. I didn't go back to church until after the sad death of my father; I went to support my mum and only intended staying for a few weeks. However, I carried on. I enjoyed the upbeat feel of the sermons and felt welcomed. The Alpha course quickly followed where we could ask questions, and listened to inspiring guest speakers. The turning point for me was the Saturday Alpha session, where I was prayed for. I felt warm and calm, but also tearful, for a reason I couldn't understand. Now I go to a House Group with some lovely people, and help out at the creche once a month.
I had faith when I was younger and always thought of myself as a Christian. I came from a very Christian family and always in my younger days went to church. Then somewhere I got a little lost - that seems the best way to describe it - although I didn't know it at the time because I was always so busy working and bringing up a family. I still had faith, believed in God but just got on with my busy life. Suddenly, I realised I needed help from God. My father was terminal and although my family were great and supportive at this terrible time, I felt the need to pray constantly. I had questions that required some answers that I felt only God could provide. My father passed away and I did feel a little let down at this point.Two years down the line and having been on the Alpha course, I feel I understand more about what happened and realise I did get help from God through my prayers. It was that that helped me through and to come out the other side. I have prayed more and more over the last year for my daughter and son-in-law, in their time of need and my prayers have been answered. The Heavenly Father has blessed them with the most precious gift. I now realise by praying I don't always get the outcome I am hoping for but I do get help from God whatever the outcome.The Alpha course has definitely helped to restore my faith.A young man in the Alpha News said I think my suffering and trials have made me get where I am and have made me the person that God wants me to be. That is just how I feel. I still feel I have a long way to go and want to be a better person, but I have an extended family at church and God is there for me.
I have felt that there was something missing in my life for many years - I have attended churches in dribs and drabs, and eventually tried the Huddersfield Christian Fellowship which I liked and got baptised there with full immersion. My faith failed after about nine years. I still felt something missing and after needing a miracle in my life, was drawn to St. Helen's where I found the 'spark' that I needed and the miracle.
About fifteen years ago an episode in my life caused me to lose my faith in God. Christmas Eve Mass at the Cathedral was the only service I attended during these years, and only because it was Christmas. Church and all it entails had always meant a lot to me, now here I was taking the easy path and not bothering. It's really easy not to bother. Bob's career took us away from Yorkshire and so we attended the Church of Ireland and then the Church of Scotland. Thirty one years ago I was committed to the Church of Scotland and was a Sunday School teacher and also secretary for the cub scouts, amongst other things, a special time in my life. Then Bob's career took another turn and after almost twenty years away we were relocated back to Yorkshire. I didn't want to leave Scotland and the church that meant so much to me - and then, as I saw it, God failed me. Looking back over those years without faith, I think I was aware something was missing. I began to look for a church. Eventually we arrived at St. Helen's. Here we found Rupert and Sally so welcoming and friendly, and all of you making this such a great place to be part of.I had decided not to become involved; maybe sit in a pew, enjoy the service and leave quietly. Things have not gone according to plan. I do a couple of hours in The Spring, I enjoyed immensely last year's Alpha course and I attend a House Group. As a family we have taken some knocks this year. The hardest to come to terms with has been the death of a little one, but I'm still standing. Now here I am at this lovely service making a commitment to God with my confirmation. I feel privileged.
I've wanted to be confirmed for quite some time now, but I was always too busy and a little bit too lazy to do anything about it. Before Christmas I decided to look further into confirmation and speak to Rupert about it. Now my confirmation day is here and after all the preparation for it, I now feel I can understand my religion and feel comforted that I will always have someone or somewhere to turn to. I would like to thank both Rupert and Sally for all their guidance.
I don't really remember my first years in the church. They're a blur of songs I couldn't read, being told repeatedly to 'sit still', sitting at the back of church colouring and being extremely cold. So you might be able to imagine the trouble my parents had getting me there, but they did.Until the day I wanted to go myself, I think really they're the ones who really helped me get where I am now. I've always believed in God, and although sometimes it's worn thin, I've always known He'd be there for me. If I was asked a question about my religion, I'd be able to give them an answer, but my answer I'm afraid, when I read things from the bible, doesn't always sink in. That part of my faith really needs to grow hugely!Anyway back to what I'm supposed to be talking about. The thing that's really helped me this past year, apart from Alpha and Sacred Space (I think that helps everyone), is going back to St. Paul's. I love people's reactions when I say I go there to worship. It's kind of what? But you're young. You'd be surprised how enthusiastic older people can be and that really makes you want to worship God because you know something really special must coax the 60+ out of bed on a morning. The advice I have been given is great - I've understood the bible a lot better too. It's like one day you wake up and 'click' it's there. Only the trio in the sky could do something that good. I know you said 1-2 paragraphs Sally, so I'm really sorry - I'm just so passionate. I can't stop writing. Is this possibly knowing that you want to say you love God forever. Great. But my arm hurts.You can't say my faith hasn't been tested - it has. Diabetes. Now becoming an increasingly common disease, but the one that the population know least about, or they know a few things and think they know everything. This is the most difficult part trying to be a Christian. The whole 'I got it forever' issue will come and go but we can get through it. Why confirmation now? I made the decision a long time ago that God was stuck with me for eternity. Now I think I'm as sure as I'll ever be.
I was Dedicated as a baby. My parents wanted me to choose what I wanted to do when I grew up. My family and friends helped by supporting me in everything I do. Being at Spring Harvest and Alpha has taught me a lot about the bible and life, and helped me understand more. Spring Harvest helped me learn by people going up and sharing their stories and through lively songs which makes you want to speak out loud and praise God without being embarrassed. Being at Spring Harvest has shown me I really want to have a strong bond with God. Since that point I have learnt more through my first Youth Group Seekers and now through my Youth Group here and church. I feel I can talk to God about what I'm anxious and worried about and He will always be there for me.
I was christened at St. Helen's when I was one. I enjoyed my christening very much as it was a right old knees up! A few years down the line I became part of the church life more and soon became intrigued by the goings on. I then proceeded to do the Alpha Course and seized the opportunity to find out more about faith through that. After that I was invited to the SHYP meetings and then to Hilfield camp which was top banana. I soon decided that I wanted to become confirmed as I felt it was a step in my faith and I was sure it was a good idea.