Forming Faith: A comparative study of two methods of confirmation preparation and the ways they facilitate faith formation in candidates
Chamberlain, Stephen Mark
This research project compares two different methods of confirmation preparation and the way they facilitated faith formation in candidates. The two methods investigated were the 'traditional' and the 'catechumenal like' approaches. Thirty eight young people were interviewed to identify the impact their confirmation experience had on them. The interviews followed a narrative enquiry methodology and their parents were also invited to complete a questionnaire. The two methods of confirmation preparation were then compared on the basis of the degree of faith formation achieved. The context of this study is the ongoing debate in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia about the place of confirmation in the contemporary Church given the theological confusion that surrounds it and the decline in numbers of young people presenting themselves for confirmation. Other factors include the recent interest in reviving the ancient Catechumenate for the purposes of spiritual formation. The overriding issue however is the clear need for the Church to offer better processes for forming young people in Christ, first for the children of Christian parents but also for those with little church background who present themselves for membership. It was found that the majority of candidates had a strongly positive experience of confirmation reporting life change and successful faith formation. A small number of candidates were also found to have experienced confirmation as a profound 'rite of passage' and reported that a deep personal change had taken place. In the light of these findings a new model for successful faith formation through confirmation is proposed. This model conforms substantially to a 'catechumenal like' process but incudes new features to enhance the possibility of deep faith formation in candidates.
Advisor: Lineham, Peter
Degree Name: Master of Ministry
Degree Discipline: Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Research Type: Dissertation