We hope the following Questions & Answers are helpful. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the clergy at the Parish Office, on 020 7221 3548.
Why do I need to confess my sins?
The Church of England does not insist on confession as a normal expression of Christian faith. The Eucharist and many other services begin with a general confession, and prayers of penitence. However, for some people regular sacramental confession helps them to grow in faith. Others find confession helpful at moments of crisis or decision, or when they feel burdened by a sense of failure and shortcoming.
Where will the sacrament take place?
By arrangement with one of the clergy, at a quiet time in a chapel at one of the two churches.
What does the service involve?
If you have never made a confession before, the priest will talk you through the service. You will begin by confessing your sins. The priest may then give you some advice, before absolving you from your sins in the name of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A prayer of thanksgiving will be said and the priest will bless you.
Is it really healthy focussing on our sins?
Some people can have an unhealthy obsession with their own failings. But the modern term for confession shows the positive value of the service: it is sacrament of reconciliation to God. Everyone has faults, everyone makes mistakes, everyone needs to forgive and to experience forgiveness. And the experience of having our sins forgiven is liberating – full of hope and joy.
Will the priest judge me?
An experienced priest knows the crushing effect of guilt. He or she is also aware of his or her own failings. The final words of this short, simple service underline the humility expected of the priest who will hear your confession:
Priest: The Lord has set you free.
Penitent: Thanks be to God.
Priest: Go in peace. Pray for me a sinner.
And remember, the priest will respect you for the courage and honesty which your confession requires.
Will I have to do a penance?
The priest may ask you to say some short prayers, or to read a psalm or another passage from the bible. You will be given the opportunity to make private prayers of thanksgiving and commitment on your own in the chapel.
Confession enables us to be profoundly reconciled to God, and sets us free to live more fully and joyfully, secure in the knowledge of God’s love and forgiveness. If you feel you might benefit from the sacrament of reconciliation, contact the clergy to discuss the matter further.
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