The Office of Confirmation is always presided by a Bishop, therefore he is the chief liturgical planner for the service. Local churches, however, are often delegated the task of preparation of the liturgy anyway.
Like the Office of Holy Baptism, Confirmation was a stand-alone rite in the classical Prayer Books. However, whereas this Customary commends the independence of Holy Baptism from the Service of Communion, the celebration of Confirmation apart from the Communion need only be a rare occasion today.
The Entrance Rite
The congregation’s usual customary for the Communion service should be followed, with the Acclamation being followed by the Collect for Purity, the Decalogue or the Summary of the Law, and (except in Advent and Lent) the Gloria in exclesis Deo.
Further, the Confession ought to be said at every celebration of Holy Communion, so two options stand. The default is that the Confession and Absolution of Sin (drawn from either the Office or the Communion) should be said after the Decalogue or Summary of the Law, as per the rubric on BCP181. The other option is to place it after the Offertory as per the tradition order of Holy Communion provided on BCP142.
If Confirmation is being held without Holy Communion, it should be a brief and simple as possible, with no such additions.
The Liturgy of the Word
The Collect of the Day is appointed in the same manner as the Daily Office and Communion service.
The same applies to the Lessons and Psalm, though if the Confirmation is being held without the celebration of Holy Communion, the Lesson(s) may instead include Isaiah 11:1-3a, Acts 8:14-17, and 2 Timothy 1:5-9.
The Sermon should be on the lesson(s) appointed. As in a wedding or funeral, the preacher must take care not to turn the preaching of the Word into a celebration of the candidate. A homily or other exposition on Confirmation is also appropriate, especially in cases where the Confirmation will be celebrated without Holy Communion.
The Nicene Creed follows.
The Presentation, Exhortation, and Examination
The Bishop addresses the Presenters, Candidate(s), and Congregation at various times. His eye contact with each in turn helps everyone to recognize when they are being addressed and thus when to respond.
The Prayer and the Laying On of Hands
Three blessings are put forth in the Prayer Book. To clarify the rubrics, this how they are to be used:
For Confirmation. This is the standard blessing, from the historic Prayer Book Confirmation liturgy. One who has never been confirmed is to receive these words.
For Reception. This is a sort of “Conditional Confirmation” akin to the Conditional Baptism on BCP173. These words are to spoken over those who have been confirmed in another church, including the Episcopal Church. The issue is that many traditions delegate confirmation to priests, or lack the intent of the blessing in the Prayer Book, or are otherwise lacking in orthodoxy or fullness.
For Reaffirmation. This is a blessing for those who were confirmed by an Anglican bishop with this, or another classical Prayer Book rite, but subsequently strayed from the faith and the Church and have since returned. This can also be an appropriate celebration for members who have moved from another diocese or province, and wish to be “re-settled” in their new church home with this Prayer Book.
The Oil of Chrism should be used whenever possible.
Concluding Prayer after the Laying On of Hands
After all of the candidates have received the Laying On of Hands, the Bishop says this prayer and initiates the exchange of the Peace. Care should be taken that the liturgy does not devolve into a celebration of the newly-confirmed.
After this, the Communion is to be celebrated normally, starting with the Offertory. If there is no Communion, the Lord’s Prayer is said. In either case the final blessing is offered at the end of the liturgy.
HOLY BAPTISM with CONFIRMATION
As with Baptism and Confirmation on their own, this rite should be prepared within the regular custom for the Service of Holy Communion, including the Confession and Absolution of Sin.
Unlike the Baptism and Confirmation rites, this combined rite may not be used apart from the Service of Holy Communion.