Four generations of the same family have confirmed their faith in a service conducted by The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham at St Andrew’s Church Stanley this week.
In what is believed to be a first in the Diocese of Durham and maybe in the Church of England, the four generations from the same maternal line of a long established NE family stood together in each of their own Christian journeys and affirmed their intentions to live a life of committed discipleship. Great gran, Iris Moffatt (87); Nan, Iris Robson (67); Mum, Julie Bell (37); Daughter, Abigail Grace Robson (10) along with Dad, Mark Bell, were confirmed along with 21 other candidates from seven (7) churches in the Lanchester Deanery area.
During the service, Bishop Paul also baptised on of the 26 candidates and also received another into the Church of England form the Roman Catholic Church. During his sermon, Bishop Paul commented: “I have never confirmed four generations before, I have done three. This is probably a fairly unique and rather special occasion. I am also delighted to meet people at their confirmation service and to affirm their faith, but this has been a new milestone for me also.”
Great gran Iris Moffatt said: “We had been talking about it and just made sense for us to all get confirmed together. I always wanted to be confirmed from being a little Girl and so this was a great opportunity.”
Julie added: “Mark and I have been attending St Thomas’ church in Harelaw and Annfield Plain, we have had two of our Children Christened there and we got married there also – so we felt that church was becoming a bigger part of our lives and so this was the obvious next step in getting closer to God.”
The Revd Canon Heather Murray, Area Dean of Lanchester and also the Vicar of St Thomas’ Church in Harelaw and Annfield Plain where the four generations all go to church said: “They are a family who started coming to Messy Church a few years ago and steadily they have grown in faith and become more connected with the wider church family.”
Nan Iris Robson said: “I always feel really relaxed and happy in church so I just thought – you know what at my time of life, let’s just get God into my life again. I think life takes over a bit when you have children and grandchildren and it’s just nice to have a bit of ‘me time’ with God really.”
Pictures from the confirmation can be purchased here and viewed below.