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Bishop’s delight to confirm four generations of a single family in County Durham service

27 October 2017

KEITH BLUNDY

Family of faith: Abigail Robson, Iris Moffatt, Iris Robson, and Julie Bell

Family of faith: Abigail Robson, Iris Moffatt, Iris Robson, and Julie Bell

FOUR generations of one family have been confirmed in the same service at a parish in County Durham.

The youngest was ten-year-old Abigail Robson, and the oldest was her great-grandmother, Iris Moffatt, who is aged 87. Alongside them were Abigail’s parents, Julie and Mark Bell, and her grandmother, Iris Robson, 67.

The confirmation at St Andrew’s, Stanley, in Co. Durham, was conducted by the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, who said: “I have never confirmed four generations before — although I have done three. This is probably a fairly unique and rather special occasion. I am delighted to meet people at their confirmation service, and to affirm their faith, but this has also been a new milestone for me.”

In all, there were 26 candidates from seven churches in the Lanchester deanery area, including one who was also baptised.

Abigail and her family worship near by at St Thomas’s, Harelaw.. The Priest-in-Charge of St Thomas’s, Canon Heather Murray, who is also the Area Dean, said: “Abigail’s parents first came to the church about four years ago, to have their son Jacob baptised. Then they started to come to Messy Church, coming occasionally to Sunday worship.

“Then they had their second son baptised. They have gradually grown in their faith, and then this year started talking about confirmation. During this time, when there were family services, or Harvest and Christmas, they involved grandma and great grandma.

“At first it was Julie, Mark, and Abigail going for confirmation, but then grandmother and great-grandmother asked if they could be confirmed at the same time, which was lovely. I was absolutely delighted. When they started doing confirmation preparation, we discovered their faith had been there all along, they just hadn’t expressed it through worship in their later years.”

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.”

“We had been talking about it,” Iris Moffatt said, “and it 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.”

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