Archbishop Conducts Christmas Confirmation for Army Medic
Monday 22nd December 2008The Archbishop of York today held a special confirmation service at Bishopthorpe Palace for a medical doctor on Christmas leave from service in Iraq.
Capt. Dr. Mike Smith RAMC, a medical officer with the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment Fusiliers, was confirmed during a special service held this morning in the Chapel at Bishopthorpe Palace.
Captain Smith, 27, from Ellesmere Port in Cheshire was posted to Iraq on 15th May and only recently returned to the UK on leave. He is due to return to active service on 26th January 2009.
Dr. Sentamu said: "Today is a celebration of the fulfilment of the prayers of many people. I was firmly opposed to the UK invasion of Iraq but once the soldiers were deployed I have been praying for them and their families. It is an honour to be able to confirm one of our serving armed forces, and a particular joy to do so at Christmas as we celebrate the coming of Christ into the world."
Captain Smith said:
"Being confirmed is something I've been meaning to do for a long time. When I was posted to Iraq I found myself physically closer to the whole Biblical story, which made it much more real for me. It re-awakened my desire to be confirmed and to journey on in my faith.
"It was great to be confirmed here at Christmas after being away for seven months. It feels really special"
"I was meant to be confirmed along with other members of the armed forces earlier this year, but was unable to attend the service. My army chaplain, Padre Tony Dalton, knew I'd be staying with family in York and put in a call to the Archbishop's office who said he would be delighted to conduct the service."
Captain Smith, who qualified as a General Practitioner four years ago, has served with the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment Fusiliers for seven years and was sponsored through his medical training at Cambridge University by the army.
"One of the men I was commission with at Sandhurst was The Reverend John McGregor. I bumped into him whilst on service in Iraq and both he and my padre have been an excellent support and help to both me and others serving there."
Confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey at which baptism is confirmed by a bishop through the laying on of hands and anointing of the candidate. During the service the candidate professes their intention to live a life of responsible and committed discipleship. Through prayer and the laying on of hands by the confirming bishop, the Church also asks God to give them power through the Holy Spirit to enable them to live in this way. For more information, please visit The Church of England website.