One of the five sacramental rites in the Episcopal Church is The Reconciliation of a Penitent, more commonly known as “Confession.” This is the rite in which a parishioner meets privately with a priest to confess specific sins and receive absolution. Our Episcopal understanding of this rite can be summed up in the adage: All may; some should; none must. In other words, no one is required to make a private confession, but for some folks the practice is extremely healing and helpful. Naming aloud the wrongs we’ve done is hard and scary; hearing the words of absolution afterward is freeing and healing.
Reconciliation of a Penitent is available at all times, but in Lent and particularly during Holy Week, it is customary for clergy to encourage interested parishioners to partake of the rite in preparation for Easter. Making my personal confession has often been part of my Lenten practice, and I have always found it helpful. If you would like to include this rite in your Easter preparations, please let Lorna or me know, and we will make arrangements to meet privately with you. Rest assured that anything said during the rite is completely confidential and is never a matter for subsequent discussion unless you bring it up again.
Whether or not you are planning to make a private confession this Lent, I encourage you to take a look at the two forms of The Reconciliation of a Penitent found in the Book of Common Prayer on pages 447 to 452. As you do so, I hope you’ll be reminded of God’s deep and unending love for you and deep desire for reconciliation with all of us.