Not Just for Kids
Many of us grew up thinking Confirmation class was just for sixth graders. As we mature in our faith we realize that we choose to confirm our faith or deny our faith almost every day. It appears to me, many people are currently asking themselves, “What do I really believe about this issue?” “What is important enough to me that I would take a position on this or that issue?” “How do I want to respond to people who believe differently than I do?” “How does my Faith inform my position?” These are confirmation questions. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is believed to have quoted, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty and in all things charity” from an earlier source. More importantly, I think, he confirmed this statement by the way he lived and treated others. The question then becomes, what is an essential for me?
It is important to have a strong foundation to build upon when we feel our values are being challenged. We may believe something because that is what our parents believed and we have never had to consider other options. Or certain life situations forced us to form a belief quickly and even though the situation is now different, we have never revisited that belief. And of course there is always more data and information available every day and it is impossible to know all the significance of this new information.
At Laurel Heights we invite people to explore their beliefs and how they came to those beliefs in a safe and stable environment before those beliefs are challenged by some life situation. It is my hope to give people the tools they might use to decide what they believe the essentials and the non-essentials are for them and to be able to re-evaluate those decisions in a spirit of charity either privately or in conversation with others. We traditionally offer this class to children in the sixth grade or above. Sixth grade is about the time core beliefs are being formalized. This is also a time when the beliefs a person was raised with can be significantly challenged.
While the confirmation classes we offer are specifically designed for sixth graders, young people graduating from high school, as well as adults who have not confirmed their faith before a worshipping community have participated and brought depth and experience to the program.
Each participant, or confirmand, is offered a “friend in the faith” as a guide through this process. The two are prayerfully paired based on interest, background and experience as well as other factors. The two will meet together to form a relationship that will serve as a foundation for the future and current example of what it means to be a part of a safe and supportive faith community. The confirmands will officially meet with their friend in the faith each week for about sixteen weeks until the confirmation service on Pentecost Sunday. But like relationships formed with pastors, youth directors, Sunday School teachers, friends of their parents, youth sponsors, acolyte coordinators and many others, those relationships continue for a lifetime.
Confirmation classes begin Sunday, February 5, so it is not too late to get involved. Classes are open and it is best if you start at the beginning as each class builds upon the others. Current participants and church members can invite their neighbors and friends; you do not need to have grown up in the church or even to have attended a single event before attending. Just be curious and open to learning and letting others learn. Contact the church office for more information.
See you Sunday,