On Sunday, May 3, our community celebrated the confirmation of eight 8th grade students. It was a joyful and significant morning for these students and our congregation.
Confirmation is all about taking ownership of one’s faith. As children, our faith is typically something we share with our family, and our participation in a worshipping community is not something we decide for ourselves. It is a decision our parents, grandparents or mentors make on our behalf. But in our adolescence, we begin to ask questions – good, valuable, and existential questions – about God, ourselves, others and the world. Who am I? Where do I belong? How am I unique? What am I called to be about? These are questions we all ask ourselves for the first time in our teenage years.
Confirmation serves as an opportunity to begin engaging these questions within the framework of God’s Story. Beginning with God’s meta-narrative, confirmands learn that each of their individual stories are embedded deeply within God’s. Each finds his or her true identity as a beloved child of God, and his or her calling to be active participants in this Story. It’s exciting stuff.
The Confirmation process spans the entire school year. Students gather once a month to peel back the next layer of what it means to live as participants in God’s Story. The curriculum has multiple elements: memorization, note taking, experiential worksheets, a spiritual gifts assessment, and more. Know this: they worked hard. And not simply by checking things off a list, but the hard work of self examination and constant interaction with the Spirit.
May 3 was a culmination of all of those things. During the 9:00AM gathering, we examined the confirmands and anointed them with oil. In the Old Testament, oil was used to consecrate kings and priests as holy – as ones set apart by God. In Jesus, we are all made holy in this way, so we mark the confirmands saying, “You are set apart in Christ.”
This was the third class of confirmands Jacob’s Well has celebrated, but it was the first we have included into our Sunday morning worship gathering in the sanctuary. We’re excited about how these Confirmation rituals will continue to be a part of our life together in the future – especially with the number of little ones we already have in our midst!
Each confirmand was assigned a mentor to disciple them throughout the Confirmation process. During the 11:00AM gathering, these mentors presented each confirmand a Bible with their name inscribed on the front. The mentor shared a short word about their confirmand – who they are and what they see in them. It was a powerful image of the Body of Christ speaking life into one another.
Between gatherings, the youth ministry hosted a reception outside with coffee and donuts under a giant Confirmation Sunday banner. It was a space truly alive and joyful, celebrating as a community of people following Jesus. We are already looking forward to May 2016 when we celebrate another group of confirmation students. Don’t worry – next year we’ll order more donuts.
Confirmation Sunday was a day full of joy and celebration – one that marked a new way of celebrating and honoring the lives of our teenagers. God is smiling.
Congratulations to our 2015 confirmands:
- Joe Anderson
- Noah Jolly
- Blaise Keel
- Adelaine Marrone
- Abby Onnen
- Morgan Skinner
- Brendan Stirnaman
- Jane Swanberg
We believe in you. We are proud of you. And we are thankful for your role in our community.
Together we pray for these initiates:
May their minds grow in Your wisdom,
and may their eyes perceive Your glory.
May their ears be attuned to Your calling,
and may their mouths be like a channel of Your truth.
May their hearts be receptive to Your Spirit,
and may their hands participate in Your work.
And may their stories be infused with Yours,
as their feet continue in the way of Jesus
all the days of their lives.