The time has finally come to confirm our now 10th grade class of students. With the pandemic causing us to postpone our Rite of Confirmation service to the fall, we were gifted the opportunity to spend a few extra months with the confirmands. The resiliency, growth, commitment, and flexibility they have shown as we navigate this completely unpredictable time in our lives, is not only amazing to experience, but is a reflection of the best their generation has to offer. This time has shown what great leaders, teachers, businessmen and women, athletes, artists, scientists and much more, these young people will become in the near future. I am proud and excited to watch them continue to grow in so many different ways.
Every year we wrap up our confirmation year by asking the students to write a personal faith statement. Many chose to write a short paper summing up what confirmation has taught them about different aspects of their faith, and where they stand at that current moment in time. Here is what a few of them had to say:
“I like viewing God as someone I can talk to without judgment, so I will often pray about many things. Whenever I feel guilty or stressed, I like to pray. It always calms me down. It is also nice knowing there is someone to always cheer me on and be on my side, so I don't feel so alone. I think this is why a lot of people are religious; because the world is really scary and it's nice to have something constant to lean on.”
“I have experienced God in many ways. I experienced God when one of my cats passed away over a year ago. I had a hard time because I hadn’t lost anyone before then. I did a lot of praying in that time to help me get through. Another time I felt God is when I had to take my permit test. I was very nervous before taking the test. I prayed to God the night before asking to not be nervous and to do my best. I ended up passing the test. Later that day, I thanked God for answering my prayer. I understand the answers God gives are not always the answers I want, but I know He answers them in a way that is best for me to shape our future.”
“I believe that there is only one God, a God that will love us no matter what. I have faith in Him and that means I know He will be with me always, and I trust that He has a path for me. Although I am still learning, I know that I have faith in Him. I am happy and excited to learn and build my relationship with Him. I still have a long way to go with my faith, but I am excited to continue to learn and grow. I am especially thankful for my mentor, my grandma. She has been so important in my faith development and in my life. I would not be where I am today without her. I hope that as I grow, my faith also grows stronger and I can live a stronger Christian life.”
As an alternative to a traditional faith statement, this year we also gave our students the option to reflect on 2020 and how the different happenings have played out for them personally. We were gifted with art projects, bench building, podcast recording and many other ways the students were able to articulate and explore their feelings surrounding the past few months and how they have been affected. It was an extremely humbling experience to walk alongside the students as they contemplated who they are and how these months have impacted them in different ways.
Looking towards the future, these students are ready and prepared to make a difference in the church, their schools, their communities and our world. As we join them in affirming their baptisms, I encourage us to all take seriously our part in their journey.
“People of God, do you promise to support these sisters and brothers and pray for them in their life in Christ?”
We do, and we ask God to help and guide us.