Walking with our Confirmation Students
Happy April Fool’s Day! As Christians, we have been counted as fools in the world. Paul writes to the church at Corinth about how Christians are counted as fools because of their weakness. Even under persecution and in poverty and when homeless, still the Christians are steadfast in their humility, generosity, and kindness. (I Corinthians 4: 9-13)
We have been having a great year teaching our confirmation students in partnership with our sister churches of Batavia and St. Charles Baker Memorial UMCs. Our partnership has extended to sharing in some seasonal events and worship as well as partnering for some youth events. The confirmation class began the year studying the Bible together at Batavia UMC. Our 28 students (of which 6 are from Geneva, 8 from Batavia, and 14 from Baker) have enjoyed meeting on either Wednesday evenings or Sunday afternoons, gathering once each quarter with parents and with mentors, sometimes with both.
Early in December we were blessed to experience a Sabbath service at Congregation Beth Shalom in Naperville. Congregation leader Bernie Newman took time both before and after the service to answer questions, to explain their rituals, and to show us the Torah scroll they have had restored that was saved in France from the Holocaust. This field trip helped students and parents who attended understand a bit better the faith Jesus lived.
Since then, students have learned a bit more with Pastor Lisa about Christian history, from early believers’ house churches through the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, and the Reformation. We read and discussed a variety of church creeds and learned more about why we believe what we believe. Pastor Rob shared more about our Methodist history with John Wesley, all the way through our global outreach and on to our present General Conference structure, Book of Discipline, and some of our ongoing issues to be a diverse, global church.
This February we began looking at how we live our faith in worship, in spiritual disciplines, and in social action. We had a wonderful morning prayer retreat where the students got to try walking a labyrinth, prayer walk the Lord’s Prayer, and do an outdoor prayer walk praying for the St. Charles community. They have learned more about sin, repentance, grace and salvation, our sacraments, our understanding of the inward and outward nature of faith and spiritual formation.
They are currently working on a service project to share with church and community and were able to choose a project to work on that was meaningful to them.
Pastor Rob and I consider ourselves blessed to have been able to spend time this year with these wonderful young people, learning from and with them how they see Jesus, church, and their faith as an important part of their lives. In fact, we look forward to the students sharing with you about these things when they are confirmed in May. We ask that you hold our students in prayer as we complete our class time, then share on paper and in conversation about how the year of study together has shaped their faith and their commitment to Christ and church. We are grateful to parents who have guided their youth and shepherded them to classes, field trip and retreats, and to mentors who have joined the youth in classes and on the field trip. We look forward to ways that our youth will continue to grow in faith and service with us, as we all live out our commitments to Christ, God, and neighbor, in our community and beyond!
May we learn from our youth, as we walk with them into God’s future!
Peace, Pastor Lisa