We had a rich Confirmation gathering Sunday night. This is our third and final group of conversations, and the theme has moved from "God Beyond" to "God Beside," and now it's "God Within." And so last night we began talking about Spirit, Passion, Holy Spirit-the things that enliven and inspire us. What was remarkable was how the group was so willing to share some personal passions. We finished the evening with inspired singing from Ari and Olivia. Honestly, listening to their voices blend in the Sanctuary, as we lay on our backs on the floor-well, the Spirit was there.
We also spent an important few minutes talking about what's ahead over these next 5 weeks-leading up to the Confirmation service on May 18th. I've outlined the schedule and plan below, with some detail as needed. Please take a solid look at it because we are really counting on full participation. As you know, when we outlined this experience last fall we tried to emphasize the value of our gatherings and conversations. We never expected full attendance every week, but we had high hopes for strong participation, and we still do. Simply put, the more participation, the more the experience of Confirmation feels real, personal and authentic.
Sunday, April 17th: Regular Class, 7pm-9pm.
Maundy Thursday, April 21st, 6pm-9pm: We are asking the group to participate in the Maundy Thursday service, and to help serve and support as well. They need to be there by 6pm sharp. This is a powerful evening.
Good Friday, April 22nd. Again, we asking them to attend and participate in one of the Good Friday services-and there are options. We have a service at Noon-and not surprisingly, many of them liked the idea of using church to miss a little school! And there is a service at 7pm-but a Friday night service seemed less appealing. We are also adding a new service this year-geared toward children and families. It will start and 4pm, and this might be the best option.
Sunday, May 1st: Regular Class, 7pm-9pm.
Wednesday, May 18th-Confirmation! There are some important details about this service, so read on.
First of all, the Rite of Confirmation itself is an individual moment of commitment made in community. We talked about this Sunday night. At the heart of the liturgy that night is each Confirmand standing in front of the Bishop and making a commitment of faith-a personal commitment. Each person will be given the option to decide:
1. A commitment to continue to seek God as a follower of Jesus or,
2. A commitment to continue on the journey of seeking faith. The second option is for those who feel that they are not yet ready to take the step of Confirmation in the Christian story, but are fully committed to a search for faith.
We will take time to help them make this decision at our gathering on May 1st. In either case, the Bishop will offer an individual prayer and blessing.
Secondly, the liturgy for Wednesday night will be rather unique-incorporating some of the unique rituals we have used as a group on Sunday nights. It will also have elements from our usual Sunday morning service. The hope is that we'll have lots of Grace folk there to support the Confirmands. And of course family and friends are welcome. We will have a dessert reception after the service.
Lastly, the service will begin at 7pm and end by about 8:15, with the reception following. We want the group to arrive at 5:45, and we'll have some pizza for them as we get ready for the service and meet with the Bishop.
And so . . . if you have any questions about what lies ahead please let me know. As I said above, these last few gatherings are important. Your help in getting kids here will be very valuable. Having two kids in the group myself, I know the scheduling challenges all too well. What I also know is that the experienced is enriched by our shared participation.
Again, thanks for sharing your kids with us.