Well, this is it. We meet this Sunday and then our next gathering is Confirmation itself! Wow. It was so great for me to see many of our Gang participating in the services during Holy Week and that participation made me feel that we have all been together on an honest and real faith journey.
That said, I also recognize that our levels of participation have varied. Some have been regularly engaged and clearly thoughtful, others have been challenged to find the room to fit in all of our gatherings. We said at the very beginning of this journey that it's the experience that matters--and what I know is that there has been shared experience all around. I do not see this "rite of passage" as some sort of silly "pass/fail" experience. What I want is for participants to be able to look back on both the group experience, and the ritual, as something of value and not just a some sort of box to check. We'll be talking about that this Sunday--directly and honestly. What I also know is that I've been grateful for the experience of talking about faith with this whole group.
You'll see below some revised details about what's ahead. In addition, I'm asking now for a particular response on your part. It's two part--one you can do right away, and another will take some time and thought.
First, please send me a simple reply to this email saying something clever like: "Got it, Bill. Read it. We'll be there on the 18th! And this Sunday too." I know email is effective in communicating information, but I also know that emails can be missed--and this is important enough that we need to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Secondly . . . well, this needs your time and thoughtfulness. Throughout this year our conversations have moved from God "inexplicable, awesome and nosy" to God "beside us, in love, through Jesus" and finally to God "within, inspiring passion." Obviously big stuff, and very personal. Now we'd like you to participate in some of that reflection by writing to your son or daughter your own thoughts on God Beyond, God Beside and God Within. A simple letter, an honest letter. Search for your honest beliefs in each of those areas. Don't worry about how you express it, or whether or not you have it "all worked out." In fact, part of the point here is that you don't have it worked out--but are still engaged in a thoughtful, personal journey of faith. Some of you will feel comfortable with just a few words. Others with lots of words. Just get them on paper. And then get them to me, by May 15th. We will be handing these, in sealed envelopes, to each kid after the Bishop confirms their own faith journey. And it's essential that each participant receive these reflections, from each of you. Please let me know if this creates concern or conflict.
OK, read on. You can expect one more update before the day arrives--but hopefully this helps.
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. We believe that this moment of affirmation and blessing can be unique for each participant, and at the same time connect them to each other and a broader community of faith
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, it's important to know that you received this and 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.