5/2/2015 • Confirmation • Written by Pam Shamblin
At FUMC Richardson, the sixth grade is when our “tweens” experience nine months of study, memory work, service and fun - it is the time when ideas and concepts are expanded and a new, less childlike faith journey is embarked upon. At this juncture in their lives, the students begin to learn the mature and faith based concept of “standing firm” in their faith.
YOU know what it’s like to see a child or youth’s face when an idea or concept is grasped? If you’ve been a part of nurturing a mind, then you know what it feels like to open your heart and your soul to share yourself and your knowledge with a child.
The teachers learn along with our students and this year’s teaching team has been no exception. Each week we gathered together for music, an overview of the day’s lesson, announcements and took care of housekeeping items before breaking into three smaller classes for an in depth lesson. Our curriculum, CREDO, used by United Methodist Confirmands all over the United States, led us from the book of Genesis to our present day United Methodist Church, learning about our Old Testament heritage before transitioning into the New Testament understanding of our Christian Faith. We lingered on who we are as United Methodists, our founder John Wesley, the sacraments and how we can use the Wesleyan Quadrilateral in our daily lives.
Credo means, “I Believe” and that is the emphasis we use with our sixth graders, as they begin to learn, understand, experience and claim for their own what they believe. A Credo is an idea or set of beliefs that guides the actions of a person or group. Do any of us ever complete our faith journeys? I think not, for that is what is so exciting about the Faith, it is a journey, through beauty, history, stories of people struggling to live a life becoming to God. It is our journey, our story, never ending. Confirmation is not a “one-shot theological inoculation”. Instead, Confirmation is the continuation of a journey that begins at baptism and continues throughout the rest of one’s lifetime.
You, the congregation of FUMC Richardson, are intrinsically a part of this experience, even though you may not have taught them or even know any of the students. You model before these emerging youth, a faith and a lifestyle that becomes the life of a Christian. When you walk down the halls of our church, lead a meeting, speak from the pulpit, make music, serve refreshments, volunteer for mission trips, help with Body and Soul, usher, greet, bake bread, serve communion - anything that makes our life at FUMC Richardson and beyond warm and hospitable, you are being watched. Never ever underestimate the observation powers of a child or youth. They want to see you stand up for justice and peace, proclaiming the Gospel and your part in it. They long to be a part of something meaningful, balanced and open. They will sit at your feet (or you at theirs) to talk about their faith, their searching, their questions, their fears and their concerns. They are not shy and they do expect YOU to participate in some way in showing them how you do “The Gospel”. That is the part you will play with these kiddos, those who have gone before and those who come after.
We at FUMC Richardson are blessed beyond all knowing to have a sixth grade confirmation class of sixty-five. You are right in the midst of this experience, you represent the “Church” to them. As these students grow and mature we all have the opportunity to be a part of the “molding and mentoring” of our future. Praise God that we are given the gift of opening up the story book of who we are as Christians.
This article was published in our latest First Connections Magazine - Check out the full issue here!
To see more photos of the Confirmation Class, visit the FUMCR Photo Gallery: