Confirmation, in the United Methodist church, is a two fold process. It is a process in which young people learn about the church, it's history, and John Wesley. He was the founder of the movement that later formed the UM church. It is also a time to draw closer to Jesus and decide if you want to follow His ways, His teachings, His example of a God filled life. While there is teaching about the church that occurs, the most important part of the entire process is the drawing closer to God and embracing Him, while being embraced by Him, the church, the community, mentors and parents. The big girl participated this year and I am so very proud of her. I was honored to be asked to facilitate the classes that occured before the retreat. I learned so much and was ecstatic to pass that on to others.
The classes themselves took place at our church and consisted of the confirmands (we had 5 participating this year), their mentors, and their parents. We talked about the holy times and events that the church recognizes like Easter, Lent, Advent, and Christmas. Each of these times represents an important spiritual time frame, not just a holiday or day off of work.
The retreat is a time for the confirmands to seek Jesus, to be pulled closer to His side, to be loved by Him. We arrived Friday night and got settled. We were joined by three girls from our Associate Pastor's husband's church. He is also a pastor. We welcomed the addition to our group and hope to support them on the day of their confirmation. After a leader's meeting, we met for worship, small group time and then to bed. The big girl and one of the boys were the only ones to stay overnight out of the confirmands. I stayed as well as our Associate Pastor, heretofore referred to as PC. That's what we call her.
The big day was Saturday. We all met for breakfast then worship. The pastor conducting the worship services was amazing. She related so well to the youth. We had kids from all over the state and several groups that were local. After worship, we met for another small group time. Then it was off to the pool, then lunch. After lunch, we met with some of the other groups and were taken to an obstacle course. This was not an average obstacle course. It was designed to make the kids work together and support each other. They had to do each obstacle together, listening while sometimes not talking. They were incredible with their teamwork and ingenuity and we were so impressed by them.
We had some free time after that. The big girl went with a friend and some parents to a local Christian book store while hubby and I decided to follow the Path of Silence. It wasn't very silent since there was also a father/daughter camp going on. The girls were all 8 and under, many of them under. Silence isn't part of their vocabulary. But it was fun to watch some overly indulgent fathers try to harness the spirit and energy of their rambunctious daughters. Hubby and I laughed at most of them.
We met for small group after that, then dinner and worship. There was cookie time at 10. The camp director hosted that event. The kids were playing four square and the camp director, Joel, proceeded to school them all and win. The kids thought they were so good, but they got played and decimated by a 35 year old man. Take that, you whipper snappers. It was funny and the parents and chaperones were very impressed and inspired.
Breakfast in the morning, then worship and time to go. I got to meet the parents of the three girls that had joined our group and I made sure to tell them how good their girls had been. It was an experience that has left me not ready to share about the details. That will come later when I have a chance to process all of it. For now, you will have to settle for the frame, and the structure will be built soon. I will also post some pictures of the big girl very much out of her comfort zone, striving to be better, to do things that scared her, taking a leap of faith. All of that needs to be processed before we share.
Thank you to those of you who prayed for her and for us. I am so thankful for the support, and so is she. Look for pictures and details maybe tomorrow.
Have a great day!