We celebrated Confirmation on Sunday. We Confirmed 6 youth, who organized and led our worship service. I found this class to be extremely inspiring. They each participated in this process thoughtfully and genuinely. Each of them shared meaningful statements of faith. These statements included thoughts on how church is a place where you always know you are accepted and OK. Another youth shared that he feels renewed by the Spirit each Sunday. One youth expressed his deep gratitude for all of those in the congregation who nurtured him as he has grown up, including special thanks to his Sunday School teacher. They each impressed all of us with their vulnerability in sharing their faith and thoughts. Many adults reflected that they would have difficulty finding the courage to do so in such a personal way.
One noteable aspect of this class was the diversity in their church experience. Three of them were children of long-time church members. One was a child of a new family that has a deep history of church involvement. Two more were children of new church members who did not have the Sunday School and church faith formation experience of the other youth. Faith was newer to them. This difference in experience created a vibrancy in discussion, a vulnerability in being able to acknowledge what they don’t know or what they are questioning.
I’m reflecting on this is a broader sense in how welcoming people at all stages of faith development, welcoming people who are questioning, or people who are quite certain they don’t share the common beliefs of the congregation, brings a dynamic quality to church life. They enable conversations, ask questions long-time church members feel they can’t ask or wouldn’t have thought of. They deepen and broaden the community’s understanding of God, and show us the joy of new and growing faith. I’m grateful to each of these people who have crossed my path.