May 9, 2012
How do you know there is a God?
Why are you a member of Plymouth?
Why do bad things happen to good people?
[it’s ok to say, “I don’t know”]
For the second year the Confirmation Class held its Spring Retreat at Pilgrim Firs concurrently with the All Church Retreat. This year saw new levels of intergenerational engagement. The youth engaged elder members in play, in the breaking of the bread, in worship, and in the shaping of Plymouth’s future. Scripture speaks of the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence found in patience, self-control, kindness and joy. There was undeniable joy as generations of Plymouth members and friends dove into improv and ice breakers. The 7th and 8th grade confirmands broke bread with the wider community and cracked open challenging questions of life and faith. It fed my heart to see youth, and children, add their voice to worship, to prayer, and to discernment. The confirmands sat alongside elder members to dream together of the possibilities in worship, art, and new ministries for youth and young adults.
Of course, the confirmands also needed some time amongst themselves. We invested time for canoe rides and capture the flag as well as other activities aimed at deepening relationships. In between the intergenerational activities and the team building, the 8th graders dove into the creation of their faith statements. Capturing their mix of thoughts, feelings, and experiences of faith into a concise statement for all to read is a daunting task. During the weekend we were blessed with several tools to assist them. The Confirmation mentors carved out time to offer feedback as the confirmands tried on various analogies and images to flesh out their faith. The confirmands gathered in small groups to share portions of their statements with their peers who offered affirmations and questions for further development.
One of my favorite tools from the weekend was the question envelopes for the wider church. Each of the confirmands wrote a question that mattered to them on the outside of an envelope (along with the reminder that it’s OK to say, “I don’t know”). The questions, like the three posed above, plumbed the mystery of faith. These envelopes were placed in the dining hall and everyone was invited to write their response on a small card and place it in the envelope. On Saturday night the confirmands dove into their now plump question envelopes, and those of their peers, to hear the many and varied voices from the wider church. It was a beautiful example of life giving membership, of journeying together, of the fullness found in the body of Christ.
The beautiful intergenerational engagement of this past retreat weekend stoked my excitement for the coming celebration of Confirmation Sunday and the continuing adventure of the life of faith.
Brandon Duran, Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries
THE CHURCH BUILDING IS CLOSED
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