What is Confirmation?
At Covenant, students 6th-8th grades engage in a special time of study and instruction in preparation for a life of continuing education and growing relationship with God through Jesus Christ, for their personal affirmation of their baptismal vows, and for entrance into membership at Covenant Presbyterian Church.
In the early church candidates were instructed during Lent. On Easter they would make a public proclamation of Jesus as Lord, were baptized, and were accepted as members of the church as Christian disciples. Today, many are baptized as infants so the process of confirmation has taken on the role of allowing people to “confirm” the vows made for them at their baptism.
This is a process in which the confirmand will be instructed in the faith as they continue their faith journey. Confirmation is not just a series of classes. Confirmands will be fully engaged in the life of the church through worship, learning, growth, service, and nurture of community. Confirmands should emerge from their confirmation experience at the end of their 8th grade year equipped and prepared for a life of Christian discipleship and ready to profess their commitment to Jesus Christ and intention to engage in church membership at Covenant.
The confirmation experience involves:
- Spiritual Growth
The Confirmation program spans the years of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. All three grades will attend the Confirmation Retreats together (with the exception of the final 8th grade retreat). On Sunday mornings 6th graders will meet in the Echo 56 class room and the 7th and 8th graders will meet in the SEgue classroom.
What to Expect
Why Sunday morning? Holding class on Sunday mornings permits families to participate in Christian education experiences. Because worship is a critical aspect of the confirmation process, the Sunday morning time offers the best option to connect learning and participation in worship. Schedules can become very hectic for families with middle and high school students. Sunday morning offers a time normally reserved for family church activities.
The Sunday morning materials provide the crucial educational foundation for the young person’s budding walk with God and neighbor. Sunday mornings will focus on forming and strengthening what it means to be a maturing follower of Christ through study of Bible content, current events, exemplars of the faith tradition, examination of the practices of those who worship differently than us, and learning responsible and Christ-honoring approaches for studying Scripture.
There will be at minimum two retreats per year (usually fall and spring) and a third final retreat just for 8th graders the weekend before Pentecost. Retreats will generally be held at Covenant from 5:30 pm Friday until 5:00 pm Saturday but may also be on a Saturday from 9:30-3:30. The Confirmation Retreats are meant to augment the regular Sunday morning educational content for the middle school age, not replace it. The retreats will focus on what it means to identify as a Presbyterian follower of Christ through study of Presbyterian polity (how we govern ourselves), the confessions which inform our theology, a more in depth study of what Scripture is and the practice of responsible scriptural interpretation, history, and who we are in relationship to God and neighbor. The final 8th grade retreat for students completing the program will consist of a more in depth examination of several documents contained in the Book of Confessions which will then inform the group as they gather together all that they have learned and believe about God and craft a corporate statement of faith together. During the week between the 8th Grade Retreat and Pentecost the student will craft their own personal statement of faith.
Upon completion of the program the student will be eligible for confirmation which is held on Pentecost Sunday (which usually falls in June). The student will meet with a couple of Session members to celebrate their decision to confirm their baptismal vows and their intention to join the church. Following Sunday worship there will be a celebratory reception in Fellowship Hall.
Attendance of both the Retreats and Sunday mornings is crucial for your young person’s spiritual education. Students are expected to participate in the Confirmation Program with regular attendance at the various activities. This means regular attendance of classes, worship, Youth Group, Retreats, and special events. Unless the students are present, the objectives of the program cannot be accomplished.
Middle school age students are capable of learning that is challenging, intentional, and integrative. To short change their instruction would be a disservice to them and to the mission that God in Jesus Christ has given the church. The intended outcome of the Confirmation Program at Covenant is a young person who is knowledgeable about her or his faith, who is committed to Jesus Christ, and who is intentional about living a life of Christian discipleship. By the grace of God in Christ and through the cooperative efforts of students, parents, mentors, and staff, this outcome will be realized.