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Main | The Bread Brigade »

Not Your Parent's Confirmation Class

by Frank Canino

Each Sunday at the far end of the building, there is a gathering of youth meeting for Confirmation class. The room is easily located given the noise and laughter taking place inside. You might quickly question, “What possible bible lesson is being taught?” Well, as the kids would eagerly report, we often take detours that foster their observations, questions, and comments, as they munch on chocolate frosted donuts. It’s always chocolate frosted! 

This year, our class is predominantly made up of girls, which has not been the norm over the past four years. Not like there is anything wrong with that! Regardless of the mix, I am continually  impressed by their ability to challenge and make class lessons relevant in this age of smart phones, Snapchat and Instagram. I have come to appreciate the kids having their cell phones at the ready when stuck on the meaning of a biblical event or verse. They are also my “techies,” capable of making any electronic gadget work! Many a lesson plan has been saved by their continual reminders that I have to press the “on” button!  

Each year, I am continually reminded that working with teens defies the best of curriculums. While they appreciate learning in many ways, no lesson goes as planned. They just don’t go in a straight line! Their willingness to challenge ideas or beliefs is contagious. They are a lively group whether sharing ways to make a banner, collecting food stuffs, or participating in a church related event. Somehow out of chaos, they manage to surprise and go the extra mile! Yet, it is the unscripted moments when they engage in supporting classmates that leaves a lasting imprint.  These are very personal and touching moments. Each year, we have had classmates who developed serious medical illnesses, struggled with depression, experienced family turmoil, had social difficulties, or dealt with nagging school challenges.  Whenever this has occurred, their spirit of generosity and compassion has provided fellow classmates with a vital respite from hard times.  While I am the last person to relate things to “divine intervention,” something is at work here! Seeing this fuels my commitment to participating in our Confirmation class along with my co-teacher Bob Sendling.  

 So why provide Confirmation class? We believe that preteens and teens are always searching for what matters. Our lessons stress that everything we do matters because as author and Christian minister Rob Bell has said, “God cares about this life, in this world, right now.” Confirmation class encourages good things to happen because “God wants your heart. People of love, compassion, peace, forgiveness, and hope” who strive to do the right thing. It is the faith that God has in all of us. It is a pleasant reminder that we are planting seeds to have a relationship with God that bears fruit now and later.  

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