Based on conversations with church families we learned that while there is a desire for a confirmation course at First Congregational UCC (FCUCC), there are concerns about the ability of 21st century families and youth to commit to a traditional course with months of non-church day meetings and classes. So rather than not hold confirmation, we re-thought confirmation and decided to try a model similar to on-line education, where some of the work takes place in the brick and mortar building, and some of it can be done at home at the student’s own pace. Consequently the plan is to provide: a mixture of lay and clergy classes during Sunday school; time with the pastor; involvement in worship; exposure to experiences of God in other places; exposure to justice issues; community service work; home study; and connections with an adult mentor.
The FCUCC Confirmation Course is meant to be both challenging and fun while providing opportunities for fellowship, connections with adults and clergy, and education about God, the Bible, Church history, Christian values and the Christian faith. In short, this is an opportunity for teenagers to participate in a new uniquely designed confirmation class which allows a combination of at church, at home and out in the community activities to add up to completion of confirmation as each teen and their family’s schedules permit.
What we’ve done is create a list of fifteen areas of assignment which any youth in grade 8 to 12 may sign up and commit to satisfactorily complete. A youth studying for confirmation is called a “confirmand.” Each confirmand and their parent/guardian must sign the “Commitment to be a Confirmand” page at the end of the booklet, tear it out and provide it to the pastor. All assignments need to be performed after the pastor receives the signed “Commitment to be a Confirmand.” Each confirmand will be assigned an adult mentor for help, guidance and a new adult connection in the community and for a minimum of five meetings. Confirmands and parents/guardians are responsible for accurately keeping track of progress through the program, making sure all forms and requirements are satisfactorily completed to the pastor’s satisfaction before a confirmand is invited to a meeting with the Diaconate and a confirmation ceremony.