By Ashley Hewitt Roger, Children's Ministry Director, Wells UMC
Photo right: Wells UMC youth display their stoles at Camp Lake Stephens during the Confirmation Retreat. Each youth decorated his or her stole with scripture, images, and words to remember that God has called each of us individually into a relationship. Photo credit Wells United Methodist Church.
"Her father told her, 'What you promise when you are confirmed is not that you will believe this forever. What you promise when you are confirmed is that this is the story you will wrestle with forever.'" (Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday)
This was the quote used during closing worship at Camp Lake Stephens during the UMC Confirmation Retreat held at the end of January. I sat with tears in my eyes as I thought about its significance for not only our youth but for every single one of us who has wrestled with some aspect of our Christian faith.
I pray our youth never feel guilty about having questions, big or small. The reality is that life's messiness leads most of us to have deep questions about who God is and what it means to be a God-follower.
Over the course of about 36 hours, our youth attended five different workshops on Scripture, Methodist History, Grace, Sacraments, and Missions. We also had a chance to participate in four worship services, which gave our youth the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and experience praise and worship-style music. While they actively participated, the definite consensus was that they really like the music at Wells.
I wish you could have seen our kids in action. They were shining examples of kindness and leadership. James Martin, I were so proud to claim them as our own.
In mid-May, we will have a church-wide Confirmation Sunday where these youth plus any youths who have not been confirmed, will be recognized in the Confirmation liturgy of The United Methodist Church. Please continue to support these young people in their growing faith. Encourage them to ask the difficult questions, and ask questions of them. The beauty of faith is that each of us has something unique to offer and wisdom and insight that's not bound by years.