By Pat Centner
Special to the Advocate
Darrell Whitaker, executive director of
“Since confirmation is such an important part of every young Methodist’s life,” said Whitaker, “we believed that a retreat providing meaningful worship sessions and creative workshops would help the kids attending have a deeper appreciation for the confirmation experience.”
The event, aimed at students in grades 6-8, was held Feb. 3-5.
The weekend’s program consisted of five worship sessions and five workshops. Each worship session focused on a different theme pertaining to confirmation.
The speakers included Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, the Rev. Jim Matheny of Grenada First United Methodist Church, the Rev. Claire Dobbs of Oxford-University UMC in Oxford, the Rev. Bill McAlilly of Tupelo First UMC and the Rev. Eddie Spencer of Alta Woods UMC in Jackson.
Shellie Ross, youth director at Oxford-University UMC, said the 12 kids who attended from her church had a great time. “Not only did they have fun,” she remarked, “but all the information stuck with them. After the retreat, we asked them questions about the different sessions, and they remembered what they had heard. It was all age-appropriate, too, which was especially helpful.”
In addition to the worship sessions, the five workshops were well-received. They included:
Emily Meadows, a sixth-grader who attended the retreat with students from Oxford-University UMC, said she enjoyed all the sessions, but was especially impacted by the words of Rev. Eddie Spencer, a former inmate.
“He was my favorite because he turned his life around,” said Meadows. “Even if you think your life is ruined, you can still change if you let God take over.”
Eddie Willis, director of the Wesley Foundation at