This Sunday, Tarrytown United Methodist Church will welcome twenty-seven newly confirmed members into our church congregation at the 9:30 a.m. sanctuary worship service.
Although we are only celebrating this achievement for one day, we have spent the last thirty-five weeks building towards this point—thirty-five weeks of learning, growing, stretching, and maturing physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
At the beginning of each year, I ask the students what the difference is between “confirming” and “conforming.”
While the answers can be diverse and creative, they always reach the conclusion that confirming something is to make a decision for yourself and stand by it, whereas to conform is to have a decision made for you that you simply go along with. This is why Confirmation is such an amazing class!
In class, we cover different topics every week and present questions that may not have definitive answers, such as: Is God Male or Female?, Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?, and Can You Believe in Evolution and Still be a Christian? As a class we discuss scripture, our opinions and biases, and we debate opposing views. All of this work slowly causes us to think about, decide, and confirm our own beliefs.
As you may imagine, a full class of sixth graders debating the thousand-year-old questions of the church can start off a little rocky, but as time passes, their confidence and faith begins to grow. They become more patient and willing to hear the other side of the conversation before sharing their viewpoint.
At the end of the day, there will always be issues or beliefs that we will never come to agreement on, but the steadfast point we come back to each Sunday is our shared faith that Jesus is our savior, and we are loved by God!