Friday, July 5, 2013

Chris' confirmation day

Back in May, Chris got confirmed at our church, Mission of the Atonement: A Community of Lutherans and Roman Catholics. Confirmation in our community has evolved from what it was when I was younger...I was confirmed at the end of ninth grade, after three years of attending monthly confirmation retreats. I have great memories of these retreats, which took place all over the state at various retreat centers, but not so much memory of the confirmation instruction itself with the pastor, alas!

My confirmation day, with my parents and sister (1979)

My confirmation class--many of whom I'm in touch nowadays on Facebook
(I sewed my dress myself--I'm the one in the middle with the green and white dress)
Because our church doesn't have as many young people as it did when I was growing up, confirmation doesn't happen every year. This year only two young people chose to be confirmed--Chris (sophomore in high school) and a lovely young woman named Quinn (who was a senior). What I loved about the way they approached confirmation was that it was about what each of these young people believed, not what the church was telling them to believe. 

So many young people drop out before they get confirmed, because they think they have to swallow the teachings of the church hook, line, and sinker (and in some churches, they do need to in order to be confirmed). That's why I believe the church needs to transform itself to retain these valuable young people who have so much to teach us. 

My sister and her family came down for the weekend of the confirmation, even though it was right after Mother's Day (two weeks in a row)! Most fun was that they surprised Chris--we all met at one his favorite restaurants, the Old Market Pub. It was fun to surprise him! Such a gift to have them all here--as my sister and her husband are Chris' godparents.

With his cousins at the pub

With our little big boy

Chris with my parents
The confirmation was a beautiful ceremony, made particularly special because Quinn was also baptized on that day. In addition, our special guests included the chaplain at Emanuel Hospital when Chris was in the NICU, Mary Myers and her husband Gerry, who were also present at Chris' baptism (along with many of his NICU nurses). 

Many years ago, our church started a wonderful tradition of each confirmand having a confirmation sponsor. They ask someone in the community who they admire and respect, and the sponsor might attend some confirmation sessions and spend one-on-one time with the confirmand. Chris and Quinn also wrote their own creeds to represent their own beliefs.

Quinn reading her creed
Quinn getting baptized

Chris talking about his confirmation sponsor, our friend Brad,
who also plays drums and loves music--
Chris is able to relate to him so well!

Chris reading his creed
Confirmation rite

Two cool drummers--Chris and Brad

With my cousin Tim and his family

With former chaplain Mary and her husband Gerry
She prayed over Chris many times during his worst NICU crises

Quinn and Chris with their confirmation teachers Dennis and Sue-Rae
At the far left is my dear friend April, who was Quinn's godmother
 and confirmation sponsor in one!

Quinn celebrating with her sister Brittany and her boyfriend

And with the coolest pastor in the world!

Chris and Quinn with Pastor Laurie

Chris with his aunt and uncle and cousins

With my wonderful son, just around the same place
 where my own confirmation photo was taken (at the top)!
And the most wonderful memory of that day was Chris' creed, which brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it!

I believe that God is not confined to one gender
But rather what we shape
God to be.

I believe in equality for all people
And equal rights for all races.
I believe that violence is unjust
And hope for a brighter day
And some peace on earth.

I believe that religions can be celebrated together.
In marriage equality
And gay rights.
I see no problem whatsoever with these.

I believe that life moves too fast
Even though I'm only 16.
I believe that a learning difference shouldn't matter.
That words like "retard" and "gay" get tossed around
I believe that we can cut back on that.

I believe in life
And love
The little things in life.
And possible humility.

And a loving community. 

So proud of my one-pound-six-ounce micropreemie wonderful teenager!

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