By Melissa Nelms
Every Confirmation class takes on its own unique personality because of the unique giftedness of the mentors and the unique personalities and perspectives of the students. This year is no different. This year’s Confirmation class has been a joy and a blessing to work with.
My gratitude for the adult and youth mentors who have sacrificed and invested their time in guiding our confirmands through this journey of faith and discernment is without measure. For the third year in a row James Rose, Cathy Rose and Bill Waugh provided guidance and leadership for our students. Ann Waugh and John Hanneman joined the team for their second year and John’s wife Julie Hanneman came on for her first year leading our older Confirmation girls. They have poured into our students week after week teaching, answering questions, encouraging conversation, praying, helping memorize scripture, serving alongside them during community service opportunities, etc. These mentors don’t simply tell our students how to follow Jesus, they live it out and model it beautifully.
At the end of Confirmation last year, we had three students come forward and ask to mentor the next class. They were so moved and enriched by their personal experience that they wanted to be part of that for the next group of students and help mentor and guide them through the journey. On the day they were confirmed in March 2017, they made a commitment to follow Jesus and share their prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness with our community here at Acts 2 and they’ve done just that. Hailey Grimmett, Gabby Lillis and Noah Lillis have been great examples for this year’s Confirmation class. They have shown up nearly every week since September and led side-by-side with their adult co-leaders. They have even led when the adult leaders have had to be absent, and they have done it with grace and maturity. Their example and impact upon this Confirmation class have been invaluable.
As for our Confirmands, they are some of the most thoughtful and perceptive students we have ever had. They have truly challenged themselves this year and used this Confirmation journey as a discernment process for refining and claiming their faith. Again and again, we have discussed the weight of this decision to claim and follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior. They have gotten really comfortable asking the difficult questions and seeking the guidance of their mentors, pastors and the Holy Spirit as they search for truth and answers. I am beyond proud of the commitment and investment they have made. This was probably one of the busiest group of students we have ever worked with and despite their busy academic and athletic schedules they prioritized their Confirmation experience and have seen amazing growth through the process.
This class has also been unique in that it was our largest, with 35 students to be confirmed on Sunday, March 25. This class had the greatest diversity in age with seven senior high students (ninth – 12th) and nine older junior high students (seventh and eighth) participating this year alongside our new sixth graders. I think this diversity in age brought great perspective to the class as the older students shared insight and experience with the younger students and vice versa. This class had the greatest number of guest families we have had the joy of bringing into membership, with seven families joining this year through the Confirmation experience and the good work of Chantelle Foster. And the most exciting part I think is that before these students share their Confirmation vows together on Confirmation Sunday they will celebrate in the baptism of 14 of their classmates and welcome them officially into the body of Christ.
Thank you, Church, for lifting all of these persons in prayer over the past seven months. On behalf of the students, their families, their mentors and our staff we are grateful and excited to present these 35 students before you as they confirm their faith and join us in our walk to follow Jesus. We invite you to worship with us on Sunday, March 25 at 10:45 a.m. as we stand alongside them and help them take that next big step in faith.