Over the past twelve months, thirteen Confirmands and their mentors have gathered to have conversations about Christian faith. Their conversations come from an adapted curriculum called Way to Live: Christian Practices for Teenagers. The goal of these conversations is to become more aware of God’s presence and our response to it in everyday life. This is a significant commitment, and I want to express my gratitude to everyone involved.
First, our mentors come from a variety of backgrounds. Many are members of this church, however some are not. While their faith backgrounds are diverse, they are unified in their commitment to be supportive of their confirmand coming into membership with our church, and our unique values. I am so thankful for the ways they have guided and shepherded our young people. Well done mentors!
Second, I should say thanks to all the parents! You have managed complex schedules, offered rides, and prioritized this experience among a lot of competing interests! Getting to know your confirmand has truly been a gift, and I hope it’s the beginning of a number of years of growing and serving together.
Third, I want to say thanks to our unbelievably dedicated volunteer; Confirmation Coordinator Phil Hornseth. He has taught classes in my absence, helped prepare for events, and displayed a deep Christ like care for our confirmation ministry. We all owe Phil a huge thank-you for his steadfast service and commitment. Phil will be retiring from this coordinator position this year, so well done good and faithful servant!
Lastly, I want to share portions of the faith statements. I encourage you to enjoy the variety of places our young disciples speak from. Have hope that God is working through both them and us as we refine the ways in which we live in this world together. After reading them, ask yourself:
What would your faith statement include beyond God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Church? What concepts would be important to define and include or leave out? Where can you stand firm in a specific belief, and where might you be unsure and have doubt?
Grace and Peace,
Beliefs about God
I have faith that God shows me his presence every day at school, when I am playing sports, or when I am just out in nature. I have faith that God won’t judge your mistakes. I have faith that God is around me at all times.
I believe God is always watching over me and guiding me through my journey of life. I believe God put every single one of us on this earth because he has a plan for each of us. I think that God helps us overcome obstacles and hard times in our life where we may have not made the right decision.
The definition of love is “an intense feeling of deep affection.” We can feel God’s love for us. We can feel the deep affection he gives us. He loves us no matter our race. No matter our gender. He loves the difference between each and every human being. I return the love to him by wearing a cross signifying my love for him.
One day we were talking about what God looks like to us. He looks different to everyone. He could be any shape or size, and sometimes you can see him in people you meet. I see him in people all the time and those people are the ones who I hold close to me.
Beliefs about Jesus
I want to treat others like Jesus would, with unconditional respect and kindness.
I believe Jesus was here to teach everyone the right from the wrong and teach people how to treat one another equally. He showed us to care for everyone no matter their status. We see and hear Jesus’s work every day. For example, people volunteer their time at homeless shelters and food pantries to help people that don’t have enough to care for themselves. These acts are acts of Jesus.
I believe that Jesus is one of the most selfless people to ever exist. He died on the cross for all of our sins and to make our lives better. He shows and gives examples of how people should act. I think that he was a real person and he could feel emotion. I think that Jesus is God’s son, but I can also see him in God. He had gone through so much in his life and he always seemed to focus on poor people and the people that needed the most help so he could help them. People should act like him by helping the unfortunate.
When I think of Jesus I think of a forgiving person because when people did him wrong, he forgave instead of violence. Jesus taught us that violence in return to violence leads to more violence. When you forgive and move on, nobody gets hurt.
Beliefs about the Holy Spirit
I think that The Spirit is in everything. I think this because The Creator created it and everything The Creator created has The Spirit in it. I don’t think I have to ask for The Spirit to be a part of me I think I was born with it as a part of me. I feel the connection to The Spirit when I am in nature, during family gatherings, and near my family’s original home in Michigan.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, and I believe that God is always with me. I believe that the presence of God is beside me and will be throughout my life. But I especially believe that God is with me in the times that I need him the most.
The Holy Spirit. What is the Holy Spirit? Well I believe the Holy Spirit is like the force from Star Wars. For example, in the movie they describe the force in a certain way, and I think of the Holy Spirit the same way, a positive force that flows through everything. Unlike the force, I don’t believe the power of the Holy Spirit can be limited to certain people. I think the Holy Spirit is with everyone no matter who it is or what they’ve been through.
Beliefs about the Church
I believe that the church is a place that Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit are represented in one community.
For me, our church has been a great place to make new friends, not just in my confirmation group but also through other activities such as the bell choir. To me what defines our church is a safe group of friends and family all drawn together by God to love and support each other, and to grow closer with one another.
My church is one of the safest places to be. When I’m there no one judges, everyone is so carefree and sweet. When I’m there, I feel loved and I know I can always count on the people who are there. My church’s saying is the saying that everyone should live by. “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey you are welcome here…” I love what my church stands for and the people who make up the congregation.
I believe the church is a place where people go to celebrate their love for God and the Holy Spirit. Church is a place people come because they feel welcome and accepted for who they are no matter what.
Other important Beliefs
I have faith that science has a place among God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Church. I may not know exactly how they are woven together, but I know they are because something inside me tells me so.
I believe that there is a heaven where people go once they have passed, but I also believe that God gives people second chances.
I believe that God created this world and I can feel him with me the most when I’m in nature and see all the beautiful things that he has given us. I feel this when I am at places like High Cliff or Door County.
I feel like God speaks to me in dreams, through people and other ways that you might not expect. God is everywhere and in everything.