On the last Sunday in October, it is typical for our 10th graders to participate in the Confirmation (Affirmation of Baptism) worship service. This service involves the 10th graders reading statements of faith that they have written and gives them an opportunity to take up the promises of their baptisms for themselves. In preparation for this event, our Confirmation program begins in their 7th grade year. Confirmation is made up of many components: Class Time, Retreats, Mentoring, and Faith Work. All of this culminates in the writing of a faith statement which will be read for the congregation in the fall of their 10th grade year.
Class Time (7th and 8th Grade)
This is the biggest part of the Confirmation program. Most Sundays and Wednesdays during the school year will have Confirmation class. On Wednesdays, class is held on the third floor of the Education Wing after school from 3:30-4:30. On Sundays, class is held during the Sunday School hour (9:40-10:35) on the first floor of the Education Wing. Attendance is expected at both classes, though Wednesday attendance is especially emphasized. The content of the Sunday class varies from year to year, and depends partly on the interests of the students. Wednesday class is on a two-year cycle teaching Bible (Old and New Testaments) and the parts of the Small Catechism (Ten Commandments, Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, Sacraments). Students are invited to be honest and open in their engagement with the class material and with each other.
Retreats (7th-9th Grade)
Retreats are another important piece of our Confirmation program. Usually, our youth will attend the Synod Junior High Youth Gathering in the fall, and we will lead our own retreat in the winter. The topics of these retreats vary from year to year, but they are always a time of bonding for the students.
Mentoring (8th and 9th Grade)
Beginning in the fall of their 8th grade year, students will select an adult mentor to accompany them in their Confirmation journey. Students and Mentors are expected to meet at least once per month during the school year, including a Mentor Meeting led by church staff every two months. The goal of the mentoring program is to provide the student with a safe relationship to explore questions of faith in everyday life, but adult mentors also benefit from these relationships.
Faith Work (7th-9th Grade)
Every year, students are expected to complete sermon notes, service hours (signed off by an adult), and Bible reading tracks. The specific number of each of these vary depending on age, but they are an important part of learning what it means to live as a person of faith. It is recommended that students work on these things throughout the year rather than waiting until the end.