1.  WHAT IS CONFIRMATION?
Confirmation is all about baptism. It is a period of instruction and faith-formation, usually during a young person's 7th and 8th grade years, culminating with the Rite of Affirmation of Baptism.  Through this program, young women and men publicly affirm the gift of their baptism and become adult members of the church.  Additionally, they pledge to "walk in newness of life," as the church prays for the Holy Spirit to continue to guide them in their faith journey.

Community is a critical dimension of the baptismal life. Confirmation students (hereafter called "confirmands") learn together in small groups under the guidance of an adult mentor, or guide. In these small groups the confirmands reflect on lessons, discuss difficult questions of faith, pray together, serve each other and their neighbors, and generally have a good time.  

Parents and guardians, you are most important teacher of faith to your son or daughter!  The church takes the responsibility to "form" young people in the Christian faith seriously, but remember that faith begins at home.  Families who live out faith in a meaningful way--through worship, prayer, service and fellowship--will instill that faith in their children’s lives in a way that church programs can never do.

The Church's role is to support you in the promises you made to your child at their baptism, so that, in the words of the liturgy, “they may lead godly lives until the day of Jesus Christ.” 

2. CURRICULUM
Confirmation instruction at Redeemer is a two-year curriculum.  Martin Luther’s Small Catechism forms the basis. During their 7th and 8th grade years, the youth cover the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the sacraments, as well as a review (in Sunday School) of Old Testament and New Testament Bible. 

The cycle is as follows:
2016-2017    Ten Commandments, Lutheran Theology, Sacraments
2017-2018    
Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, Lutheran Theology

3. TUESDAY NIGHT GATHERINGS
Gatherings are held on the 2nd, 4th and (sometimes) the 5th Tuesday evenings (see the calendar for the complete schedule) and are team-led by Pastor Kildea and Carol Kitchin. Gatherings include worship, prayers, a learning presentation, activities, games and skits.  Confirmands are expected to participate in all Tuesday Night gatherings.  

4. SMALL GROUPS
Everyone in the Confirmation program will belong to a small group.  Confirmands are assigned to a small group of 4 to 6 of their peers, facilitated by an adult guide.  Small Group time is a part of each Tuesday Evening Gathering, a time of reflection upon the lesson, mutual sharing of "highs and lows," and general conversation around topics of faith and life.  Small Groups will also be encouraged to find additional time for service and/or fellowship outside of Tuesday gatherings.

5. PARENT FORUMS
On several Tuesday evenings throughout the year, we will be holding parent forums concurrent with  the Tuesday Night Gathering.  Parents are encouraged to stick around for a facilitated discussion on matters of faith, life, and parenting.  

6. PASTOR CONFERENCES
8th grade confirmands will be expected to meet with the Pastor for a one-on-one conference during the school year. Details on scheduling will be forthcoming.

7.  SUNDAY SCHOOL
Sunday School is part of the "whole" program of Christian formation; confirmands are expected to participate.  (See note under "expectations.")

8.  WORSHIP
Worship is central to the Christian faith and life. It is expected that Confirmation families will worship regularly.   The earlier 8:30 service is an option every week; at the later 10:15 service time, Family Worship Days are held monthly. 

Confirmands will be expected to experience different forms of worship during the year, such as the "traditional" 8:30 a.m. liturgy, the 10:15 a.m. "contemporary" service, and special services for Advent and Lent; for this purpose, a worship log will be provided to account for attendance at these services. Confirmands will also be expected to complete 8 worship notes throughout the course of the Confirmation year. Worship Notes forms can be downloaded here. 

9.  SERVICE
Serving others is a vital part of the Christian life, and confirmands are expected to be engaged with the servant-life of the Redeemer community. 

IN-CHURCH SERVICE
Confirmands serve in worship, usually as acolytes (attendants for the traditional liturgy) or as worship assistants or lay readers during the 10:15 a.m. contemporary service. (Training for acolytes will be scheduled in late September and early October.) 

SMALL GROUP SERVICE PROJECT
Small groups will engage in service to others through a servant project, conceived and executed by the groups themselves. 

INDIVIDUAL SERVICE HOURS
In addition to these service opportunities, confirmands will be expected to account for at least 5 hours of service time on their own.  Service can include community service, or additional service opportunities within the church.  (Participation in fund-raising projects does not count.)  A log is provided in their student folders; an adult Confirmation leader will need to sign off on service hours. 

10.  FELLOWSHIP
Alpha League is the companion program to the Confirmation program. In Alpha League, 7th and 8th graders have opportunities for fun and service.  

11.  RETREATS
There are several opportunities for our young people to experience faith in a deeper (and frankly more fun) way.  Confirmands will be encouraged to participate in any or all of the following:  
         Confirmation Camp (at Camp Crossroads, July 2017.)
 "Among the Wolves," NJ Synod Jr. High Retreat. (usually mid-November.)
 Redeemer Ski Retreat at Camelback Ski Resort (usually in early February)
 Class Retreats at the Kitchin's Boathouse on Lake Hopatcong. 

12. TEXTS & MATERIALS
We will be using the Here We Stand Confirmation curriculum. A Confirmation folder will be prepared for all confirmands.  The folder, along with a Bible, should be brought with them to the Tuesday Night Gatherings. 

13.  LEARNING GOALS
What will confirmands be learning in confirmation?   The basic learning material consists of the following: 
  • Confirmands will know verbatim and from memory these basic texts: Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. 
  • Confirmands will have a basic understanding of these texts based on Luther’s explanations in the Small Catechism and be able to summarize them. 
  • Confirmands will have a basic understanding of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, based upon the corresponding chapters in the Small Catechism. 
  • Confirmands will have a basic understanding of the salvation story from the Bible, and they will be able to locate in Scripture the more important parts of the story. 
In addition, confirmands will regularly practice the discipline of theological conversation as they begin to wrestle with issues, problems, and the complexities of faith in our world. 

14.  AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON EXPECTATIONS
Confirmation is different than most other activities in which our kids are involved.  Many activities are "merit-based"; expectations are clear and direct, and if participants fail to meet the expectations they fail to advance (as would be the case in scouting, for example) or remain on the team and play (i.e. sports.)  There is a fair degree of pressure built into these merit-based activities.  

The Christian life, on the other hand, is grace-based; no matter what, God loves you, and even if you shun all involvement in church activities God always welcomes you back with open arms.  This is one of the reasons that when church activities are pitted against other activities, church activities tend to lose out.  Church will take you back if you don't show up; your team probably won't.

Confirmation ministry is decidedly grace-based.  But because it does a young person no good to be pressured into faith, we do well to be thoughtful about expectations.  We understand that there are many expectations placed upon our young people; these expectations are set high enough to (hopefully) inspire deeper engagement and exposure to the life of faith, but not so high as to be a source of anxiety.   

Please see the Pastor for questions and/or concerns regarding expectations. 

15.  EXPECTATIONS
  1. Have Fun.  We expect the kids to enjoy coming to Confirmation activities.  
  2. Basic Kindness and Respect.  We expect all participants to conduct themselves appropriately and respectfully in all Confirmation activities.  We will be establishing covenants for large- and small-group gatherings, in order to give greater detail to these expectations.
  3. Attendance is expected at Tuesday evening Gatherings.  The Pastor may assign make-up assignments if warranted due to excessive absences.
  4. Sunday School is considered part of the Confirmation "whole"; attendance is also expected.  Since availability on Sunday mornings can be notoriously difficult and complicated for some families, we are instituting a point system to track attendance.  One class = one point.  15 points are required.  A list of alternate activities, with corresponding point values, will be provided for those requiring make-up work.  
  5. Please be on time!  Confirmation Gatherings at Redeemer will begin promptly at 7:30 PM. Please enter through the Life Center doors.  Doors will open for basketball, etc. at 7:15, so plan to be here early. 
  6. Worship.  It is hoped that families will worship together as often as possible.  In addition to regular Sunday services, confirmands are especially encouraged to worship at special times in the church year, such as Advent, Lent and Holy Week.  A worship log will be included in their folder.  Confirmands must attend at least one of each of the following:  an 8:30 Holy Communion liturgy, a 10:15 service, an Advent or a Lenten Midweek service, and a Holy Week service.
  7. Pastoral Conferences.  All Confirmands are required to meet with the Pastor at least once during the program year.  The Pastor reserves to right to request additional conferences with individual confirmands, if circumstances warrant.
  8. Worship Notes.  Confirmands must complete 8 worship notes over the course of the Confirmation year (September through May.)    
  9. Service.  Confirmands are expected to be available to serve as acolytes during the 8:30 a.m. service, or to serve as youth worship assistants at the 10:15 a.m. service.  They are also expected to participate in group-oriented service projects.  We ask that all confirmands complete at least 5 hours of service on their own; a service log will be included in their Confirmation folder.

16.  A NOTE ON CONFLICTING ACTIVITIES
Family life is highly stressful, and we understand that our young people are involved in many very compelling activities, some of which may conflict with Confirmation.  If you are concerned about a potential conflict, please speak to the Pastor.  In most cases, we can work something out if another activity poses an ongoing conflict.  

17.  INCLEMENT WEATHER
In the event of inclement weather, a cancellation notice will be posted on both the church's voicemail announcement and the Redeemer web site by 5 PM.  Generally speaking, we will follow the Roxbury School District with regard to the cancellation of afternoon and evening activities.
 
18.  PHONE POLICY
The use of mobile devices during Confirmation activities is highly distracting.  The Pastor and the adult guides reserve the right to collect mobile devices for safe-keeping during all Confirmation activities.
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Kathy Fiscella,
Mar 22, 2016, 11:09 AM