The following information was written by the Rev. Sarah Puryear from a Living Church Blog post, May 2016.
For the blog, click here.
Suggested, Tested, and Tried, Best Episcopal Confirmation Resources
We encourage you to take a look and share a chosen resource(s) by making it your own. To determine the best choice, consider age, stage, size of class, and of course where the youth are in their spiritual journey and mentor/teacher availability.
Suggested resources for Confirmation:
The Discovery Series: Downloadable and free
Video: A Journey of Faith includes basic information about the Bible, the Trinity, the Kingdom of God, who Jesus is, the Creeds and Baptism. The Baptism segment may be used as a stand-alone piece. Four segments.
Confirmation from the perspective of Christian Journey
Role-playing doctrine, debates, and saints
Teaching teenagers about church history in an engaging way is a challenge, to say the least. For some of our major topics, I have begun directing an “on the spot” play, in which some members of our class take on roles and act out a story from church history. For baptism, we act out the story of a baptism in the early church, following two baptismal candidates as they prepare for the sacrament, pass through the waters, and join their church family for the Eucharist for the first time.
When we discuss the development of the creeds, the confirmands reenact the Council of Nicaea, with Athanasius and Arius arguing for their theological positions and Bishop Nicholas providing a dramatic climax when he punches Arius. The confirmands get a glimpse into how the church creeds, which often seem dry and dusty to teenagers (and adults), developed out of the passionate arguments and theological commitments of the early Church.
I also give the youth a chance to come up with their own dramatic reenactments. During a session on church history, each small group studies a particular saint from our calendar and develops a skit or song to teach classmates about a saint. We’ve seen some wonderful depictions of the life of St. Clare, St. Patrick, and more modern saints like C.S. Lewis.
Retreats When we ask the confirmands at their final class to name their favorite part of the process, most of them invariably say: “The retreat!” We take a weekend retreat from Friday late afternoon through midday Sunday at a conference center. Being out of the classroom lets us approach confirmation topics in a creative way: writing their confession of sin on paper and then burning the scraps at a bonfire gives confirmands a fresh understanding of what it means for God to “remove our sins as far as the East is from the West” (Ps. 103:12).
Reading the Road to Emmaus story during a hike helps them imagine what it would be like for Jesus to join them as their companion on the road. Visiting another congregation and seeing the stories told there in stained glass demonstrates how our Anglican tradition embraces the beauty of art. Spending time together away from our daily lives and contexts — and from our smartphones! — provides ample opportunity for us to practice the life of faith as a community in ways that aren’t possible in the classroom.
As with all youth ministry, my hope is be engaging without succumbing to being “entertaining,” to appeal to different learning styles instead of merely addressing the mind, and to approach confirmation topics from a fresh angle while keeping the confirmands’ commitment to Jesus Christ the primary focus. Our class is just one brief chapter in their spiritual lives; it follows on, and is best supported by, the good work of parents, godparents, and Sunday school teachers, who have taught them about the Christian life and faith over the years leading up to this sacrament.
- Resources suggested for retreats : Fred P. Edie, Book, Bath, Table, & Time: Christian Worship as Source and Resource for Youth Ministry (Pilgrim Press, 2007)
- Episcopal Diocese of Albany Resource needs editing but is a good guide: http://www.albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/documents/confirmationlessons.htm
- Remember Who You Are: Baptism, a Model for Christian LifePerfect Paperback – Large Print, June 1, 1998 by William H. Willimon
CnC Youth Episcopal
CnC Episcopal is the original version of Confirm not Conform, developed by the clergy and Director of Family Ministries at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Oakland, CA. Originally published in 2007, and revised in 2012, Confirm not Conform Episcopal retains a strong Anglican ethos, deeply exploring Scripture, Tradition, and Reason.
In addition to more general sessions on Scripture, church history, the Nicene Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, worship, world religions, and social justice, CnC Episcopal includes sessions on:
- The Book of Common Prayer
- The meaning of Sacraments in the Episcopal tradition
- The Church year
- The ministry of the baptized and the baptismal covenant
From the Anglican Communion;
YouTube – Why I am confirmed
Confirmed in a Faithful Community, published in 2006 by St. Mary’s Press, Winona, Minnesota USA, www.smp.org. (9 sessions query celebrations)
Survival Guide to Confirmation: The Catechist’s Guide, Stephen Gomez, St. Paul’s Publications, Slough, 1995 (18 sessions, 2 celebrations)
- I Believe: Confirmation for the 21st Century
2 years, for ages 6th – 9th grade
- Re:Form Explore your Christian faith tradition Denomination-specific history and theological framework that speak to youth. https://www.wearesparkhouse.org/teens/reform/traditions/
- Faith in Motion: 7 Things Christians Believe, and 7 Things Christians Do, a part of the FAITH IN MOTION Series, [Abingdon Press] Teacher’s Manual $ 12.00 Pupil’s Workbook $ 5.00 The FAITH IN MOTION series, for grades 6-8, has an easy-to-use layout for ease of planning and teaching, clear life application message, and fun youth activities. The Leader Guide includes step-by-step plans for seven sessions, plus a retreat model, a worship service, and a field trip or service project. 7 Things Christians Believe focuses on a faith issue, while 7 things Christians Do focuses on life issues. The highly graphic, slim Student Book provides youth with helpful information about the topic, questions related to the session and their lives.
- Fr. Matthew You Tube: followed by discussion