Thursday, April 16, 2009


Next Sunday, April 19th, is Confirmation Sunday at Bethel UMC. We have 21 young people who will come forward for Confirmation. These 21 have been prayed for and supported by mentors, and parents. They have been taught by Lay people, Clergy, and staff people each week. They have memorized scripture and creed. They have read and studied some on their own. Now, before God and everybody, they will come forward and kneel at the altar to accept the vows of membership in the church for themselves.

17 of them have been baptized as infants and therefore do not need to be baptized again. The first baptism was just fine; God was there. These 17 will be confirmed which means that they will be made firm in their faith.

4 of them will need to be baptized. They will be baptized and then confirmed into the church at the same time.

When we baptize babies we, as a church, take vows to teach them the faith. Parents promise to teach their children faith and to keep them under the guidance of the church. So, when they're around 12 years of age, we invite them to move deeper into faith and commit themselves to Christ and take their own vows.

Now, you might argue that 12 year olds don't know anything and don't know what they're getting in to. Some say that we probably should wait until people are around 30 years of age, fully grown, to confirm them.

But, scripture says that we should "train up a child in the way he/she should go." Others say: "Give me a child until they're four and I'll shape them for the rest of their lives."

Of course, we do leave it up to the child and parents/sponsors to decide. If someone is not ready year, we are ok with them waiting.

Pray for the Confirmands as they come forward on Sunday. It's a dangerous thing to offer yourself to God. These 21 were offered at Baptism as babies. Now, we offer all of them to God in Christ.

They will become a part of that great body, the church, forever.

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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