The Confirmation Project
In the course of their Christian development, those baptized at an early age are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by the bishop. (BCP, 412)
Every year, Confirmation is a hot topic at faith formation and youth ministry conferences across denominations. What are we doing at Confirmation? What are we expected to teach young confirmands? At what age should we be confirming young people? How do we re-create Confirmation as a meaningful experience or rite of passage for our young people?
Most often, these decisions are made at the congregational or diocesan level, which creates wide variation in Confirmation theology and practice across The Episcopal Church.
In response, the Christian Youth: Learning and Living the Faith Project (CY: LLF), an interdenominational project led by Princeton Theological Seminary was established to learn “the extent to which confirmation and equivalent practices (CEP) in five Protestant denominations in North America are effective for strengthening discipleship in youth.” These denominations include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church in the USA, and the United Methodist Church. Lisa Kimball, Director of the Center for Ministry of Teaching, and Professor of Christian Formation and Congregational Leadership at Virginia Theological Seminary, is serving on the Steering Team.
In the next week or two, The Confirmation Project will release a survey to collect data from every congregation that is on official record with its denominational offices as having confirmed at least one young person in the last two years.
The electronic survey will be sent to the contact person of record for each congregation, likely the rector, vicar or senior warden. That person will be asked to forward the survey to anyone involved in youth Confirmation programming this year – kids, parents, volunteer adults, mentors, lay staff, clergy, etc. The more people who respond to this first survey, the more we can learn about how Confirmation is understood and practiced across the church. Everyone who completes the first survey will receive a follow-up survey in spring 2015.
So, you are being asked for two things:
- Be sure the right contact person has received survey in your congregation. Go to: http://theconfirmationproject.com/project-faq/ and follow the instructions given.
- When you receive the survey, please complete it as quickly as possible and make sure to forward it to others in your congregation involved in Confirmation programming.
This is an exciting time for those of us working with Confirmation and striving to make it a meaningful and relevant experience for young people. Thank you for supporting this project and for participating in the survey!