Everything You Need to Know About Confirmation

Of all my files, book collections, workshop presentations, and webinars, the topic that far exceeds any other subject is that of confirmation – the preparation, the history, the resources, and the rite itself. I’ve written on it and testified about it at the Episcopal Church’s triennial General Convention (too many times to count). A dream of mine has always been to have a single place to share all that I have gathered along with the ideas and suggestions of others from around the Episcopal Church.

Now it exists! With the formation of the Confirmation Collaborative in the spring of 2019 (read about our initial gathering and press release) one of our goals was to create such a site. Thanks to the generosity of the Baptized for Life project overseen by friend and colleague Lisa Kimball (the Associate Dean of Lifelong Learning and the James Maxwell Professor of Lifelong Christian Formation at Virginia Theological Seminary), there is now a “confirmation tab”with multiple pages jam-packed with resources, infographics, and best practices for “all things confirmation” in the Episcopal Church. It is only fitting that the topic of confirmation be tied to its roots in baptism on the web as well as in real life.

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A Zoom Thanksgiving

For me, Thanksgiving has been a time of story-sharing from one generation to the next. I recall long tables in the basement of my childhood home filled with grandparents, aunts, uncles, first/second/third cousins, and the random relative or friend who I could never figure out how they fit in the mix. There were often “unrelated” elderly people present who did not have a family to share the meal with. Kids were mixed in with the adults – there was no “children’s table” of isolation. Most of all I remember the laughter and the passing of casseroles, including the jello mold containing unknown substances (shout out to National Lampoon’s Family Christmas).

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Diddy Disciples

Before all of us became sequestered due to the pandemic, Sharon Moughtin-Mumby began an American “tour” to introduced her two publications through speaking engagements and workshops. I was sent copies of Diddy Disciples: Book 1 and Book 2 in advance to give an “American” review of these Church of England resources (published by SPCK). To be honest, I’ve been using these tomes along with my Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity as a platform for my laptop in order to raise my screen for all my Zoom gatherings.

Diddy Disciples has already made it across the pond and I had heard several educators post on social media that they were using it. I felt they had more to share in having used it than I who was no longer working in a church. Another reason for my delay in posting my “review” is that I’m not sure how much this “new” (published in 2017) collection of worship and storytelling resources for babies, toddlers, and young children is useful during this time of social distancing when many churches have put their in-person Church School’s and nursery care on hold. But Diddy Disciples does have a The Church at Home section of resources for families on their website.

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Have You Met Verna Dozier?

In the early 1980s when I began my ministry as a Christian educator, I “met” Verna Dozier in an article published in SHARE, a quarterly publication of essays distributed by JED (Joint Educational Development) of which the Episcopal Church participated. It was during those years that the Episcopal Church regularly sent free materials to all Episcopal churches. Lucky for me I found the packets of shelved envelopes of articles in the back of a Sunday school closet that hadn’t seen the light of day in a long time. In one of those articles, “Affirmations of a Christian Educator” my vocation was just that – affirmed – by Ms. Dozier in the opening section:

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Biblical Story Making

For a long time the Church has shared Bible stories with children that have included someone else’s moral or theological interpretation. In truth, the Bible has always been used to teach children right from wrong and the Golden Rule. In some part, this has lead to a generation of children (and adults) who are really moralistic therapeutic deists. Thankfully there are other opportunities to engage children IN the biblical story without adding our own interpretation or the “correct” answers as to why God did this or that. We the advent of Godly Play and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, we know the importance of open-ended questions, wondering, and allowing children to experience the stories of God with their heart before their head.

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