"Springtime – Eastertide - literally draws us outside.” Outside into the spring blooms, but also outside into the world of our common humanity. Bishop Mark Bourlakas preached the fourth Sunday after Easter on our calling as Christians, as “Easter people,” on a morning he confirmed 19 and received one into The Episcopal Church.
“When a teenager asks you, a middle-aged woman, to be a part of her confirmation experience, you jump all over it!” writes Kristen Breakell, who mentored Abigail Long for confirmation this year. “I feel blessed to have had a small window into this wonderful girl’s spiritual heart when she gave me a copy of her written journey with God that she wrote in preparation for her confirmation. While we didn’t necessarily get down to the task of discussing the gospels (sorry, Tray), what we did do was spend time together. Special time together without distraction. We learned more about what makes each other ‘tick’ and I’d like to think we both carried away a little wisdom we didn’t have before.
“Then, what a fun Sunday we had with all of our confirmands and Bishop Bourlakas—a gathering of all ages in the name of a special rite of passage: We learned during our informative session with the bishop, then we celebrated the rite of confirmation. Supporting these confirmands as they expressed a mature commitment to a life in Christ was a needed reminder of God’s grace in our own chaotic worlds. Introducing our new confirmands to the Bishop and congregation triggered reflections of our own confirmations, and watching the laying of hands on each of our confirmands is a reminder of the village we have to support us in our journey. Sunday, April 29 brought the St. John’s village out in strong force, there to support one another and our new confirmands as we reaffirmed our baptismal vows and broke bread together.”
Several of our youth reflected on the experience.
Aidan Wilson: A few short weeks ago, I was confirmed into the Episcopal Church. It took a lot of hard work, dedication, and a bunch of classes. It was definitely worth it because I’m now officially part of the church that I’ve belonged to for so long. I remember when Reverend Eric Long came into our class to explain the roles of the clergy in the church. I was amazed with how the church functions when all of the clergy work together. I’m excited to have been a confirmed Episcopalian because now I can participate in my church more actively. Thank you Tray, Whitney, Jo, Earl and Cassidy for drawing me a little bit closer to God.
Grace Partin: One of my favorite moments during the the confirmation classes has to be when we all went to the 8:00 service. Not only was the service delightful, but I believe that it was more engaging because we actually had to look through the Book of Common Prayer. It gave us a reason to open up those red-covered books and it was interesting to use them in a service. We were able to experience a new way of Sunday worship and even though we had to wake up earlier, I enjoyed it.
Henry Robinson: God will always love you and will never give up on you. He is the one and only things you should worship. Sometimes people say they have lost God or have doubts, but God is always there for you to come back to. He will never turn his back on you, and that’s why we show him respect every Sunday.
Chap Hale: I had always known my parents were believers in God, and I was sort of a believer in God. [Confirmation] made me feel closer to my parents because we can now also connect spiritually. God helps people in an infinite amount of ways. He helps them to cope, he helps them to heal, and millions of other things. Without God, people would struggle so much in finding a meaning in life, and finding what to do with themselves, so God is truly a lifesaver because people would be nothing without God.
Mary Martha Blackwood: Confirmation was a wonderful experience that I’m glad I had. During confirmation, I experienced many memorable moments. A moment that felt extra special to me was before confirmation, when we were talking to the bishop. Talking with the bishop was really special, informative, and something I’ll treasure.
Corabeth Pierce: You might think that the best part of being confirmed would have been learning and having fun with my mentor, Dr. Wharton Ramsey. From ice cream to an interesting discussion on the Ten Commandments, my time with him was both memorable and enjoyable. Then, the day came to be confirmed. When the bishop laid his hands on me, I felt the extraordinary presence of God and the Holy Spirit. Amazing!
Those confirmed and received on April 29, 2018:
Mary Martha Blackwood
Branden Cleary Boetticher
Joni Lynne Boetticher
Ethan Patrick Bowlby
Joseph L. Comer III
Jack Emmet Ericsson
James Chapman Hale, Jr.
Anne Marie Koehler
Robert Richard Koehler
Abigail Gwendolyn Long
Elizabeth Burwell Thorn Long
Grace Kathryn Partin
Corabeth Rose Pierce
Henry Lee Robinson
David C. Smith
Caroline Anne Summerlin
Aidan James Wilson
Anne Carroll Myers