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Confirmation

Confirmation is a process by which youth grow in understanding and living their identity as baptized children of God. Another term we use for Confirmation is “Affirmation of Baptism.”
 
First Communion and Confirmation
While in the past it was simply assumed that young people would complete
Confirmation before receiving First Communion, this is no longer the case. Many Lutheran congregations, including Immanuel, have recognized that children may be ready for First Communion before the age of 14 – and some 14 year olds who complete Confirmation may not yet be ready! Each year children and parents of 5th graders are invited to a three session preparation for First Communion. Another route to First Communion is to pick up a copy of the preparation booklet, “Come to God’s Table: Preparing for Holy Communion.” Booklets are available in the church office or in the kiosk in the Gathering Space. When you’ve completed the booklet at home, then make an appointment with one of the pastors (20 minutes). We also honor the wishes of those who want to wait until age 14, but we strongly encourage
parents to consider First Communion at an earlier age. 
 
Confirmation
Our Confirmation process lasts for one year – from September in a student’s 8th grade year, to September in their freshman year of high school. The rite of confirmation is typically on the third Sunday in September. Check with the Church Office kmills@immanuelvalpo.org  for the exact date. 
 
In order to enter the Confirmation process, parent(s) and child must meet with one of the pastors in May of their 7th grade year. You will be asked to sign a commitment to the process. 
 
Here is a general outline of the process.
 
 
Confirmation: Events, Explanations and Expectations
 
Confirmation takes roughly one year. We intentionally involve parents, staff and our entire congregation. This process will offer children a solid foundation for a life of service to God, His church and the world.
 
 
Spring of 7th               Initial conversation with parents and pastors
Grade Year                 This initial meeting consists of potential catechumens, their parents and the pastors. The meeting will serve as an opportunity to discuss the program and assess your readiness to participate. Key aspects of the program, such as choosing a mentor and designing a confirmation project, will also be discussed.
 
Early September         The two night retreat will he held at Camp Lutherhaven. Children will depart Friday afternoon and return Sunday morning in time for the 10:45 service. Goals of the retreat are:
·         Building a community of trust among catechumens and between catechumens and leaders.
·         Encouraging catechumens to speak freely about their relationships with God.
·         Introducing catechumens to the affirmations they will make at the end of the program.
·         Offering ways for catechumens to think and pray seriously about the person they wish to become.
 
                                    Commissioning of the catechumens
Catechumens will participate in this rite with their parents. They will be blessed by the pastor and their parents and prayed for by the entire congregation. Parents will present their children with Bibles that they and family members/friends will have annotated beforehand. Parents will also give their children a letter expressing their hopes for their children as they grow in their relationship with God.
 
September -               Sunday mornings with catechumens, parents and pastors
October                      These discussions will occur during Education Hour. Each session will address a key theme. The themes will be Prayer and Worship, Generosity, Reading the Bible, Sexuality, and Forgiveness and Reconciliation.
 
November -                Sunday mornings with mentors
February                    By this point in the program, families and pastors will have chosen mentors for the catechumens and the mentors will have received training for their role. Over 12-13 weeks, mentors will meet with the catechumens and discuss important issues of faith and life.
 
Lent of 8th                   Wednesday evening Lenten preparation
Grade Year                  This preparation occurs after the Lenten meal and before evening prayer. It introduces catechumens and their families to the Easter Vigil and explains their roles in it. Most important, it prepares us to worship God at the most important festival of the year.
 
February -                  Sunday mornings with pastors
May                             Pastors will teach the catechumens on Sunday morning, this time without parents needing to be present.
 
March/April                Maundy Thursday / Passover Seder
Our Seder meal provides an opportunity for fellowship and helps us to understand how the Passover celebration of God's Old Testament people informs our New Testament feast. The meal begins at 5:30 and is followed by our Maundy Thursday celebration at 7:30 pm.
 
March/April  Good Friday
We expect you to participate in at least one of our Good Friday services
·         Tre ore      noon – 3pm
·         Tenebrae   7pm
 
March/April  Great Vigil of Easter
The Great Vigil of Easter is a deeply meaningful time when some are made new through baptism, others are renewed by professing their faith and affirming their baptism, and all of creation is renewed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Catechumens have a role in the celebration of this festival.
 
Summer following    Completion of project
8th Grade Year             Catechumens will complete the project that they have been working on since their initial retreat. A significant facet of this project will address how they hope to be involved in the life of the church after confirmation.
 
September                 Rehearsal for the Rite of Affirmation at 8am
 
September                 Affirmation of Baptism at 10:45 service
 
Affirmation of Baptism marks the culmination of catechesis. More importantly, it heralds the beginning of a more mature relationship with God and participation in the life of His church. In anticipation of the 10:45 service, we will present projects for display during education hour.
 

Expectations
 
The process leading to Affirmation of Baptism is one of cooperation and commitment. We commit to helping your child grow in faith and identify more fully as a member of Christ’s body. In turn, we need you to make some commitments. Below, we list our expectations for the families involved, as well as those that are particular to catechumens or their parents. We ask you to consider these expectations carefully and embrace them as integral to the Christian formation of your child.
 
We ask families to commit to the following:
  1. Pray and worship together at Immanuel, including regular Sunday worship.
  2. Complete eight Family Worship Reports, one per month, during the school year.
  3. Participate in the services of Maundy Thursday (with Seder meal preceding), Good Friday and Easter Vigil. These services are an integral part of the process, so please do not plan travel at this time.
  4. Participate in Wednesday evening Lenten formation and worship.
  5. Be present at the rite of Affirmation of Baptism.
 
We ask catechumens to commit to the following:
  1. Reflect prayerfully on all that you experience
  2. Participate in the confirmation retreat
  3. Participate in Sunday morning formation sessions
  4. Complete your confirmation project in the spirit with which it was intended.
 
We ask parents to commit to the following:
  1. Pray for your children.
  2. Assist with the commissioning of your children on Sunday.
  3. Participate in the Sunday formation sessions with your children and the pastors.
  4. Be willing to hold your children (and yourselves) accountable to the commitment you have made.
 
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