Celebrating CONFIRMATION of:
Evan H., mentored by David Walsh
Talie M., mentored by Beverly Loudin
Griffin W., with new mentor John Connor
Cassie C., with new mentor Caryn Bean
Guest Celebrant for Confirmation
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
New England Conference, United Methodist Church
Special Music: “For Forever” from Dear Evan Hanson
Youth Rock Band, with reflection by Rev. Samantha Cowan
Senior Sermon: Reid Jackson
An introduction from Pastor Doug:
I cherish every picture I have taken of Reid during UPA activities across the past seven years here because they all make me smile. In one Reid is playing kick ball, attempting to kick it while facing backwards; in another all twenty youth are facing an altar for instructions and Reid is turned the opposite direction, hamming-it-up for the photographer; in another Reid is selling wreaths and in another Reid is carrying pumpkins and in the most recent picture from last Sunday, he is balancing his six-foot tall body, reclined, on the Parish Hall handrail, listening as folks praise his friend Andy at his senior Sunday. In the photo above, Reid is playing the character “Justin” in the 2017 Mystery at Mike’s dinner theater. Reid is a character!
The fact that Reid appears in so many of these pictures reminds me that he has been a consistent, dynamic part of our family of faith. As fun-loving and goofy as Reid sometimes appeared on those service trips or playing games with us, a depth of spirit shone through in those moments when he invited his congregation to combat racism or to pray for a struggling friend. It has been pure grace living in Christian community alongside Reid, and we wish him continuing faith, joy, and love in all that comes his way following graduation!
LESSON: Acts 20:7-12
“Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground! Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him.”
Confirmation: Do People Need Denominations like UCC or UMC?
We asked confirmation students if they ever found people like themselves in the Bible narrative. Could they relate? We shared this story of Paul’s lengthy sermon literally killing young Eutychus! Folks may be happy to hear that there will be no sermon this Sunday from a long-winded pastor! What we also hope students see in this story is an example of Paul’s compassionate response. Maybe they will one day fully appreciate how the calling of Christ in our midst leads not just to lengthy sermons and studies but ultimately to lives of service. Confirmation is the Church community’s recognition that a young person is shifting away from simply receiving service toward providing it.
Is it important being members of denominations like the UCC or UMC at the time of confirmation or is it enough simply to belong to local church? It is easier joining a family we can see and sometimes most satisfying to serve within a community where we can put our arms around one another in times of need. Denominations extend that circle of care, however. In the lesson from Acts 20, Paul offers a lengthy sermon, then a healing, and then a sacramental meal in this household before boarding ship to another city, and other households. They all weep together realizing they may never see him again, but they understood what he was doing. Paul created this network of churches as a means of caring for all of God’s creation to the ends of the earth, and the early church understood themselves as branches of this life-giving vine. When we join a church, we join the Church (network).
Our confirmands may not have learned enough about each particular denomination to make truly informed decisions about which one to join. It is probably best they remain within their parent’s chosen faith or faiths in the midst of their discernment. What seems most important at confirmation is recognizing we are no longer those seeking to be served, but those in service to others, and we are joining a movement larger than our particular household. United Methodism or United Church of Christ, worldwide. So this Sunday and the next let us celebrate a milestone achievement with these young people, never failing to model the lives of faith we wish for them and hundreds of thousands of those whom they will serve and inspire!
Prelude: “For Forever” Benj Pasek and Justin Paul Featuring Youth Band
Anthem: “Love, Love, Heavenly Love” of Shaker melody
Postlude: Valse, op. 69, No. 1 Frédéric Chopin
Religious Education This Week
From the Desk of Sheryl:
FUN FUN FUN
PLEASE JOIN US: May 10th 5:30pm to 8:30pm
This Friday we will have our last Game night until September. This is an invitation to the whole congregation. This is a pot-luck with games and prizes and lots of fun. (Bring your favorite dish to share if you can) After the last game, we will then split for some adult socializing while the children do a craft.
This is an opportunity for everyone to have a blast. Join us if you can. RSVP would be nice, but not required. firstname.lastname@example.org
This Sunday our elementary students will be preparing a mother’s day craft and learning about some of the mothers in the Bible.
Our youth will remain in worship to hear Reid’s Senior Sermon.
We will also have our first of our two Sundays of confirmation. You don’t want to miss it.