In our youth ministry, adult leaders walk side by side with young people through a time of transition, raising young people who are committed to Christ, committed to the Episcopal Church, and have the Christian Leadership experience to make a difference. Youth ministry is vital to helping teens integrate into the larger, intergenerational community of the church. Our youth should never be marginalized; they are co-creators in the divine work of the church.
Journey to Adulthood is a faith formation program for youth grades 6-10.
Its goals are:
The Rite 13 Class (R-13) is for youth in grades 5 through 7. It celebrates the gift of gender and provides a foundation for the remainder of the program. The curriculum covers the themes of Self, Society, Sexuality and Spirituality. Within the context of these themes, youth and their leaders talk about questions of faith and doubt, and participate in various spiritual practices.
The J2A class is for youth in Grades 8 through 10. This part of the curriculum builds on Rite-13 by training young people in six necessary skills of adulthood: Listening, Assertion, Negotiation, Research/Information Management, Partnership, and Leadership. Bible study, and spiritual practices are woven into the content of J2A. During the second year of J2A, the class plans and prepares for a spiritual pilgrimage to happen the summer following their second year of J2A.
This phase is for grades 11 and 12. This year we will be looking at the “Way of Love” curriculum created by The Episcopal Church and based on Right Rev. Michael Curry’s book and practices.
During the second year of the J2A phase of the Journey to Adulthood Program, the youth prepare to affirm their faith as adults in the church through the rite of Confirmation.
In addition to regular attendance at worship, and at the J2A class, Confirmation also includes retreats and field trips in order to be confirmed by the Bishop.
After four years in The Journey to Adulthood program, participation in the rite of Confirmation becomes a mature decision made by spiritually-equipped young people, and it places confirmation in its proper context, not as a rite of passage, nor as an exit ritual, but rather a chance for the individual youth to confirm that which was said for them and to them at their Baptism. It is their chance to stand before the community of faith and make a public declaration of their understanding of their place in the journey of faith and their desire and willingness to continue along the journey with us, all together, in the Body of Christ.
Confirmation is not a requirement. It is the decision of the confirmand to make this rite. The Episcopal Church’s theology of confirmation has continued to evolve along with its understanding of baptism. Confirmation is no longer seen as the completion of Christian initiation, nor is confirmation a prerequisite for receiving communion. Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s body the church (BCP, p. 298). Accordingly, confirmation has been increasingly understood in terms of a mature, public reaffirmation of the Christian faith and the baptismal promises.