Confirmation: Living the Questions
The program is for:
- Youth currently in 8th-12th grade (the registration system will prompt you to register based on age. You must be within the age group of 13-18 and grades 8-12 to register)
- Clergy / Adult mentors of confirmands
Youth and adult mentors will each need to complete their own registration.
The program duration is Friday Evening Supper through Saturday evening Supper
Does your church have one or two young people of an age to enter a confirmation program? Would it be helpful to interact with others of a similar age? This overnight is a chance for young people to engage with adult mentors, ministers, and most importantly, one another. Many of us were baptized as infants. At that time our parents promised to bring us up as part of a faith community and help us learn about God, Jesus, the Bible and the church. Confirmation is a process that leads to an intentional choice. One might consider saying “yes, I affirm my baptism and want to take responsibility for my own spiritual journey.” Another may choose not to do so, or to wait till a later time. Please note, there is no pressure to make a particular choice. We affirm young people who consider the questions, regardless of how they decide to proceed.
Arrive on Friday evening in time for supper, (we’ll keep dinner warm for you if you have a long way to travel). We’ll gather and get to know one another a bit. And we’ll look at what it means to “live the questions.” What do I believe? Is faith a solid, unchanging truth, or is it a process of growth? What’s the authority of the Bible?” What are ways to approach scripture? What is unique about Christianity? Does my relationship with God matter? What if I question the existence of God, is that ok? What’s special about Jesus? Is there a difference between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith? Do I have to accept the stories in the Bible literally, or can their truth be metaphorical? What does church membership involve? What is an intentional spiritual life and what is faith?”
Young people can attend even if they are the only young person coming from their church. Churches can also send groups, or even confirmation classes. This event can supplement your church’s efforts through an opportunity to converse and share thoughts with other confirmands. Ideally, each church with a young person, or young people, will also send one or more adults to serve as mentors. Adult attendees will be required to complete a simple background check.
Clergy are welcome to attend. We can help you to incorporate this experience into a larger journey that might involve other opportunities. For example: community service and social justice, learning about your particular church, or experiencing how other faiths and denominations worship.
Housing will be determined by the demographics of registrants. All cabins will include at least two adults. Larger groups may stay together. Housing may include mixed genders (changing rooms and bathrooms are private).
Pilgrim Lodge does not usually allow cell phones at camp. For this overnight we are making an exception. However, participants will enter a digital covenant including turning phones off during program sessions, no social media photos posted during the event, and no exclusive group chats. This policy is for the Confirmation Retreat, and not for other Pilgrim Lodge events.
The leadership for this event is a group of ministers from the Cumberland Association. We invite people from everywhere with open arms.
Rev. Bryan S. Breault, MSW – State Street Church UCC, Portland
Rev. Reba Delzell, Williston – Immanuel United Church, Portland
Rev. Christine Dyke, First Parish Church UCC, Gorham
Rev. Leslie Foley, BCC, – Westbrook-Warren UCC
Rev. Alyssa Lodewick – Woodfords Congregational UCC, Portland
Rev. Sharon Rankin -Windham Hill UCC, Windham
Pastor Steve Savage, Associate – First Congregational Church UCC, South Portland
From Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke:
“I want to beg you, as much as I can…to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
(Paris, February 7, 1903, Dover Publications, Inc ã2002)