The Upper Sand Mountain Circuit from the District has worked together to create a joint confirmation and membership class series to offer to our small churches. While most churches in the circuit do not have enough by themselves to offer a confirmation class, together we started a confirmation class on January 16, 2011 that currently has 19 children. Simultaneously, a membership class is offered for those already having taken that first steps already and now want to learn more about what it means to be a member of the church, a Christian and a disciple of Christ that has 14 youth and adults attending.
The meetings are offered each Sunday from 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. at the Upper Sand Mountain Parish Ministry Center. This allows individual churches to still conduct regular evening services. This is one of the first group confirmations to be offered on Sand Mountain in many years, and is our chance to truly make disciples for Jesus Christ.
Circuit leader, Rev. Jerry Hastings of Henagar UMC and Flat Rock UMC, is leading the membership class. The membership class is open to anyone and everyone who desire to learn more about their faith, church, and beliefs. It is for those who have gone through confirmation, made professions of faith, been baptized, (and to those who have yet to be). The class is using two different books to look at the United Methodist beliefs and doctrine: Bishop Mack Stokes' book, Major United Methodist Beliefs and Andy Lanford's, Beginnings.
Rev. Chris Cone of Section UMC will be leading the confirmation course. The course will be geared toward elementary aged children, but youth are welcome (we will let them be ‘helpers’). Ages attending the class vary from 6 to 14, and all seem to be learning and enjoying the interactive experience. The curriculum chosen for the children is Cokesbury’s Credo. It offers a personal workbook for the children, as well as a workbook for parent participation.
Rev. Cone shared, “Too often when I am talking with my kids, I’ll say something about the basics of our faith only to be met with blank stares. Then I realize it’s because I never told them.” As he shared in a recent Parish newsletter, the need for confirmation classes is obvious. If you have ever sat down with kids to find out how they piece together the things they hear from Sunday school and church, you may have heard them say things like: “I know that there is God the Father, and Jesus is the Son, but is the Holy Spirit like the Gramps or something?” While the things that kids think we believe can be quite humorous, there are some things we especially don’t want them to be confused about. Things like, “What must I do to be saved?” and “Does God love me even when I’ve been bad?”
The need was there, and the Upper Sand Mountain Circuit has worked together to be able to meet that need. As United Methodist, through our connectional system, it is important that we always remember we are not alone, because together we can accomplish anything