Our 50th Anniversary reflection for this month is on Confirmation. In the 60’s, Rev Maschmeier had some pre-confirmation instruction start in the 6th grade so students would learn more about the Bible. As part of their Sunday School class, students would complete a lesson in the series “Our Junior Bible Course”. There were two volumes; one for the Old Testament and the other for lessons from the New Testament. Each had about 25 lessons. Students would study the material during the week and complete a series of questions.
Confirmation class for 7th and 8th graders was held on Saturday mornings. It was combined with the students from Peace UCC in Jackson and would rotate between the two churches. The morning would start with a short worship service conducted by one of the students. At some point during the morning, students would break into pairs and ask each other the questions from the Heidelberg Catechism assigned for that week.
Confirmation would be on Palm Sunday with Examination Sunday the week before. The pastor would ask the confirmands questions from the Heidelberg Catechism during the morning worship service. Each student would have several questions to answer. Confirmands would also prepare a song they had selected to sing on Confirmation Day. The seventh grade class would usually join the class for this song.
The Heinbuchs came in 1968 and together Rev & Mrs Heinbuch shared the confirmation learning experience. Rev would teach the Heidelberg Catechism and Mrs Heinbuch worked with the Bible stories. The students also had a workbook and a lot of memory work. However, when the weather permitted, they would take a break to play some baseball; something all the students remembered. In the 70’s all the students from Peace, Friedens, St. Peters and Faith met together for their weekly class but each group was confirmed at their respective church.
When the larger parish was dissolved and Rev Heinbuch only served Faith, they moved to Slinger. Since all the students at that time attended Slinger, confirmation instruction was offered after school. Confirmation remained on Palm Sunday with examination the week before.
Pastor Schuette came in the mid 80’s and followed the same teaching format with classes once a week and confirmation on Palm Sunday. Not as much emphasis was placed on the Heidelberg Catechism although it was still used. He also gave his class the option of preparing a Faith Statement rather than the examination. The Faith Statement continues to the present day.
In the 90’s, Pastor Gaeth had the confirmands choose a mentor from the congregation. Sometime in the 90’s, confirmation moved to Pentecost. Students were involved in more and more activities so these extra weeks provided additional time to cover the material. When Pastor Laurie worked with confirmation the emphasis was on Bible history.
Today, Pastor Sharon is using an experiential approach to confirmation which incorporates all the various types of learning styles. For the first time this year a new format is being tried. Students meet once a month for a more hands on time with many different activities. This summer the students will have a full week of Bible study in a retreat atmosphere; a requirement for Confirmation.
Confirmation reunion Sunday was held on March 18, 2012. Over 150 people have been confirmed at Faith UCC in the past 50 years.