by Susan Craig / photos courtesy of White’s Chapel UMC
It took three verses of “The Church’s One Foundation”
for all 110 or more confirmands to file in and be seated for the 11 a.m. service March 3 at White’s Chapel United Methodist Church
|Co-pastor Todd Renner share smiles and a few tears of joy with confirmands during White's Chapels 2019 Confirmation service.
Confirmation Sunday is a special day for all Central Texas Conference churches, but this one was particularly noteworthy for Rev. John McKellar, White’s Chapel co-pastor. The service happened to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his own confirmation at his home church in Louisiana.
As he addressed the youth, Pastor John said the very thought of the confirmands sustained him during a time of rancor, division, argument and pain at General Conference 2019 in St. Louis. While in St. Louis, co-pastor Rev. Todd Renner received a text message from a graduating college senior. It read, in part: “I am so thankful for White’s Chapel. I can’t imagine where I’d be without the spiritual foundation that was laid while I grew up there.”
It’s Rev. McKellar’s hope that each member of the confirmation class has that same experience from which to draw. “I want you to embrace your church,” he declared, “know it’s your church and be a part of it. Experience it and live life together so that we can grow together in Christ.
“It will make such a difference in your life if the church becomes a part of your story.”
|Each of the 110 confirmands are individually are prayed over and welcomed by the laying on of hands from clergy, family and prayer partners during a special Confirmation service.
The size of this year’s confirmation class is not unusual, according to Michelle Tempesta, children’s ministry director. A group of 100 children – or as many as 150 – tends to be the norm for a White’s Chapel confirmation class. Confirmation Sunday includes being welcomed as new members during the 11 a.m. service, followed by a luncheon for the families and ultimately an afternoon service where all 110 are individually confirmed by the laying on of hands.
This culminates an intensive, four-week process with a curriculum that’s made to include some hands-on activities and time for fun. A highlight, Michelle said, is the Sunday co-pastors McKellar and Renner conduct a Q & A. “It’s just amazing to hear some of the questions the kids ask.”
Confirmation is offered to students in grades five and six, and a handful of high school students take an alternate route available through Student Ministries. They make professions of faith and join the church on that same Sunday.
Michelle was seated on the front row when the confirmands stood to face the congregation. Gazing at all those faces and “realizing how many kids are becoming part of our church,” she said, made her emotional. “It choked me up a little bit. I’m excited about the future of our church.”