Confirmation retreats bring youth closer to God
LAKE JUNALUSKA This year, Lake Junaluska will host more than 2,000 youth and adults for 14 confirmation retreats sponsored by the Intentional Growth Center and the Foundation for Christian Formation.
The confirmation retreats are weekend events that help youth move toward owning for themselves the Christian faith claimed on their behalf at baptism. The retreats supplement curriculum taught in the local church and prepare confirmands, or those preparing for the religions rite of confirmation, to make commitments of faith.
Each weekend includes interactive workshops; exploring and understanding the sacraments of baptism and Communion; and a "stole making" session in which confirmands record highlights of their faith journey and witness to their emerging faith in their own words and symbols.
Over the course of the weekends, the confirmands visit the SEJ Heritage Center and the World Methodist Museum, two museums on the Lake Junaluska grounds that highlight the history of the United Methodist Church. The World Methodist Museum houses the largest collection of Methodist history, artifacts and memorabilia in the world.
“Having access to both the World Methodist Museum and SEJ Heritage Center at Lake Junaluska sets us apart from other venues where confirmation weekends are held,” said Leslie Butters, the office administrator at the IGC. “There is nowhere else where you have access to such a wealth of artifacts and information about John Wesley (the founder of Methodism) and the structure of the church.”
The events conclude with a commissioning service in which the youth receive their stoles and are sent forth to claim their identity as Christians.
“The confirmation weekend really helped me feel closer to God and helped me understand just what my purpose is in the church,” said Courtney Stewman, who attended one of the IGC weekends March 10-12.