Confirmation Classes, past and present

When I first started going to St Michael & All Saints in about 1985 I was very quickly asked if I’d like to go to Confirmation Classes. I really had no idea what they were, but as I was embracing the whole SEC thing, it seemed like a good idea. I had to get my mum to babysit and I’m not sure that she really believed I was going to a church meeting that ended up in the pub. For Fr Emsley was a priest who did his best mission in the Auld Toll Bar in Tollcross over a pint of frothing ale. That part of the evening, I have to say, was much more exciting that the previous class.

I remember there were about 6-8 of us in that class ranging in age from 14-50ish. And I spent most of them hoping that Fr E wouldn’t catch my eye and ask a question. Having no church background or Sunday School memories, I really knew nothing about the bible, the prayer book or the church. Nor was I brave enough to ask in case folk thought I was stupid. It seems ridiculous now. Now I have no qualms whatsoever about asking anything at all. The confirmation classes were long and boring and dry. There was a lot of history, something about miracles in the bible, and then something about the Scottish Prayer Book. I was just glad when it was all over and I realised there was not going to be a test at the end of it.

Yesterday, as I sat with four eager teenagers, I remembered those days and smiled. It is so very different today. Our topic yesterday was the Bible and my plan was to gently introduce them to the notion that some of it might be myth, some might be ‘of its time’ and the importance of contextual study but they were way ahead of me.  We hadn’t got past the Pentateuch when they were telling me how some rules in Leviticus are not obeyed now, so why should the RC church get so het up about equal marriage?  We did ponder sex before marriage and whether that constituted ‘sin’ or not, before somehow moving on to circumcision and why it was sensible in hot countries and how shocking female circumcision was today.

Please let me tell you that I didn’t bring up any of these subjects. They just came up naturally in the conversation and were issues that they wanted to explore in a Christian setting. This group accepted a God of all faiths very easily, and loved the fact that they were Episcopal which meant that they were much more accepting of others than many churches. They like being liberal and catholic.

It really was the most glorious hour I’ve spent in a long time and filled me with hope. Bless them.

We’re doing prayer next week and I can’t wait.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Confirmation Classes, past and present

  1. Started off my career as ’twere in a Methodist church where it was ‘Admission to Membership’ – chief memory is that I was considered to know too much and made to take classes alone – the misery of which was compounded when the minister slammed out of a meeting because I had challenged too much too soon.

    Refused to join the ‘Piskies where I was worshipping until they accepted women into the priesthood, and then rather reluctantly agreed to be confirmed – no classes, as I was considered to know too much – i refused to wear a tea-towel veil, and said I would manage a hat and veil – a rather fetching pillbox, draped with a tiny amount of veil hanging. They hated that because it was black. I did however get a certain amount of fun out of it by adding a name – Vey – which I sometimes use. The bishop rather obviously thought this was very very funny – and my feelings were hurt. I seriously hope to avoid any more initiation ceremonies. I am very very glad yours are fun and questioning and serious.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s