On Saturday, October 16, 2021, over fifty people from throughout the diocese gathered for a day of conversation, learning, laughing, and eating together in preparation for the celebration of confirmation on October 23. It was the first confirmation preparation day held in over two years due to the pandemic. The rain bucketed down but all were safely gathered and bathed in the warm nave and light of Christ Church Cathedral.
The day, hosted by Bishop John, began with welcome, prayer, and a community building activity where everyone had a sticker placed on their back with a word from the Christian tradition – ranging from sacrament to lectio divina. Participants had to walk around and ask for clues to their word and then try to guess it. Once all had guessed correctly then they all returned to seats in the nave and proceeded to fill a fishbowl full of questions on slips of paper for Bishop John to mull over and respond to at the end of the day. Question subjects ranged from divorce to the racial identity of Jesus.
The group then split for two tracks of programming – one for youth and one for adults. The adults learned a contemplative way to meditate on the Lord’s Prayer and the youth did an original Escape Room based on the baptismal covenant and designed by Lauren Pinkney, Families Minister at the Cathedral. Everyone regathered again to fill the font with water from different bodies of waters that parishes had brought from their bounds (the geographical surrounding area around a parish). The water was blessed and all reaffirmed their baptism by dipping their fingers in and making the sign of the cross or touching their foreheads. Then Bishop John led everyone in a lively exploration of Anglican identity. Participants could walk throughout the church and pick a large poster that named an aspect of Anglican temperament that most appealed to them such as: open-minded, moderate, political, aesthetic, intuitive, etc.
Following lunch, youth and adults held separate sessions on spiritual gifts and the Apostle’s Creed. An “Anglican style” photo scavenger hunt had teams of four race around the church looking for items such as lavabo bowls, chasubles, and the paschal candle as well as taking pictures of the team representing the Trinity or greeting one another in the narthex. Bishop John then returned to the questions posed by the confirmands that morning and was able to respond to many of them before time was up.
Near the end of the day, Reverend Melanie Calabrigo led everyone in a candle making practice with fresh beeswax sheets and wicks. She helpfully reminded us that the act of making can bring us closer to the Maker. Then we lit the candles and sang a rousing version of This Little Light of Mine. The day was memorably concluded by the bishop blessing items that participants brought and the Reverend Monte Tugwete leading us in closing prayer gathered around the altar.