It’s that time of year again when many parishes are getting ready to prepare a new group of people for the sacrament of confirmation. Confirmation is the imparting of the Holy Spirit to strengthen a person in their baptismal identity and commitments. On May 4, at Christ Church Cathedral, the Archbishop and others from the diocese will host a Confirmation Preparation Day. This will be a day to ask lots of questions, talk and eat together, and get to know the cathedral space and order of the service. It’s a great day and registration will be open soon! A diocesan celebration of Confirmation will happen at the Cathedral on Saturday, May 11.
But before then, it’s the privilege of parishes to prepare the candidates for confirmation. To help you with that, here’s some confirmation curricula to consider. I used four main criteria to make the selection:
So let’s get to it.
The Discovery Series: A Christian Journey
A video-based program that can be adapted for newcomer or confirmation courses. Best of all, perhaps, it’s free! The program is made up of five courses with 2-4 hour long segments. The course begins with an introduction to Anglican worship and continues with basic information about the Bible, the Trinity, the Kingdom of God, who Jesus is, the Creeds and Baptism, and guidance on the path to spiritual maturity. The videos are well produced and include good portrayals of diversity in the Anglican church, but they are a bit dry, and would work better with adults. Strengthening interactive discussion/exercises with each video will be important. This would make an excellent resource for an online formation course using Zoom. Participants could all watch the video together by screen share and have guided discussion afterward.
Time: 11 one hour sessions or could be combined into a weekend retreat program.
Cost: Free and it includes all the videos as well as the facilitator and participant guides. Download: https://vimeopro.com/epicentervideos/the-discovery-series
My Faith, My Life: A Teen’s Guide to the Episcopal Church
Perhaps one of the most popular resources for Anglican confirmation classes south of the border. In a lively style and with discussion questions for each section, Jennifer Gamber has written this book to cover the core topics of Anglican worship, scripture, prayer, the sacraments, and church history. Despite the title, it’s not just for teens – this could work for adult confirmation preparation as well. Some adaptation will be needed for a Canadian Anglican context. Kimberly Blair, youth minister at St. Mary’s Kerrisdale, has done work on this and you can contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Time: 6-10 sessions
Cost: $15.00/youth copy. Leader’s edition for $20.00 (USD)
I Will, with God’s Help
Another American Episcopalian resource that gets solid reviews. The foundation of the program is the Baptismal Covenant and it includes units on Anglican heritage, prayer, and worship. One of the nice parts is that it has a process and resource for mentors to accompany youth on their journey to confirmation. Relationships with caring adults outside of the family is one of the key factors in healthy and successful youth development. The program is book based and, again, can be used for adult confirmation as well. The hardest part will be finding the equivalent references from the Book of Common Prayer in our Book of Alternative Services.
Time: 6-12 sessions
Cost: $25.00 for the leader’s guide, $9.00 for the youth or adult journal, $9.00 for the mentor’s guide. (USD)
Short, funny, animated films about a relevant question from the Christian faith make this program attractive and accessible to many youth. The format of each session follows a similar pattern: video, and individual and group activities such as doodling and discussion with the help of a leader guide and youth “anti”-workbook. There are 40 sessions, so it could run longer than other confirmation programs, but they could be edited down and combined. N.b. it is produced by the publishing arm of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America). The Anglican Church of Canada is in full communion with the ELCIC (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada), the sister church of the ELCA. The adult equivalent to Re:form is Animate. Check it out here: https://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/category/286832/Animate
Time: there are 40 sessions, but can be customized to context
Cost: 70$ for DVD set, $20 for youth workbooks, 40$ for leader guide (USD)
Confirm not Conform
A program that takes seriously many teenagers’ developmental need to ask searching questions, make choices, and take responsibility for their beliefs and actions. It’s on the longish end, with twenty 60-90 minute sessions and a bit pricier but with a sliding scale for parish size. The session outlines are very clearly laid out and include prayer practices and other activities to balance out discussion. It also includes a mentoring program, a retreat plan, and, in addition to units on the Christian basics of worship, scripture, tradition, and prayer, it includes units on justice and other faith traditions.
Time: 20 sessions but could be adapted or shortened
Cost: a sliding scale - from $300 for parishes with less than 100 ASA to $500 for parishes with more than 300 ASA (Average Sunday attendance). It’s a one-time licensing fee though, so it can be used year after year.
Order: For youth: http://www.confirmnotconform.com/cnc-youth-episcopal / For adults http://www.confirmnotconform.com/cnc-adults