2017 Fall Confirmation Retreat Session 1
Who Are You?
the church declares to its members and to the world who and what it is, what it believes, and what it resolves to do
Students will articulate things they belong to that make them who they are
Students will learn one another’s names
Students will hear that their baptism means that they belong to God and are incorporated into God’s people, the church
- What would you be doing if you weren’t here?
Springboard Concentric Circles (MBI p. 191)
- The group arranges themselves and their chairs into two circles, one inside the other, the outside circle facing in and the inside circle facing out. There should be an even number of chairs in each circle so that everybody sits directly across from a partner. All the adult leaders should go in the inner circle.
- Explain that people will be having short, 2-3 minute conversations with several people on assigned questions. They should introduce themselves to each new partner and share the time so each person has a chance to speak to the question. Emphasize that these are questions about them and some are a little personal--they don’t have to share anything they don’t want to.
- Between each question have the inside circle move.
- Talk about the thing you shared about yourself in your circle group and why you chose that;
- Talk about how you relate to different members of your family;
- What responsibilities do you have in your family?
- Who are the people you would choose to spend an entire free day with?
- What would you do with an entirely free day?
- Describe some of your best friends--where you know them from and why you’re friends with them
- What is something someone has told you you’re good at?
- What professions are represented in your family?
- What is your earliest memory of church?
- What things do you like about church?
- Do you think you’ll participate in church after Confirmation?
Work Life Maps
- Ask students to find a comfortable space by themselves somewhere in the room
- Hand out a sheet of flip chart paper and a marker to each person
- Read the following quotation from Christianity After Religion:
- Belonging is an issue of identity. Searching out family roots, taking pride in one’s nationality, joining a club or a church, participating in a movement or political party—all these things give people a sense of identity through belonging. I say: “I am a Hochstedt.” “I have German roots.” “I am an American.” “I am an Episcopalian.” “I am a Democrat.” You will say it differently: Spanish or Indian family background; a Canadian or Australian or Bolivian or Mexican; a Baptist or Pentecostal or Catholic; Republican or Green. Yet we all mean the same thing in rehearsing the list. I am part of this family; I am related to these people; I throw my lot with this tribe. I both belong and I am. Belonging is intimately related to being. To belong is to be.
- Explain that you want them to focus on the things they belong to: families, country, clubs, teams, church, movements, political causes. Invite them, on one side of their paper to simply make a list of all the things they feel they belong to.
- Then invite them to turn the paper over and plot each thing they belong to as points on a map, related to the other things they belong to. Some things may overlap. Others may be completely separate. Encourage them to use symbols and drawings to represent each item.
- Put people in pairs after 10 minutes and instruct them to share their maps with one another. Emphasize that what and how they share is entirely up to them.
- Ask if they found anything in common with their maps.
- Processing: what do you belong to? What do you choose to belong to? Are there things you belong to that you wish you didn’t, or things you wish you belonged to but don’t? Are there some things many of us belong to?
Work We Belong To God
Mini lecture: The very first sentence of The Brief Statement of Faith is, “In life and in death we belong to God.” Think about that. The very first thing the authors wanted to say was not “we believe” this or that but that “we belong” to God. This is the most important thing about us: we belong to God. In all the other things we belong to, we belong to God.
Processing: are there things people belong to that can feel like they’re competing with God for time and attention?
The authors got this from the Heidelberg Catechism, another statement from the Presbyterian Book of Confessions. This one is old, from the 16th century. And it’s German. Do you know what a catechism is? (explain).
So ask me this question: “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” (have them repeat).
Answer: “That I am not my own, but belong--body and soul, in life and in death--to my faithful savior, Jesus Christ.”
Maybe do it again.
That is the very first question and answer of the catechism. It is one of the most important claims we make as Presbyterian Christians, that we are not our own, but belong to God.
Turn to the person on either side of you and tell them, “You belong to God.”
Processing: what about belonging to God sounds to you like good news? What about it sounds maybe not so good? (it might be nice to belong only to yourself).
But what about the church? Why does belonging to God mean belonging to church?
Baptism is the sign of our belonging, our incorporation, into the church, which is Christ’s body in the world. You belong to the church already. That is an important part of who you are, whether you identified the church as something you belong to or not, the church identifies you as one of its own, and God sees you as a member of God’s people in the church.
- We’re all different
- We all are who we are because of a bunch of influences
- In all that we do and all that we are, we belong to God. That’s good news.
- Next we’re going to play some group games outside
- What was useful about this session?
- What did you find challenging that could be more useful in our future work?