What a rich and full day Sunday, April 26th was. Catechumenate Sunday was the expression of six of our youth's faith pilgrimage. Catechumenate is an old word that goes back to the earliest days of the church. It describes how new Christians were welcomed into the church and taught the faith (often using "catechisms").
Trinity has reinvigorated this tradition. The Youth Catechumenate is a 9 month process calling young people to examine their faith with mentors who journey with them. This pilgrimage of examination is preparing the young people to profess their faith in Jesus Christ, receive baptism (if they haven't already) and be welcomed as active members of the church. It's similar to confirmation, and invites young people (or our "catechumens") to accept responsibility for their own faith.
This year our catechumens from the youth group were: Lena, Poey, Malia, Zach, Max and Daniel. Friends and family joined us for the worship service where these young people professed their faith. Members of the community were invited to write down things learned from their own faith journey to share with these young people. All these words were incorporated in a booklet given to the young people the next week.
The worship service then moved outside to where Poey and Max were baptized (in chilly water) with a great group of witnesses surrounding them.
Those already baptized were anointed with call to remind them of their own baptism. After the service a luncheon was given in honor of the catechumens where their families, mentors and teachers were able to attend.
Pastor Matt Robbins-Ghormley reflection on the spirit of the luncheon.
Surrounded . . .
There was a lunch gathering of about 50 of us Trinity people after church this past Sunday to celebrate the six young people who had just made their profession of faith - family members, mentors, youth leaders. It wouldn't have been feasible, but I wish the whole congregation could have been there to witness what was happening. One after the other, these youth got up and as Julia invited us, the community spoke words of blessing and affirmation to them. People stood up and called out the gifts that they saw in each youth - gifts of hospitality and evangelism and truth-telling and kindness. And then we prayed.
In many ways, this is the culmination of what we had hoped for several years ago when we conceived of our version of a confirmation program here at Trinity. We wanted young people to be given a genuine opportunity to explore their faith and to say their own “yes” to Jesus - not to just check a box. We wanted to have them surrounded by the Trinity community, and given a rite of passage as they become members of the church. As I held my 4 year old on my lap, I was praying that one day my own kids would get to be a part of something as meaningful as this.
Many thanks to Julia Corbett for architecting this great program and investing so much time, energy and love into this process. I am also grateful for the many people who were mentors and teachers for these youth, and who shared their personal stories of faith along the way. What a incredible way this Trinity community surrounds one another as we all continue to grow up in Christ.