Letter To Parents
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord!
Your child has now reached an age where they can be confirmed. Through confirmation, the church continues its commitment to the Christian growth and discipleship of your child. Additionally, your child now can become a member of the church at the conclusion of the confirmation process and continue their commitment to the journey of faith that began at their baptism.
As the Director of Youth Ministries, I believe confirmation represents one of the most important events in our faith journey. Confirmation is a time when young people learn to articulate their own beliefs, publicly proclaim it, and think critically about how those beliefs will shape their future actions. I am confident that this will be a season of growth and deep commitment for your child. Our confirmation process will begin on January 17, meeting at 4:00 pm on Sundays. We will meet regularly until May 23, 2021. See the attached schedule. Please know that the Confirmation class is a considerable commitment and, homework will be assigned each week. To register for this class, please sign-up through the church app called REALM. Our hope is that even though this class is a significant commitment, it will also be a blessing to your child and to your family as you move through this process together.
Confirmation Retreat: By the Spring, we hope it will be safe for us to participate in, or have our own, Confirmation Retreat. As soon as we have a date for this event, we will be in contact. It is our hope that all confirmands will attend this trip together. Note that the class schedule may shift due to the Confirmation Retreat; however, the dates in bold will remain the same.
Additional Trips: It is our hope to add additional day trips including opportunities to attend various worshipping communities. However, we will provide more information in the spring when we know more about the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Important Dates: The Confirmands will be confirmed on Sunday, May 23, during our worship service. We hope this will be a poignant and significant moment in the life of your child. Please feel free to invite whomever you would like to join us in worship. It will be a special day! We will continue the tradition of a Confirmation Banquet for families, mentors, and members of the Session on May 17, 2021. It will also be the same date when the confirmands go before the Session to share their “Statement of Faith.” Please mark these essential dates on your calendar.
Mentors: Through confirmation, your child will have the opportunity to explore his/her faith and ask questions. Part of the confirmation process is to develop a relationship with a long-time member in our congregation who is committed to their faith and to the life of the church. At the start of confirmation, each confirmand will ask someone to serve as their “Mentor.” We encourage you to seek a mentor during the fall.
Confirmation Mentor Qualifications
- A person of sound faith & someone the confirmand views as a role model in the faith
- Someone that parents agree to be a trusted adult
- Someone that has been a member of FPC for over 5 years
- Someone that is at least 25 years and older
- Someone willing to participate fully in the Confirmation Program
- Someone who is not a member of your family
Once the confirmand has asked the mentor if they are willing to serve, they should give that name to the Rev. Lyndsey McCall-Gilliam so that she may contact them directly. The confirmand and mentor should begin connecting in the fall. The time together is intended to establish a relationship and share in conversation about their questions concerning faith, what it means to be a Christian, and why they chose to become members at FPC. Confirmands and mentors will share new experiences throughout the course, including attending classes, various worship services, and other class assignments. We hope that this relationship will prove invaluable and continue as they both grow in their faith.
Parents & Guardians: As a parent, your encouragement is essential. At their baptism, you promised to guide them in their faith journey, and you are the most critical person in this process. Throughout our course, we will be using a book called “Presbyterian Questions, Presbyterian Answers” by Donald McKim. We plan to give the confirmand, the mentor, and parents a copy of this resource. We hope that you will read each chapter along with your child and discuss the chapters together each week in preparation for class. We see this as an opportunity to teach your child and help the whole family to grow deeper in the faith and knowledge of the Presbyterian tradition. If parents or guardians have questions at any time, we hope that you will not hesitate to contact either minister.
Participation: Just like any other class your child may take in school, we too will be conducting this program in such a way that includes reading, homework, and note taking. If your child has to miss a meeting for any reason, they will need to schedule a time to make up the session with the presenter. Illness and other things happen that change schedules, which is certainly understandable. I want this to be a positive experience for everyone and work with you if “life” happens. However, we encourage no more than 3 absences. It is an integral part of the course for the young people to learn from one another as they wrestle with questions of faith during the class time together. Each lesson is full of a significant amount of theological material covered. For confirmands to have the best experience possible, we encourage their full participation in the program. And please know that as circumstances change, we will adjust our program as needed. There may be times when classes must move to Zoom, or meetings will need to be live-streamed for families who do not feel comfortable attending in person. Please be in touch with us as you navigate your own comfort level within our current season.
Statement of Faith: At the end of our time together, Pastor Dee Dee and The Rev. Lyndsey will spend time with each confirmand to answer any questions or concerns they have about making a public profession of faith by writing a Statement of Faith. While we will do our very best to make it possible for your child to be confirmed, you and your child must take this commitment to the confirmation process seriously. If your child does not feel ready to take this step, by the end of our time together, it is okay. We want it to be their decision and know that they are loved even if they feel they need to wait to take this step.
I am excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this significant moment in your child’s life. I expect this confirmation class to be a dynamic one with a large class, including 8th & 9th graders, as well as the first Confirmation Class with our new Head of Staff Pastor, the Rev. Dee Dee Porter Carson. I expect a lot of laughs, great conversation, and memories that will last a lifetime. We will start our program formally in January, but until then, we will be regularly praying for your child, family, and mentor as we begin this great adventure together.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Rev. Dee Dee Carson or I.
Blessings to you,
The Rev. Lyndsey McCall-Gilliam, Director of Youth Ministry, First Presbyterian Church Virginia Beach
300 36th Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Office: (757) 428-6332, Cell: (919) 656-2718
Confirmation Class Dates
Sundays at 4:00-5:00pm
Week 1 (Jan 17) What is Confirmation? (Confirmands, Parents & Mentors)
Week 2 (Jan 24) “God”
Week 3 (Jan 31) “Jesus Christ”
Week 4 (Feb 7) “Holy Spirit”
Week 5 (Feb 14) “Humanity & Mission”
Week 6 (Feb 21) “The Bible”
Week 7 (Feb 28) “Salvation”
Week 8 (Mar 7) “Reign of God”
Week 9 (Mar 14) “Church”
Week 10 (Mar 21) “Worship”
Week 11 (Mar 28) “Sacraments
Week 12 (Apr 18) “Christian Life”
Week 13 (Apr 11) “Presbyterian History & Heritage”
Week 14 (Apr 25) “Polity”
Week 15 (May 2) Confirmation Retreat Weekend?
Week 16 (May 9) Statement of Faith
Week 17 (May 17) Session Meeting & Banquet
Week 18 (May 23) Worship Service (officially join the church
**Retreat Weekend to be added.
Throughout Confirmation Class, you will begin to articulate what you believe. By the end of the course, you will share those beliefs in a final assignment called “A Faith Statement.” Rev. Dee Dee and I encourage those planning to attend Confirmation to start working on a rough draft by typing up a statement using the prompt below.
Please know, we plan to go over each section in class. If you’re unsure about any of the different areas, it’s OK to leave it blank. However, we do encourage you to take this assignment seriously by giving each area serious thought. Confirmands, it’s important to know that it is normal to have doubts about your faith. We will talk about this in our class time. We want you to be honest in your Faith Statement so please say what you believe verses what you think we want to hear. Parents, please only help your child by merely clarifying a subject area. We want to be able to assess the starting point for each child fully. Overall, we believe your child’s preparation will help them dive deeper into these heavy theological subjects to make for better conversation in class and final Faith Statements. Do not rush! You have until January 1, 2021 to work on them. Please E-mail your first assignment to Rev. Lyndsey McCall-Gilliam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I believe God…
I believe Jesus Christ…
I believe the Holy Spirit…
I believe our role as humanity…
I believe the Bible…
I believe Salvation …
I believe the Reign of God…
I believe the Church…
I believe Worship…
I believe Sacraments…
I believe the Christian Life…
I want to be a Presbyterian because…
I want to be a member at First Presbyterian Church because…