Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church
May 15, 2009
To See Your Life Unfold
“Thanks Rev. Tussing for the Confirmation Retreat!”
That’s what several of this year’s Confirmation kids said to me.
Let’s see. Here is what I did for the Retreat.
I drove to Templed Hills with a couple of the youth in my car. Ken Bitter and Beth Sullivan drove the others. I listened as Ken led them through a detailed, careful process to write the words on their banner. I walked with them up to Vesper Hill at 1:30 am (all the while listening to a Bobcat screeching in the woods. At least, that is what the camp director said may have been the high-pitched shriek, which lasted for thirty minutes. (And if it was not a Bobcat, it makes for a better story than saying it was an old raccoon.) We listened as Ken read a meditation and then were told to look at the heavens. I did. I dozed a bit too.
The next morning I watched as Beth directed them in the actual making of the banner. Ti took time and color and careful thought, but we finished and went to lunch. They had a bit of free time but then Ken led them in a group building exercise, which took a couple hours. By then all the Mentors arrived and the students met with their individual mentors for over an hour. A potluck dinner came next with communion and the giving of the church’s individual letters to each Confirmand.
I drove back to Dublin with the newly-completed banner so that it could be presented in worship the next morning. Everyone else stayed the night at camp and arrived in Dublin about noon on Sunday.
“You are welcome kids. Glad to be a part of the Confirmation Retreat!”
And the key phrase is, “a part of.” I was a part of the Retreat, which is just how it should be. I tip my hat to Ken for giving the class an hour after church each Sunday this past year. Beth took them during January and was “on call” at other times. Her practiced eye designed the banner which now hangs in the sanctuary. I meet with the youth each Monday night in the parlor for an hour.
This group is the Sunday acolytes. This group gave service hours in the community. This group prepared and presented the Easter Sunrise Service in the Gladden Chapel. This group went on a Retreat in September; a high ropes course. This group attended the Martin Luther King service in January. This group talked and talked and talked and laughed and cajoled one another all year and occasionally I actually got a word in edgewise. Most of them have been together in this church since lower elementary school and yet when two new kids joined the church and then joined the Confirmation Class in the Fall, I didn’t detect any hesitation on the part of the “old-timers” to include them.
I’m probably more happy about that than any other thing they have done this year.
Will this intensive year of Confirmation Studies make them better people and more knowledgeable about being a Christian? I would like to think so. Ken and Beth and I would not put in our time if we did not believe that.
Will they treat one another with more respect and become better citizens of their schools, communities and this country? I would like to think so. Will they want to save the earth, recycle, cure diseases and solve the riddle of world peace? I would like to think so.
But, frankly, here is what I think will be the outcome because I know how I feel about my own confirmation many years ago. In twenty years, I imagine they will remember that they had a church, which cared so much that it carefully designed a program for them. They will remember that Mr. Bitter and Ms Sullivan and Rev. Tussing treated them with respect and had some fun with them and laughed when it was funny and told them to “focus” when they got out of hand. They will remember that they could come to church on a Sunday or Monday and discuss the assignments or anything and that we teachers were glad to hear their thoughts and smile. I hope they remember that nothing was off limits when it came to expressing a thought on the scriptures or the topic of the day. Actually I hope they remember that no topic was off limits in the church environment.
I hope they realize in twenty years that I enjoyed the talks and laughter just as much as they and when the noise got to be too much, I even enjoyed that because I believe that noise is a pretty healthy thing at times. I hope in twenty years, this still feels like home…no matter where they live at age 34. Dublin Community Church was and is their home.
And I hope they realize, today, that I miss them already.
Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing
(p.s. Here is an invitation to all who attend worship. We will Confirm this group of 11 teenagers on Sunday May 17. You really need to honor these remarkable kids with your presence in worship that day. They have given so many extra hours to DCC over the year in preparation for this day. I promise to keep the service to 90 minutes. That’s all. Don’t opt out for fear of an overly long service. Heck, I am forgoing Announcements on that day. That alone will save us 15 minutes.)