We are a religiously confused family. John and I grew up in a large Baptist church and grew up to be good Baptists. But then something went wrong. One of our good Baptist friends married a man who became an Anglican minister and they moved here and asked us to help them start a church. They were sure we would say no since we are such good Baptists but when you are starting a church you ask everyone. So long story short, God had actually been preparing us for years to become Anglicans and we didn't even know it. We left our Baptist roots and for the past 6 years have been learning what it is to be Anglican. We have come to love the beauty of liturgy and all that is Angican and are privileged to be part of our wonderful church.
Kids go through confirmation in the Anglican church. Since our church is quite small and our youth group is even smaller, when the need arose for some kids to go through confirmation they just gathered up all the kids in 6th-12th grade, all 10 of them, and put together a little confirmation class. It was great and Jake really enjoyed it. We had a little trouble coordinating with the Bishops schedule but he was officially confirmed a year after completing the classes. They also went on a mission trip to New Orleans where they did clean up as a final step in the confirmation process. It was a life changing event for Jake who came home feeling a call to mission work and has not wavered from that course for the past 2 years.
However, we haven't given up being Baptists either. Since our church is so small we continue to have our children attending the Baptist church on Wednesday nights. This was logical 6 years ago for Jake since he had so many friends at church that he didn't want to leave. (OK so did we and this keeps us in touch with our friends too.) Now Isabelle has begun attending and is making friends of her own. This is the church John and I met at in 9th grade so this is a particularly interesting time as we watch Jake re-live our experiences.
For the past year Jake has been attending a class on Sunday nights called "AUG" which stands for "Approved Unto God". It is basically a Baptist confirmation class this church does. They use a text book from a seminary theology class and walk the kids through a deeper understanding of their faith. John and I were one of the first classes to take AUG way back when and so we were excited to send Jake. The church has grown a bit over the years as has the class and so while John and my class had about 25 9th graders, Jake took this class with over 140 9th graders and which was graded and required passing to go on the trip that followed. After the class John and I loaded onto the church bus for a 3 day drive into Canada to do service work at a camp in the mountains. We met that first day on the bus and the rest is history. :) The jr. high pastor, who decided to move the trip to Colorado a few years ago, described the camp in Canada as a place where "you were afraid to sleep with your mouth open for fear of what might fall in while you were asleep." It was a bit rustic. Now they go to a much nicer camp in Colorado where along with several work projects they also squeeze in a water park, a baseball game, rock climbing, mountain biking and more. (OK we did a few fun things too.) Unfortunately Jake won't be able to go on the Colorado trip. Have I mentioned we are going to Africa this summer? We had hoped to be able to do both but the cost of the Colorado trip was more than we had anticipated and we decided we just couldn't do both.
Last weekend Jake and 134 other students who passed the class all "graduated" from AUG. The parents all sent in pictures of our students and watched a slide show of our darlings (4 pictures times 134 students...). Although there were many kids I didn't know it was fun to see the ones I have known since they were babies. It is amazing how much they have grown and great to see the men and women they are becoming. They broke the slide show presentation into 3 groups and after each presentation graduated that group of students. It was a typical scene, read the name, student walks across, takes certificate while shaking pastors hand and moves on. We are about half way through the alphabet and everyone was properly following prodigal, then Jake arrives. He did properly walk across the stage but after taking Heather's hand and grabbing the certificate he pauses and says, "smile for the camera" and then turns to the audience and puts on his big cheesy grin. I had no idea he was going to do this but I was holding my camera up to get the perfect shot and caught it. The only problem was that I didn't run forward to get a good shot I just zoomed in from my nose bleed seats. Still it is a fun shot with the jr. high pastor laughing.
There was a dinner before hand and somehow Jake ended up at a table full of girls.
Of course there is really only 1 girl for Jake and she also was confirmed this weekend at her church. We made the trek across town to attend the ceremony at her church. It was lovely. Britta gave an amazing speech to her confirmation class and audience of a few hundred. I am amazed by her, her intelligence, her confidence and her faith.