Confirmation is an important step in the spiritual journey of United Methodists, and Camp Tanako is hoping to give more young adults the opportunity to go through confirmation thanks to their Confirmation Camp weekends.
“Confirmation Camp began as a response to conversations that I was having with pastors throughout the Arkansas Conference who were having trouble doing confirmation at their churches,” said Kim Carter, Director of Camp Tanako.
The weekend camp came about in 2016 as a resource for small membership churches who didn’t have the time, resources or enough people to undergo confirmations at their churches.
The three-day experience will take place twice in early 2019. The first camp is Feb. 8 – 10 and the second camp is April 5 – 7.
The age in which a young adult goes through confirmation varies from congregation to congregation, but typically kids will go through the process somewhere between the 5th and 7th grade.
Confirmation classes focus on understanding the Trinity and what it means to be a United Methodist. The process of confirmation is closely linked to baptism in the church, and although confirmation is not a sacrament in the United Methodist Church, it is an essential step in a church members’ spiritual journey after baptism.
During the Confirmation Camp weekend, campers will experience a variety of sessions that cover every aspect of confirmation in the United Methodist Church. Topics covered include: “What is Confirmation,” God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit/Trinity, John Wesley, sacraments, and vows.
Various Arkansas Conference employees will lead sessions. So far, that list of leaders includes Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator Michelle Moore, Lead Equipper for the Center for Vitality Michelle Morris, Children’s Ministry Coordinator Melinda Shunk, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministry Jim Polk, and Conway First UMC Pastor Zack Schrick.
“As an extension of the Conference, the Camping/Retreat Ministries goal is to help local churches meet the trajectory set forth by the Conference, and confirmation is a vital part of what it means to be a United Methodist,” Carter said.
After the weekend is over, confirmands will be sent home with lessons to discuss with parents and local pastors. The take-home lessons cover topics beyond confirmation, such as creeds, the Bible, prayer, service/mission outreach, and heritage and history of the church.
Campers will also get a chance to worship together each evening before heading back to their cabins.
Rod Hocott – director of the MIDphyouth ministry at Pulaski Heights UMC and developer of the confirmation camp curriculum – sees the lasting value of confirmation camp for every United Methodist youth.
“To prepare our young people to become United Methodist Christians is one of the most daunting, yet highly rewarding responsibilities we undertake in the area of youth ministry,” Hocott said. “When asked to help develop curriculum for a conference-wide confirmation camp, along with Dee Ann Daniel and Laura Stinnett, I thought what a wonderful idea to make confirmation training available to churches of any size, regardless of the number of confirmands available in any given local church.”
For Carter, there’s nothing else quite like Confirmation Camp.
“The United Methodist Church, at its heart, is connectional, and through camp, we’re able to bring young people and their mentors together from across the state. Confirmation is a coming of age experience that occurs at the right time to instruct young adults before they join the church. It’s a vital part of the life of a local United Methodist Church.”
For more information on Confirmation Camp, visit Camp Tanako’s website. You’ll also find links to register for the April 2019 Confirmation Camp.