How many of you can remember your Confirmation Classes?
I remember very little of mine.
I was about eleven, and a little group of us (mainly members of the St. Mary’s Walberton Church Choir) met up for five or six sessions or so sitting around the Vicar’s dining table in the Vicarage. I remember how shiny it was, with curved corners, (the table that is, not the Vicarage) but I recall little else of what we heard or learnt there. I do, though, remember how the Vicar (a lovely man whose funeral I – many years later – subsequently took) taught us how to pray.
It was using the acronym “ACTS” . The “A” stood for “Adoration”, thinking of the wonder of God. The “C” stood for “Confession”, reflecting on the ways we go off the rails and asking God for forgiveness; the “T” was for “Thanksgiving”, saying thank you to God for his love and generosity and lastly “S” was “Supplication”, a list of people, situations, hopes and fears to be offered up to God, to lift them into his Presence for renewal, transformation and new life. I followed this pattern of prayer for many years, as a child and young adult until as an ordinand looking towards priesthood I started using the daily Office – Morning and Evening Prayer from the Prayer Book – which I have used ever since.
We rarely, I think, have the opportunity to explore our daily prayer habits as we get older, which is why the Diocesan course Cay Towner has been leading on Ignatian Spirituality has been so useful (thank you Cay!). I’m hoping to build on this with a Quiet Day or two later in the year, as part of our participation in the diocesan “Year of Prayer”.
Which brings me back to Confirmation. We have six children looking towards the Confirmation at Holy Cross on the 10th June from the Plurality. The course has been much more fun than mine was, with games and activities as well as teaching. We’ve made Prayer bracelets and I’ve taught them – among other ways to pray – the same “ACTS” acronym that I used. Maybe in getting on for fifty years’ time it’ll be the only thing they remember from their Confirmation Course too!
Remember them in your prayers, also the candidates from the wider Deanery who will be confirmed too. And come and join in on the 10th June!
With Love, Fr. John