Confirmands to Serve as Worship Leaders

Pentecost Sunday in the United Methodist Church traditionally celebrates two important events: the beginning of the Christian church and Confirmation, where, after months of preparation, a group of young people publicly profess their faith before a welcoming congregation.  Because of the quarantine,  Princeton UMC’s five confirmands will not be commissioned on May 31; however, they will serve as worship leaders in what promises to be a very special Pentecost Sunday.

Ever since clergy and staff made the decision to postpone Confirmation until the church community can gather together again, the five confirmands – Anatalia Francisco Cabus, Ben Ashworth Nalbone, Camille Jones, Elli Collins, and Rosalind Hayes – have been been working closely with their teachers on designing the service. The students will be leading worship via phone and video like we have done in prior services. There will also be a special video which brings them all together to read the UMC Social Creed,” shared Sarah Betancourt, one of the teachers. They will also share original prayers. 

During the Confirmation ceremony, confirmands take control of their faith by professing it before family, friends, and the congregation.  Although in-person professing is not possible, “each confirmand will, over the next five weeks (except for June 7), share by video their own faith stories as well as their original versions of The Lord’s Prayer,” explained Hyelim Yoon, another of their teachers. So through the July 5 service , these five young people will be creating for themselves and the congregation unique faith experiences. 

To help the confirmands organize their faith stories, the teachers provided a list of thought-provoking questions, such as “When was a moment when your ‘eyes were opened’ and you understood something that you hadn’t before?   Who was a person who demonstrated to you what it means to live as a follower of Christ? Tell us about a time when you experienced God’s presence.”   

During the traditional Confirmation service, confirmands pledge to take more of a leadership role in the church.  By the time Anatalia, Ben, Camille, Elli, and Rosalind make their Confirmation, they will be seasoned youth leaders, well prepared “to go into the world and spread the Gospel,” said Hyelim.   Pastor Erik ‘Skitch’ Matson concluded that “While most people can remember the day they were confirmed, not many people will be able to say they were confirmed during a pandemic. I’m excited to see how this particular context will shape their understanding of living out their vows, and their understanding of what “Church” means.”

Princeton UMC’s Confirmation Class 2019

On Sunday June 9, 2019 Princeton UMC celebrated the confirmation of Kasey Angello, Leanne Griffiths, Rachel Hoffman, Andre Penn, Robin Roth, William Wong, and Davita Wrone. All seven confirmands stood before the congregation with their parents and mentors and professed their intention to live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. The pastors and others put their hands on each of them while Pastor Jenny said a blessing. We congratulate them on this important step in their faith journey.

Seven young people were confirmed into membership of Princeton United Methodist Church on Pentecost, June 9, 2019. From left, they are  Leanne Taylor Griffiths, Robin Mary Roth, Kasey Elizabeth Angello, Davita Elizabeth Wrone, Rachel Lynn Hoffman, Andrea Mutayoba Penn,  and William KunHee Wong.
Phoebe Quaynor, Director of Christian Education, far left, and Paige Allen, far right, taught the class.
Each confirmand had a mentor. On the left, Christine Shungu and Ulanda Frisbee. On the right, Theresa Cann, Susan Victor, and Helen Curtis. Not pictured, Karin and Bernhard Brouwer.
Rev. Ginny Cetuk and Rev. Skitch Matson (left) and Rev. Jenny Smith Walz (far right) congratulated the seven confirmands.
Confirmands and their parents. Photos by Norman Cetuk

Sermon “Revealing Resurrection:A Surprising Party”

On Sunday, June 9, 2019, Pastor Jenny Smith Walz preached on the topic “Revealing Resurrection: A Surprising Party.” Her sermon is based on the scripture reading ‘The Coming of the Holy Spirit’ from Acts 2: 1-21

She reminded us that the first Pentecost happened 50 days after the Resurrection and 10 days after the Ascension of Jesus Christ. The Jews were gathered from all over the land for the Festival of the Harvest and the Torah. The party was powerful and wild. While they were praying, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus’ apostles and others, and they found themselves speaking in different languages.  The entire community of Christians was made up of 120 people, but all present received the Holy Spirit without discrimination. Although everyone would have spoken Greek, the Galilean Jews found themselves speaking languages they didn’t know – those of the immigrant Jews.  Every language was made available to all. You could see the bewildered look on their faces. The native language was the language of the heart.        

In illustrating the scripture,  Pastor Jenny used  Brennan Manning‘s famous quotation, “The gospel is absurd, and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe. . . .  This, my friend, is what it means to be a real Christian.” She stated that it was time for our own Pentecost. We need to hear and understand each other across all divides. The Holy Spirit is calling for inclusiveness, and diversity, especially now in the midst of the most segregated time in our country. 

Listen to Pastor Jenny as she calls us to attention: “The Holy Spirit is moving here. Can you feel it?” The Holy Spirit wants to do more, to show God’s mighty deeds, power, and love inside and beyond Princeton UMC. What are we doing to allow Pentecost to happen in us today?

The sermon is podcast on this webpage under the category “worship.” Here is the link

For the complete video of the June 9 service, found on Princeton United Methodist Church Facebook page, click here.