Confirm Not Conform: This Year's Confirmation Curriculum 2021-2022
Each of our sessions will also be based on one of the lessons provided by Confirm not Conform (CnC for short). Confirm not Conform was developed by St. John's Episcopal Church in Oakland, California over the course of about 8 years. For more than 10 years, CnC has been used by hundreds of congregations throughout the United States, Canada, and beyond. It is Episcopal in its perspective of reading the Bible, worship, and living out our baptismal promises.
Its goals are in keeping with St. Matthew’s approach to how we are formed as Christians throughout our lives:
- To allow participants of all ages to speak and participate, focusing on their questions more than just our answers.
- To demonstrate our confidence that the Christian faith will stand up to honest examination. We are not afraid to show our Christian traditions, warts and all.
- To explore the many ways people have expressed their faith through the centuries.
- To involve the wider congregation in the confirmation process, connecting youth with adults in a meaningful way.
- To empower youth to teach and lead.
- To respect participants' faithful choice about whether or not to be confirmed, and celebrates and honors them, whatever their choice may be.
In addition to more general sessions on scripture, church history, the Nicene Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, worship, world religions, and social justice, CnC includes sessions on:
The Book of Common Prayer
The meaning of sacraments in the Episcopal tradition
The Church year
The ministry of the baptized and the baptismal covenant
CnC participants will take on three different tasks: Deconstruction, Design, and Construction.
Deconstruction: participants learn that it’s OK to challenge what they have always been told, to look critically at what they have always believed—or always been told to believe.
Design: participants examine their current beliefs and the beliefs of others, reflecting on why they believe what they do and determining if those beliefs should be kept or discarded.
Construction: as participants determine which beliefs hold up to examination, they are given opportunities to articulate their faith through word or action.
These tasks overlap and may not happen in a linear fashion; some lessons include two or even all three of these tasks. But the goal is not destruction of faith, but construction. It may not look exactly like the tradition as we currently know it, but it will neither be a mindless parroting of or (negative) reaction to “the way we’ve always done it.” This is one of the reasons why it is important for confirmands to attend each session.
In addition, building relationships is another important component of the program. The first sessions help build and bond the class, and youth are paired with mentors to deepen their connections with the congregation beyond their age group. As the program progresses, youth prepare a presentation on a service project to the Vestry so that youth and church leaders recognize the presence and contributions of Confirm not Conform participants as full members of their congregation.For a perspective of a parent of the program and how they chose to make a commitment, please read one of CnC’s blog posts: “But My Kid Has Soccer!” Commitment and Confirmation. https://www.confirmnotconform.com/cnc-blog/but-my-kid-has-soccer-commitment-and-confirmation