First, this Sunday is Confirmation Sunday. Please be present to share in the celebration. Of course, the rite of Confirmation refers to the confirming of vows of baptism made over children before they were able “own” the faith. Baptism is God’s ‘yes’ to them and Confirmation is their ‘yes’ back to God. For a relationship of real significance, both parties must say yes, not just one.
Do you know how I carry tiny babies around the Meetinghouse after I baptize them, introducing them to their cousins and counselors, friends and teachers, mentors and confidants? You will be all of that to our ten Confirmands this Sunday, as they give witness to their own gift of faith. Brianna Lyons will be confirmed at our 8:30 am service and the other nine at our 10 am service.
Second, I want you to know that the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences of the United Church of Christ are in conversation about merging or federating, whichever term you prefer. The Boards of Directors of all three conferences are calling for a Year of Discernment beginning Pentecost Sunday, May 15 as to whether the path of working more closely is in order.
Discernment is an intentional process asking us to be radically open to what the Holy Spirit is up to in this moment of life. Discernment aligns our life directions and decisions with our sense or experience of God’s calling. Discernment is more about generous listening than airing opinions.
Part of the reason for this conversation is diminishing OCWM dollars from local churches. Part of the reason is to reduce staffing costs and personnel positions that duplicate each other. And part of the reason is seeking greater economy of scale by uniting as a New England Conference.
We invite your prayers as our wider church is in discernment over this. And if you wish to call a gathering where we can talk about this amongst ourselves, maybe an Eleventh Hour is best. To read more about this Season of Discernment in the three Conferences, visit: macucc.org/rimact.