Often the youth class and youth group meet in a room off the beaten path. For example, our Confirm not Conform group meets upstairs at the far end from the entrance to our church. As a result, many parishioners are not aware of the great things happening in the CnC class. Our quest was and is to connect the whole parish more often with the lessons of CnC and with the youth participants.
At least once or twice a month, the youth share something that is important to them in the Sunday morning service: a ritual, some prayers, a personal interpretation of the Creed or Lord’s Prayer or a lesson. These all come from their class time, retreats or time with their mentors. We have a great staff that is flexible and excited about their offerings in the service.
During the CnC retreat the youth are asked to create a group ritual and worship experience using the elements. The creativity that they bring as they follow the basic structure the service. Last fall one group of the youth offered us a water ritual based on the baptismal service. Using a bird bath and pieces of twigs and leaves we shared the water with each other. To quote one kid, "Baptism is a blessing from each of us, not just the clergy."
The CnC youth decided that they wanted to bring their ritual of water to the next baptism at church. A few of them had the shells from their baptism (for those who didn’t, we supplied some). As the elements were brought to the altar, the youth carried water in their baptismal shells to add to the font, symbolizing how their baptism, too, was carried forward in this new baptism. (They welcomed kids of all ages to get involved too.)
It was a very spiritual experience for each youth and the parish. They connected the dots between their CnC experiences to all the people in the service. The baptized baby is blessed by these creative and loving youth. I think that they have created a new tradition too.
Please do not wait until the iConfirm service to share the ideas, insights and experience of these CnC youth. What could they bring to your worship services right now? When our youth and adults are involved in our services, we all blessed.