Planning ahead: Meeting with the Vestry

We love getting feedback from people who have used the program! Recently I had a wonderful conversation with the Rev. Lori Mills-Curran who used Confirm not Conform with the youth of St. Andrew’s, Framingham, MA (and called it, might I add, a “fabulous” curriculum). But she wanted to make sure that we conveyed to you some important information about the service project that makes up most of the last 4 lessons of the curriculum: namely, that part of this includes meeting with the vestry (or, if you’re not Episcopalian, the equivalent leadership group).

Starting with the homework in lesson 13, the participants will be asked to develop a service project based on the Millennium Development Goals. The youth are asked to make a presentation to the vestry as part of the very last lesson, class 16. This means getting the youth onto the vestry’s agenda well in advance. You can do this in two ways (that I can think of): either invite the vestry to come to a Confirm not Conform class –or—(the more likely scenario) make sure the class for lesson 16 is scheduled to coincide with a vestry meeting and get on their agenda.

The meeting with the vestry is a very powerful moment for both the youth and the vestry: the youth because they realize they have the power to shape the mission and ministry of the church; and the vestry because they see that the future of the church is in the hands of some great people with terrific ideas. Another priest I spoke to said that, due to the youth’s presentation, the church learned all about Hippo Water Rollers, something that has become an ongoing ministry for them.

As we’ve said elsewhere, one of the things we want Confirm not Conform to counteract is the tendency to create a youth ministry ghetto, where youth go off and do their own youthy things while we wait for them to grow up and join "The Church." With the service project and the iConfirm service, one of the goals is to change the perception of the adults in church so that they can see and realize that these are not “merely youth,” but full baptized members with gifts for ministry that we can celebrate.

I seem to have gone off-track, here, from the very practical suggestion that you get the Confirm not Conform class on the vestry calendar, to the deeper truth that in so doing, the church will become more fully alive as it recognizes the gifts of all its members. But that deeper truth is why we hope that you will schedule a time for your students and vestry to meet face to face.

Please keep that feedback coming!