by Debby Kirk
You can picture the scene. A Pastor cradles a child in her arms and reaches to the font. The bright eyes of the infant seem to take in the significance of the blessing. The beaming parents and family members look on with pride. Then the congregation stands to surround the child and family with love and prayers of commitment. This ritual of baptism is a sacred moment in the life of the church.
Through the years, a local church will teach that child in word and example. The little one will be wrapped in a fabric of rich experiences that form their identity as children of God. There will be classes and conversations; worship and service; and celebrations and consolations with trusted mentors. Parents and church community will weave together a tapestry of support that will help children grow in wisdom and stature. The blessing of a caring community will be realized in countless ways.
Our Connecticut Conference also embraces this commitment to faith formation. Together, we are launching life-long learners who are putting faith in action. We are in partnership to create spaces where youth can experience the sacred, explore questions about faith, and listen carefully for the voice of God.
As we welcomed our third cohort of Thinking About Working for God apprentices this spring, I was struck by the many ways these six amazing youth have been guided and affirmed, not just by parents and local pastors, but also by the ministries of our conference.
These youth have learned job training skills in the Joseph Clemmons Job training program. They have been inspired by multi-cultural, multi-racial worship at the CTUCC Youth Revival. They have had profound encounters with God in nature at our beautiful outdoor ministry site at Silver Lake. They have gone on to take leadership roles as SLCC counselors, camp family, and staff. And they have had the opportunity to learn advocacy skills and connect with the wider church through UCC youth events.
You have an opportunity to increase the impact of these ministries through the Strengthen the Church offering this month. Help us support these ministries which affirm youth and bring vitality to our congregations. Give a gift to support Silver Lake, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, and Faith Formation. Your donation will nurture young leaders, bring vitality to the church, and strengthen the body of Christ.
Debby Kirk is the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
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