4 sites will host confirmation retreats
A blitz of confirmation events for young people begins Leap Year Day, Feb. 29.
Four locations will host overnight retreats simultaneously, in an unusual effort to serve sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders. Locations are:
n Canyon Camp, near Hinton;
n Camp Egan, near Tahlequah;
n Cross Point Camp, at Lake Texoma; and
n Laverne United Methodist Church, in northwestern Oklahoma.
"Many churches, due to a variety of reasons, are not able to provide a confirmation experience for their children and youth. This new Conference-wide Confirmation Retreat is a response to that need," states the event brochure.
Each retreat begins at 6 p.m. Friday, with check-in, and ends at 8 p.m. Saturday. Cost is $35 per person.
Classes will focus on worship and the sacraments, doctrine and policy, and church history. Also, a district superintendent will discuss the question "What does it mean to be a member of my local church?" with participants.
The retreats also can enhance exist-
ing confirmation programs at churches that regularly offer them. "Use the
retreat as a kick-off or a wrap-up. In addition, it will provide interaction with other United Methodist young people who are exploring their faith and call to commitment," the brochure suggests.
The retreats are sponsored by Oklahoma Conference Youth, Children, and Family Ministries. Deans will be Mary Lue Eastmond, Conference director of Christian Education; Diana Northcutt, director of Local Church Youth Ministries; Randy McGuire, Camps director; and Allen Carson, part of the Discipleship Ministry Team and pastor at Coweta UMC.
Rev. Carson said, "Every year as part of the confirmation experience, we did a retreat" for the youth of a church he served prior to his appointment at Coweta.
However, the number of students impacts the success of confirmation classes, he acknowledged.
"At Coweta, we didn’t have a super-large group of kids. I sensed there were other churches in (Muskogee) District that were not offering confirmation classes because they just had one or two kids," Carson said.
District leaders agreed, and they organized a retreat for their youths in 2007. Almost 50 people attended.
"The kids and adult leaders said it was the best thing they went to all year. We were just trying to do something. I think it was God," Carson said.
Afterward, District Superintendent Linda Harker contacted Conference ministry leaders about expanding the concept. That led to the Feb. 29-March 1 programs.
Carson will be dean at the Camp Egan event. He said, "We’ve taken the retreat last year and duplicated it. There will be worship times, lots of diversity in leadership, a game that teaches stewardship, and we’ll bring in someone from a connectional ministry, like campus ministry and Cookson Hills Center."
He reflected on the 2007 district retreat. "The fruit of the Holy Spirit at work in that was just incredible. We hope and pray that will be the case again this year."
For deadlines and more information about the 2008 retreats, call 800-231-4166 Ext. 2199 or visit www.okumcministries.org/youth.