Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | March 15, 2014

Catechumenate Involvement and an Idea for Youth

A baptismal font at a Lutheran church in Germany

A lot of what happens during Lent prepares candidates for the baptismal font

Baptismal candidates who are adults or older kids will be playing a very important role in many Episcopal parishes during this Lenten season. Although Lent in modern times is generally observed by many Christians, it was historically associated with a time of preparation before baptism. Adult baptismal candidates, known as catechumens, often actively take part in certain services during the Lenten period as part of their preparation to join the Christian community.

Youths who are already baptized and undergoing preparation for confirmation can also benefit from taking part in certain key services. When I was going to high school confirmation classes, the class was selected to read the Passion gospel on Palm Sunday that year. There was also involvement in a service project at a local food pantry.

I’ve long held the theory that kids who take an active involvement in church from an early age are probably more likely to be actively involved after they’ve left home.  It’s probably not so much an issue of whether there are enough youth outings, or what type of music is used, so much as whether kids and teens feel engaged. If their faith isn’t been made real to them, no amount of innovation will make them feel a part of things.

Some of the suggestions others have offered include allowing baptized and confirmed 16 and 17-year olds to be licensed as Eucharistic Ministers, having teens of this age group address concerns at vestry meetings and having services where kids and teens play a larger role (serving as ushers/greeters, reading the lessons from the Bible, leading prayers, etc.)

What are your suggestions?

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