Friday, January 22, 2016

Anglo-Catholic Kids' Confirmation Course

A few days ago I was asked if I knew of "a decent children's confirmation course for Anglo-Catholic parishes," and was able to say, "As it happens, I have just what you need", and sent the link. My correspondent was very pleased, but he complained that I had not widely advertised the course.

Well, that's because it was originally put together using a wide range of insights and resources, just as part of my own ministry. The first version was pretty rough . . . in black and white . . . when I was at Skipton in rural Victoria in the early 1980s. It was re-written in Horsham in the late 1980s, and again at All Saints' Wickham Terrace in Brisbane in the late 1990s. That edition was used by quite a number of clergy in Australia and further afield. 

In my parishes I would have the children after school one afternoon per week during school term from February to December (the Australian school year). First term was a "Life of Jesus" (so far unrevised) in which we snuck in things like creation, the angels, the Trinity etc. Attendance at the Holy Week liturgies was just at the time we were teaching about the dying and rising of the Lord. Then second, third and fourth term were spent working through the "Crash Course", with each unit spread over a few sessions, depending on the age of the children and their interests. (I have also found that the course works OK when preparing adults and children together as a family group in remote and isolated places.)

During the final term we would have a "Confirmation Camp", a blend of worship, teaching and fun, usually shared with another parish or two, and it was on that weekend that the children made their first confessions. 

On the Saturday of the weekend before the confirmation we would have a day out, with the morning spent at the Cathedral followed by lunch and ball games in a park, and then afternoon tea with Bishop Hazlewood at Bishopscourt! The Bishop would take the children into his chapel and pray for them. 

The emphasis of this course is to lead the children into a close friendship with the Lord.

The graphics are quite important, especially as discussion starters among the children.

The final revision of the "Crash Course" was in 2006, although I added some more graphics in 2011.

The easiest way of producing the course as a book that will be kept by children and families is:

2. Print the pages double-sided on 100gsm paper A5 size (just a bit thicker than ordinary 80gsm).

3. Go to a well equipped stationers (e.g. Rymans in the UK, Officeworks in Australia) and get them to spiral bind the pages with a thick card on the back, and a transparent stiff plastic cover sheet on the front.


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