By Fel Cao
Director of Camping and Retreat Ministries and Young People’s Ministry, CA-NV Conference
The Great Northern District hosted the second Bishop's Confirmation Rally of the year on March 30, 2019 at Lake Tahoe United Methodist Church and Retreat Center. Bishop Minerva Carcaño, joined by District Superintendent Rev. Blake Busick and Micheal Pope, Conference Lay Leader, welcomed and engaged the confirmands and their mentors and pastors for an experience of hearing the voice and call of God to service and ministry through narratives, life stories, biblical stories, and what life teaches us through its challenges, struggles, and triumphs.
Jaime Rogers, a candidate to the Certified Lay Ministry program, served as coordinator for the event and worked with the Rev. Lisa Jean Hoefner, site director of the retreat center, to ensure that it would be a good fit for the confirmation rally. In fact, the Lake Tahoe UMC and Retreat Center served as a perfect venue for the confirmands and their mentors to be engaged in worship, study, games, and fellowship.
The Rev. Dawn Blundell, pastor of Epworth UMC in Fallon NV, and the Rev. Becky Stockdale employed their gifts of music and song to lead us in worship. My spouse, Nerice Cao, a deaconess, and I joined the praise team as well, for a wonderful experience of praise and worship.
Bishop Carcaño joined in the exercises of teaching on, and emphasizing, the five membership vows of Prayer, Presence, Gifts, Service, and Witness. Her stories were shared with passion and woven into a beautiful tapestry of wisdom, courage, and hope for the young confirmands to experience a lifelong conversion call to personal and social holiness.
In pointing the confirmands to personal holiness the bishop referenced John 3:16 to illustrate how God favors redemption over judgment. In challenging them to social holiness, the bishop used very powerful images to call them to confront Poverty, Gun Violence, Modern Day Slavery, and the reality of Migration.
She also immersed herself in the confirmands’ lives by joining them in the group games that were intended to be team building games.
Confirmation is a journey of faith that seeks to make young disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world. Confirmation leads to our collective work as a faith community of developing principled young leaders. Confirmation introduces the confirmands to witness and service to enable them to be engaged in the richness of the diversity and inclusiveness of the church. It is a great joy to see how the confirmands are guided to an experience of "a heart that is strangely warmed."
It always is very exciting, inspiring, and empowering to have the bishop lead a confirmation rally. The next Bishop's Confirmation Rally will be hosted by the El Camino Real District at Almaden Hills United Methodist Church in San Jose, on Saturday, April 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Churches in the El Camino Real District are very much encouraged to send their confirmands – along with their parents, mentors, and pastors – to the Bishop's Confirmation Rally.
Do not forget to register, as the registration deadline is April 23! Sign up here.