Sunday, May 21, 2017
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Statements of Faith
The process leading to my Confirmation has deepened my understanding of the importance of God. I learned that God is important because only through Jesus’ sacrifice can we be forgiven for our sins and have eternal life with God. By better understanding His sacrifice, I learned how God feels about me, and all who believe in Jesus. God loves me as a child and I can relate to God as a Father and talk to Him, like I would talk to a person. Ultimately, through this Confirmation process, I have grown in my relationship with God and I have begun to take our relationship more seriously.
A special part of the Park Avenue United Methodist Church experience has been my participation in its theatre program. It has allowed me to make new friends within the Christian community. Through acting and performing, I have also learned how to be more confident when speaking to new people and in large groups. The theatre program has also helped me develop an interest in the performing arts. Our church has also been a sanctuary and, in a way, an extended family during difficult times. When my Dad had stage four Cancer, our church community was a place where I felt supported and loved through the encouragement and prayers of all. Overall, the support and love of the Park Avenue United Methodist Church community has helped me know God’s love for me. Although I have not yet participated in a community service project, I look forward to serving food to the homeless and serving our community in many other important ways.
From the time I was born, I had already inherited a wealth of Christianity – from different denominations. On my mother’s side, my grandmother was baptized Protestant. Her father, my maternal great grand-father, was a Lay Minister in the Protestant church. My Grandma met my Grandfather, who was Roman Catholic, and they married.
My Mom and her siblings were baptized and raised in the Protestant church, until my Mom was seven. At that time, my maternal grandparents decided that the entire family would worship as Roman Catholics. So my Mom was baptized again and got a second set of godparents and the name of a Roman Catholic saint. Mom was also educated in a Roman Catholic school. On my Dad’s side, religion was more straightforward. They were Baptists through several generations. I was also baptized in a Baptist church in Washington D.C. by Rev. MacDonald when I was a baby. Rev. MacDonald also officiated my Parent’s Wedding.
My Mom returned to her job in Geneva, Switzerland when I was about 3 years old. We attended a Pentecostal Church… until another 3 year old slapped me. My mother thought it would be better if I wasn’t around such violent children, so we started worshiping at a Lutheran church where I really enjoyed going to Sunday school. In fact, that’s about all I can remember from that church.=
When we moved to New York, I really wanted to continue going to Sunday School. Although I did not fully understand religion, I knew that Sunday School was fun, and to a 5 year old, that’s really important. We tried a few different places for me to attend church, first off at an Armenian church which my mother didn’t think would speak Armenian. Since we don’t speak Armenian, we left after one day over there. We then went to a huge church in a former Broadway theater in Times Square, but my parents wanted me to be in a more intimate setting where I could be more active in religious teaching, so we left that church as well. The next stop was a Lutheran church on Lexington Avenue. I really enjoyed this for a short while, until Sunday School was suddenly ended.
I kept nagging my parents to return to Sunday School, and so we eventually went on the search again and found Park Avenue United Methodist Church. My mother liked the church for reasons I had yet to appreciate: Diversity, Warmth, Community… also, a consistent Sunday School which meant that Mom didn’t have to deal with me annoying her during service. Mom also felt even more like she had found the right church as Mr. Carl had sent us a welcome card. As I got older, I also began to recognize why this church was the right home for us and not just a good place to play with friends after Sunday School.
Mr. Carl and Ms. Julie have provided amazing Bible lessons for me (and the rest of the class) through the years. We have lively discussions about the teachings of Jesus, the Apostles, and other major people from the bible, which helps me understand Christianity much better than I would have from other Sunday schools. In addition, I support the values and principles of PAUMC. I have a multi-denominational Christian heritage but I am proud to be the first Methodist in my family!
I know that after confirmation I would look at life in a different way. Confirmation class has helped me know how Jesus lived and has made me want live like him.
In John 8:12 Jesus said “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never have to walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
When you follow Jesus, you will be guided to a positive life. Through confirmation we learned the way God wants us to live.
I also know that being in this church will also help me be the light of Christ. This church gives me so many opportunities and activities such as community service and Saturday lunch program. They have also given me the opportunity to participate in the acting and choir programs. These are some ways the church helps people communicate and connect with each other. In Mark 12:31 it says “love your neighbor as yourself.” I give thanks to Jesus for the different ways this church has taught me to do that.
As I’m going deeper into my walk with Jesus Christ, it’s being able to understand what comes with it, knowing that it is going to be a long journey with an experience unimaginable. What is very interesting is that I’m at a point in time where this is the age where Jesus was preaching in the temple. He was twelve years old and I am thirteen with full knowledge of right from wrong and also knowing that my decisions affect others around me.
Being in the PAUMC is about the opportunities that the church has to offer that I am allowed to take advantage of such as attending Sunday school and participating in the various activities of the church and helping feed others on Saturday. There are always ways to give back in this church.
When it comes to that time in your life where you ask yourself questions like, should you continue as a Christian or have doubts toward your beliefs, what I say to myself is I’d rather die thinking there is a God.
Knowing who you are in this world is highly important and if the congregation can help me from confirmation classes to advice, it would be greatly appreciated. I would like to thank everyone for helping and guiding me into the path of Christian faith.
I like the church because it helps people. Many people are fed by the Saturday Lunch Program, children are made happier with donations, and people can find comfort in faith. The lunch programs are a specifically good thing because you get to not only feed the homeless, but also make connections and help them feel loved.
Loving one another is the way God wants us to live. The church spreads God’s message of love to many people, which is good for the whole world. By being confirmed, I God’s message even more. If more people hear this love-filled message, more people will be happy, and that happiness will be spread from person to person like wildfire.
Therefore, if being confirmed means making more people happy, I definitely want to be confirmed. After 12 years of coming to this church, I’m glad to be a real member.
Through this confirmation class, I have begun to recognize all the privileges I have and how fortunate I am. As a part of this class, we were asked to complete some community service work. I am not new to community service work having been a member of my school’s club “Chelsea Community Sports” in which we invited underprivileged kids from Chelsea to use our facilities and play sports with us as their mentors. These kids often expressed how amazed they were with the school and the facilities I take for granted and how they wished their schools had a gym and an excess of balls and toys for them to play with.
A couple weeks ago while at a College retreat in Massachusetts, I had the opportunity to volunteer with an organization called Hope and Comfort. They specialized in giving toiletries to those in need, for no charge. After realizing that the most requested item for many people in need was toiletries as they were not things often found in pantries or able to be purchased with food stamps. For a few hours, along with a group of other students, I helped pack small care packages consisting of: deodorant, soap, toothpaste, and a toothbrush, all of which were full sized items, and not the small, travel-sized ones. After we made these packages, we then made hand-written cards for the children who would be receiving the packages. Later on, we got in the organization’s van and actually drove over to a neighboring elementary school where we were able to hand out the packages and cards. The teacher explained to us that many of the children were bullied due to their hygiene and how much this meant to both her and the students. It was an amazing insight to see how basic items that I take for granted can completely change how one is treated and views themselves.
It is extremely important to recognize how fortunate we all are. And through confirming as a Methodist and accepting this church as my place of worship; I can continue to give back to the community around me and truly start to love my neighbors as God has intended for me.