Earlier this month she became confirmed as a Presbyterian at the Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church (LRPC) -- a PCUSA church for those who understand the differences. This means, in the eyes of the church she is an adult with the rights and privileges that come with adulthood -- mostly the ability to vote and the expectation to pay apportionment to the Presbytery (a relatively small fee most Presbyterians don't realize the church is required to pay the Presbytery).
This followed a school year's worth of classes every Sunday morning between the two worship services, as well as some field trips. The field trips were fun. One was to our former church, First Presbyterian Church of Hamilton Square, to see their contemporary service.
She had to write a statement of faith, which was I found to be very moving. She also choose a mentor. In her case, the mentor's name is also Ashley, but that was certainly not a requirement. Ashley E was thrilled to be chosen. Both Ashley's love animals and are kind to people.
Ashley and her classmates led worship one Sunday in April. Ashley's roles were giving the children's sermon and the benediction. The scripture reading was Luke 8:26-39 -- Jesus chasing the demons out of Legion and into the pigs. After a little bit of research on the topic (otherwise known as googling, shh... don't tell my librarian colleagues) I came across this story where the children were told about sea urchins and how they look ugly, but is beautiful on the inside. We talked i through, and came up with showing a picture of Sandy Dragon - how he looks scary on the outside, but his spikes are just for show and are the softest parts of his body. How Jesus was not afraid when he met Legion -- who was one very scary looking person -- and how we should be more like Jesus who was not afraid even though he looked strange. If I can find the actual text, I'll add it in later. She did an awesome job, much better than my paraphrasing.
Her benediction was a take on the new Cinderella movie "Have courage and be kind." Not sure if anyone got that.
Prior to the service on May 10, Session had a special meeting to "grill" them (so it felt to the kids, I suspect) and vote them in as official members.
It was a beautiful service.
This Spring we attended a bar and bat mitzvah service -- a first for all of us. At the bar mitzvah the mother made a speech which resonated with me. To echo her sentiments, and modify them for our little girl:
So now the church considers you to be an adult. But we don't think of you this way. You won't have to now move out and get a job to support yourself. Your top job is still to be a student. We will still support you and pay for your education. It is time, though, to take on more responsibilities. Time to help others, and to help us. You are awesome. We love you.