The Confirmation Retreat this past weekend was a fantastic undertaking by our Youth Ministry Team!  Fourteen of seventeen senior Confirmation students gathered on the Trinity Downtown campus to participate in a half day marathon of activities focused on celebrating & preparing them for Confirmation Day and their adult lives in the body of Christ! The retreat theme was “Deny your #selfie: Take up your cross and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)  Many thanks to Thrivent for generously providing “seed money” through their Action Teams program which also supported a small service project of putting together self-care bags for those in need.

Mixing equal parts education, encouragement, silliness and craftiness — these students were able to enjoy a day of fellowship and activity and learned a lot in the process.  The day concluded with an excellent meal in Fellowship Hall and with all the youth serving in worship as ushers, greeters, readers, acolytes — and even singing the Lord’s Prayer accompanied by sign language!

conf serv project and gym


banner making collage

Jenn Blackwood shares how it all started

Last year, my daughter was beginning her confirmation instruction years and Trinity was in time of transition.  It had been 10 years since I taught “religion class”, but felt like this was important and needed, plus I would get to be with my girl, so I said “go for it- teach for a year!” Then I met our first year confirmation students.  These were faces I had known since they were babies.  They were great kids! We walked through First Communion instruction and Old Testament/New Testament studies.  Of course, I now wanted to keep plugged in with this class and Trinity changed back to the 2 year instruction cycle so this class would join with the class ahead of them to form “Sr. Confirmation Class”.  More faces that I have known since babies!  Trinity Elder, Tim Norris willingly jumped in with the instruction part and I was able to do “fun and fellowship”.  (THANK YOU TIM)  We met every other Sunday afternoon for 2 hours.  That time included instruction and fellowship.

Retreat Schedule

1:00  Arrival and take #selfie

1:15-1:45 Bible study: (Mr. Tony Ramiz and Mrs. Jenn Blackwood)

“What does it mean to deny yourself and take up your cross to follow Christ”?

2:00-2:30 Fun and games!  TEAM BUILDING (Ms. Laura Ramiz)

2:30-2:50 American Sign Language, The Lord’s Prayer (Mrs. Blackwood and Ms. Laura Ramiz)

Grab a snack

3:00-3:45 The Lord’s Prayer Study (Pastor Martin and Mr.Tim Norris)

3:45-4:15 Mosaic crosses and Class banner for Church (Mrs. Jan Eggert and Ms. Chanda Gillenwater)

4:15-4:45 How to keep a prayer journal (Deaconess Liz Borth)

4:45-5:15 What’s your word? Washer bracelet making (Mrs. Brink and Team)

5:15 Let’s break bread!  nom nom nom!  (Mrs. Ramiz and Team)

Eat dinner, freshen up, practice ASL for worship

6:00 Worship together- we will have the opportunity to serve in different ways at worship tonight. This is part of being a confirmed member of the congregation.  SERVICE!

I had a day today that will be one of those days I will remember for a long, long time. Friends helping make a vision for a retreat for Confirmation be so much more than I expected was one thing. Taking communion with confirmation class all kneeling together- overwhelming. Food! Crafts! Prayer! God’s Word in this whacked world we live in! 14 confirmands whom I love and who make me laugh. A long and blessed day! Thank you Carmen and Tony, Janet, Laura, Mary Beth, Deaconess Liz, Chanda, Tim and Pastor Jim Martin. You became a retreat team and always my friends. Thank you!

Mrs. Jenn Blackwood

activity collage, food, Tony, Deaconess... collage

Jump forward to retreat weekend!

Youth Ministry Team member Jenn Blackwood recruited wonderful friends and role models to help make her vision for a Sr. Confirmation Reteat come to life as something purposeful and meaningful for our Sr. Confirmands. These servants willingly gave of their time in planning and on Saturday, April 30 to serve 14 of our 17 Confirmands.  Mrs. Blackwood said, “They became a ‘retreat team’ and have remained my friends.  Thank you. It’s just two simple words, but meant deeply – thank you CARMEN AND TONY RAMIZ, LAURA RAMIZ, MARY BETH BRINK, and JANET EGGERT.  Deaconess Liz Borth and Ministry Coordinator, Chanda Gillenwater also willingly jumped in to make this day run smoothly, while Tim Norris and Pastor Martin were able to focus on some important bits of instruction to make sure these kids are confident in their words ‘I BELIEVE’.”

Confirmation Sunday

Confirmation Day for these amazing young adults is on Sunday, May 15th at 11am worship.  Mrs. Blackwood says you’ll see her there, she’ll be the one crying!  “Actually I suspect many tears by many.  This is just one of those times in life – BIG stuff.  It is overwhelming to see the Lord’s hand at work in their lives and to be praying these kids keep their confirmation instruction close to their heart and in their every day dealings. Thank you to our Trinity Family – for showing your support, for reading this blog about our youth, for caring, for donating items for service project, and for praying for these kids.  I kinda love them a lot (one in particular) but this whole class and our experiences together have blessed me.”

What’s Next?

These kids and families are the future of this congregation – our church family – and the Body of Christ in general.  Mrs. Blackwood shares, “We all need to invest the necessary time and effort, as a family, to keep these kids plugged in and support these families as they raise their children in this church home.  Recently it was said to me to keep these kids together not just as Youth Ministry, but YOUTH IN MINISTRY.  I’ll be honest, I am praying about it.  It is important!”

Join with us in praying for and equipping the Youth Ministry Team of Trinity Downtown. Let’s continue to GROW TOGETHER!  Contact the office if you’re ready to get connected! Email or call 407-488-1919 x101.

Among the many blessings of our confirmands’ Retreat, two stand out for me:

1) The huge blessing of so many Trinity adults: their participation with the students in retreat activities provided a variety of mentor/role models.  So important for young people to stay connected with the Lord and His church through caring people.

2) The participation of our confirmands in the 6pm worship service gave our worshipers an opportunity to see them in action, as they led various parts of the service.

What a joy to see their growing maturity and their leadership abilities in action!

Pastor Jim Martin

When I was in grade school, I was blessed with a group of friends that seem to connect in a very positive way.  My mother told me there was always something special about our group.  We even had a 30th reunion of our 8th grade class.  Trinity’s 2016 Confirmation class reminded me of that something special my mother had described to me about my grade school group.  I was honored to share time with 14 students while they had fun playing games, eating, crafting and deepening their faith last Saturday.  The 4 hours flew by and I so enjoyed my time with them, that I decided to stay a little longer for the worship service.  The church was full, the youth were dressed in matching T-shirts, they read the lessons and led prayers; a wonderful and full day ended with a wonderful and full worship time together.  Thank you to the time, talent and energy of Jenn Blackwood and for her invitation to share a small gift of my time being blessed by this great group of kids.
Deaconess Liz Borth

selfies in church collage