Introduction

Photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17

This site was designed to provide convenient access to resources that I refer to during confirmation class. This site does not replace the face-to-face conversations in our regular classes. It is designed to provide supplemental materials to fill in the background, to whet the appetite, and sometimes to push a confirmand beyond what she might be expected to master. Some of this material is obviously only for more adventurous students.

I should note that the "review and discuss" questions were originally organized for a ten-week study that included units from each category. The last week also included information about our local presbytery's and congregation's histories and government. I encourage you to organize this material in any way that suits your curriculum.

These pages were initially started back in 2003 for use with confirmands in a small Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation here in Chicago. I've heard from over a dozen educators inside and outside of the PCUSA since then who used pieces of this material in their classes. I'm tickled to pieces that anyone finds these pages useful. I built them initially to hold my notes for teaching, and now I hope to make them useful to the larger Church. They are freely offered to anyone of any religious tradition who finds them useful. If you have the time, I'd love to hear what you've been able to use of this material and how you integrated it into your curriculum. Additionally, if you find errors in the coding or in the text, please let me know at stu@stusmith54.com.

You're welcome to link to these pages, or, if you're technologically inclined, you're welcome to cut and paste this code into your own website. All I ask is that you link back here and that you respect my desire to keep these supplementary materials available without charge to everyone.

Finally, one personal request, I'd like to encourage and challenge all religious educators to teach beyond the facts of our faith traditions. We're not called to train obedient pew fillers but revolutionaries. Let's teach our young people enough about the structure of our denominations and local congregations so that they will be equipped to reform today's visible church into something more aligned with Jesus' teachings. It is our present shame that most young people and non-Christian adults associate Christianity, not with Jesus' teaching, but with exclusion of LGBTQ persons and contempt for poor persons. According to the pollsters, in 2013, people outside our walls associate Christianity with only one kind of love. . . . The love of money.

Never forget that no ministry in the Church is more important than what we are called to. Let's pray for one another.

Best Wishes,
Stu Smith
Chicago, Illinois
September 2013