This spring two Eastern PA Conference Camp & Retreat Centers are eager to welcome youth from across EPA and the Greater New Jersey Conference to their 2024 Confirmation Retreats in April, where they can enjoy the beauty and diversity of God’s Creation together, while learning important lessons for a lifetime.
“We are delighted to invite confirmation classes to join us for the much-anticipated spring confirmation retreats at Gretna Glen & Pocono Plateau,” says Apryl Miller, director of Gretna GlenCamp & Retreat Center. “These unique events create an awesome experience for confirmands, mentors, pastors, and the church family to unite and wholeheartedly embrace the United Methodist Connection.”
Gretna Glen in Lebanon and Pocono Plateau in Cresco will each encourage confirmands to explore their Christian and Methodist identity, grow in their faith journeys, and understand their gifts and roles as young members of the body of Christ. The cost is $120 per youth confirmand and $50 for accompanying adults.
Gretna Glen Confirmation Retreat: April 12-14
“Are You Ready to Embrace Your Faith?” That’s the big question confirmands will seek to answer as they explore the five vows of confirmation: prayer, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Each vow is brought to life through the active participation of the confirmands in hands-on activities, a local mission experience, thoughtful discussions, and reflective sessions that draw meaningful parallels between the sacrament of confirmation and the embodiment of a life guided by actionable faith. They will also experience teambuilding, the trust trail and evening worship around a campfire.
The retreat’s key scripture verse is 1 Corinthians 12:12: The body is one and has many members, but all the members, many though they are, are one body; and so it is with Christ. The culmination will unfold as the confirmands assume leadership roles during the Sunday church service—a pivotal moment that stands as a highlight of the entire experience.
Pocono Plateau Confirmation Retreat: April 19–21
“My Methodist Identity” is what confirmands will explore. Professing one’s commitment to live out the United Methodist baptismal and membership covenant vows is an important life decision for our confirmands. This retreat provides space for confirmands to join with youth from other congregations as they explore their identity and purpose as Christians in the Methodist faith.
As confirmands wrap up a series of classes in their local church, they might wonder what is next? Our retreat builds off lessons learned in those confirmation classes and prepares confirmands to reflect on how to use their gifts, faith, purpose, and Christian identity in daily living. Confirmands will use these gifts to create and lead Sunday’s closing worship as an expression of their voice as a new member of the United Methodist Church.
The retreat’s key scripture verse is Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Learn more and register.
Opportunities for collective spiritual growth
“We encourage everyone to join us on this journey as we provide opportunities for collective spiritual growth and deepen our understanding of Christ’s calling in shaping who we are meant to be,” says Miller. She offers further insights on the purpose and value of confirmation retreats at our Eastern PA camps:
Confirmation retreats have an important heritage at our camps. Thousands of youth going through their church’s confirmation process have enjoyed this religious retreat experience with others as a part of their Christian journey. They are an excellent tool to help churches shepherd their confirmands into a life of Christian faith, values and relationships.
These retreats are designed to help young students understand the vows of confirmation and to embrace their faith as their own. To share this experience with youth from other churches helps show them the gift of the body of Christ. There is no better environment in which young people can have this experience than at our Eastern PA Camp & Retreat Ministries sites.