A big thing: confirmation in the Cape district
Confirmation in the Cape district is always a big affair—in more ways than one. Alone the sheer number of young Christians who make their vow is amazing and then there are often big celebrations that take place afterwards.
About 4,500 young New Apostolic Christians at the Cape of Good Hope assumed the responsibility for their faith this year—a number that is not untypical for this region. The confirmands made their vows this past Sunday, 10 April 2016.
A big step
This step into a self-determined life of faith means a lot to the young generation. “I am happy for my confirmation because it will bring me closer to God,” Tyler Jongebloed from Claremont says, for example. He is one of more than 30 confirmands from the Retreat Bishop Area who created an electronic greeting card with their thoughts and sent it to their Apostle. .
Apostle John George Stephens quoted some of the statements during the confirmation service. One of them was from Jenna Roman from Heathfield congregation, for whom the year before confirmation was a challenge, as she says. It was challenging to find God inside her, she says. She can believe now and understands that not all of her questions can be answered, but she has learned to have faith.
A big event with a big celebration
For some the celebrations after the divine service are a big event: a hall is hired and guests are invited—much like a wedding. In those congregations where the numbers are smaller, the confirmands may go to a restaurant to celebrate the occasion with their family and friends. In some cases the rector arranges a celebration with the congregation and all the confirmands. Generally, the confirmands celebrate at home with family and friends, with ministers coming to visit them throughout the course of the Sunday.
Confirmation is an accepted practice in South African society, as the majority of the population is Christian, Kenny Kotze, the spokesman of the Cape district, says. “Within the communities the New Apostolic Church is well-known for its confirmation, as members of the community are invited to celebrate with the families.” In fact, friends and neighbours are often part of the preparations that are made for confirmation.
A weekend of fellowship
A week before the confirmands recite their vows before God, they are invited to a special divine service. Since not all confirmands can be invited to the service that the District Apostle holds—because not even one of the largest New Apostolic churches in the world (Tafelsig) could hold them all—District Apostle Barnes visits a different district each year. This year he was in Oudtshoorn.
The weekend gave the confirmands the opportunity to have fellowship and participate in exciting activities: a trip to the Cango Caves and to Seal Island. Seal Island is a tiny island off False Bay, near Cape Town, known for its big population of Cape fur seals and sightings of great white sharks. The Cango Caves are one of the most beautiful cave systems in the world.
So already before their confirmation the girls and boys were able to enjoy a youth activity that so far they had only ever heard about. But most of all they are excited about finally being able to be an active member in their congregation, as the card of the Retreat group shows. The wish that was expressed the most was to serve God and the congregation—in the choir and the orchestra.