The Importance of Mentors
Almost two weeks ago, as many of you know, I was ordained to the priesthood. At the rehearsal Bishop Hahn addressed us all, stating the fact that it is the work and effort of our nursery workers, Sunday school teachers, choir masters, youth leaders, and other church associated mentors who have helped us to be molded and formed into the Christians we are today. He reminded us that it takes the work of the church to make a Christian adult (lay or ordained). And as I thought back to all those who had assisted me on my journey I saw how true this was. From my parents church friends to my choir director and the women priests who mentored me along my way, it has been those adults in the church and simple act of their presence that has truly had the biggest impact on my formation and journey towards the priesthood. Having had positive and repeated interactions with adults in the church, as a child and a youth, I have been able to see and experience what it means to be a mature active member in the Body of Christ.
As I reflect on these experiences and the words of Bishop Hahn I have begun to think about the amazing and formational work that our Confirmation mentors and doing with the their mentees. This year our 9th and 10th grade students are going through the Confirmation process preparing for their Confirmation on April 26th. As they prepare to confirm their baptismal vows and make a mature affirmation of their faith before the Bishop and our congregation they have begun to meet regularly with a mentor from our church.
These mentors are adult members of the Cathedral who are dedicating their time and efforts to the formation and guidance of our youth. Their commitment to our youth is one not only of time and energy, but of spiritual strength and interpersonal connections. They are journeying through the beliefs and understandings of our faith, discovering not only the beliefs and understandings of our young people, but my guess is rediscovering (or redefining) their own as well. The connections that these mentors and mentees are coming to create will be the foundational in their understanding of the what and who the church is. When these young persons look back on their time at the church of their childhood I hope, and believe, that they will remember the adult who took the time and energy to give them positive and life affirming attention. I hope, and believe that through these relationships they will know that they are loved and accepted in the church to which they confirm their faith and membership.