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The “Explore” program has replaced our traditional confirmation class as a way for students to dig deeper into what it means to live out the Christian Faith.  It is NOT a confirmation class, but a special time for students and their mentors to “Explore” what faith means for them through twelve weeks of action and reflection with others. On January 14 we had our first “Explore Retreat” with 17 students and their mentors. We started to share our stories and ourselves with each other, understanding that it is through relationships that God most often speaks into our lives. Then we spent much of our time listing the actions that Christians are called to take part in. These ranged from the specific (“Help at Out Of The Cold”) to the general (“care for the earth”), the expected (“Worship”), to the thought provoking (“laugh”). After collecting and discussing them all, we identified our 10 Touchstones. These are the Christian actions that everyone will perform in different ways. We will reflect on our experiences together and what they tell us about living out the way of Jesus. We have a wonderfully thoughtful and creative group going through Explore this year and we are very excited to see where God will lead them.

Definition of EXPLORE:

–  explored; exploring

transitive verb
— to investigate, study, or analyze
— to look into
— to become familiar with by testing or experimenting
— a program of State College Presbyterian Church

2017 Explore Schedule

  • January 5 ~ Mentor Training
  • January 6-7 ~ Explore Retreat at Krislund

Partners plan Stepping Stones in between gatherings

  • January 22 ~ Touchstone Gathering #1 — 12:30 – 2:30 pm with lunch after church
  • February 26 ~ Touchstone Gathering #2 –12:30 – 2:30 pm with lunch after church
  • March 26 ~ Touchstone Gathering #3 — 12:30 – 2:30 pm with lunch after church
  • April 18 ~ Welcome Dinner with select Session representatives and Communion (youth to decide whether to join the church)
  • April 23 ~ Milestone:  Joining the church

Please contact Deannine Shipman, Director of Education and Program or Michael Ozaki, Associate Pastor for Youth and Mission at 238-2422 if you have questions about “Explore”.

Terms for EXPLORE:

Mentors — Adult partners willing to share their own faith and committed to explore faith with youth

Mentos — A small mint candy; fun name for youth in Explore program

Touchstone Gatherings — monthly meetings with all youth/partners/staff

Stepping Stones — activities and practices that partners/youth choose together to explore their faith

Milestones — an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development, such as joining the church and/or being baptized