St. Matthias’, East Aurora Shares Confirmation Class Projects

This year, the Confirmation class at St. Matthias’ Episcopal Church in East Aurora was given a challenge: they were given an assignment to pick one topic that the class had covered (and they covered a LOT in a short time), and dig a bit deeper into their topic, creating a project around it.

When they were finished, the Rev. Ann Tillman, Rector of St. Matthias’, shared their projects with the congregation, and gave her permission for us to share her descriptions of their projects with the entire diocese.  Photos by John Whitney.


Brochure by Shane

This thoughtful and beautifully written brochure elaborates on the following:

  • What Is Confirmation?
  • Why Get Confirmed?
  • Confirmation at St. Matthias
  • Reaffirmation and Reception

This offering will serve our parish for many years to come!


Anglican Prayer Beads by Kate

Kate combined her interest in deepening her spiritual life with her care for all of God’s Creation and made these beautiful Anglican Prayer Beads. One enters prayer with prayer beads through the cross or some other symbol of Christ. Kate chose a stunning Tree of Life into which she put a beautiful river stone from her happy place at Allegany State Park. She and her mom made a special trip just for this project.

Kate told me that she held each bead before stringing it, to make sure that it felt just right for praying. Her prayers for the different kinds of beads are beautiful. For example at the cruciform beads the prayer is, “Show me ways to make a difference, the little things I can do so I can help those who seem more helpless than me,” and at the beads called the “Weeks” (the smallest and most numerous), the prayer is, “Love all creation, love everything.” Amen!


Stained Glass Windows by Shelby

Shelby’s project itself looks like a colorful window! Each pane tells a story: of the origins of stained glass, about medieval stained glass, and the appearance of stained glass in sculptures, churches, and homes. She embellished her project with some of her own wonderfully imagined designs!


Finger Labyrinth by Maggie

The Wonders of the World (excerpt)

Take these hands
these precious hands
that you have given us
to feel the wonders of the world

These eyes you gave
us to see the world
the beautiful things
in the wonders of the world

You gave us feet
to feel the ground
to walk to the places
where we can find
the wonders of the world…

…We need your gifts
to us
to see
and reach
and run
and walk
and touch
and feel
the wonders
of the world


Biblical Rap References by Ryan

Ryan recognized a lot of biblical food for thought as he listened to rap music, and shared three examples in his project, offering a brief exegesis of each one.

In the first, “Chance talks about how he uses The Bible as a guide for life and how he does not talk to the demons that will impede his success.”

In the second, Chance repeats over and over, “How great is our God.” Ryan notes that he goes on for over 3 minutes making that point.

In the last one, 2Pac “explores that even in his most dangerous situations god (sic) is walking next to him and keeping him safe.”


God’s Grace by Brianna

In her painting entitled “God’s Grace,” Brianna uses somewhat abstract figures to represent the things she learned in class. She writes, “The blue figure above the praying man is God…many think of God as a presence instead of a living person. There is a lot of what looks to be like sharp pointy things coming down towards the praying man which God is shielding him from. This represents that we can always look to God when we are unsure of things. However, some of those points are coming out of God as well. I chose to do this since in confirmation class we learned that having a faith isn’t always easy. When you look at the man praying you will notice that his hands are together and it almost looks as if God is reaching down to them. … we pray with our hands together in order to imagine God wrapping his hands around ours. Finally, the drawing is covered in little white dots which are snow. I heard in a sermon at church (Canon Cathy Dempesy-Sims’ sermon on the Baptism of Our Lord) to imagine snow as God’s grace falling from the sky. Like snow, this grace doesn’t only fall on a chosen few, it falls on everyone.”


Portable Altar by Calvin

Cal built a portable altar for us to use out in our garden or on parish camping trips or wherever we might find ourselves in need of an altar. Rich trinitarian symbols pervade this altar: it is made of 3 kinds of wood – oak, maple, and pine; the structure is 3-sided (the two short sides fold toward the front and can be bolted together for ease of transport!); there are three hooks holding the wooden “frontal,” and, of course the frontal displays Anglican theologian Richard Hooker’s emphasis on balancing Scripture, Tradition, and Reason when we look to them as guides for wisdom and understanding.

Cal did his research, and embedded a mensa in the table top. Just under the little cross (shown above) is a disk under which is embedded a consecrated Host. The Real, Mystical Presence of Christ essentially resides forever in this extraordinary altar.

The dedication and blessing of an altar is typically reserved to the Bishop, and with Bishop Franklin’s express permission, Cal’s altar was duly blessed on Sunday and will be used in our sanctuary throughout Lent.

As the altar and other projects and people were being ‘censed, the choir sang a lively piece called Room at the Table. Click here to hear the composer sing her fabulous music!

Let our hearts not be hardened
To those living in the margins,
There is room at the table for everyone.
This is where it all begins,
This is how we gather in,
There is room at the table for everyone.