Confirmation and the Stephen Ministry

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It’s been a busy year for the Pollock family at our church.  My youngest daughter will be confirmed in November, and she’s currently taking a ten-month preparation course to learn about our church and her personal faith. Each confirmand is working with a mentor from the congregation, who discusses his or her faith journey and encourages their young partner in their own journey.  My daughter is blessed to be mentored by our lovely friend Catherine, who practices music therapy with the elderly.  She is a gentle, thoughtful woman who has many spiritual gifts to share.

She also has many culinary gifts to share!  The two of them teamed up in our kitchen yesterday to make brunch for our two families.  The gorgeous food pictured at the top of this post was part of the delicious meal they prepared.  I know that Rachel is in great hands as she and Catherine get to know each other on many levels this year.


It has also been a busy time for me, as I’ve been studying for the past six months to become a Stephen Minister. This program is a lay caring ministry, which provides Christian care to people who are in crisis or facing a life challenge.  I had been thinking about joining for years, but this year I knew the time was right. My friend Carrie and I have been in classes since November learning to care for those we’ll have the privilege of serving.  And last Sunday we were commissioned as new Stephen Ministers.  I was honoured to offer members of the congregation a blessing after communion, including Andrew and the girls.

The day before we were commissioned, Carrie and I met at the church with the rest of the Stephen Ministry team.  As a group, we baked a dozen loaves of bread which were served in the following day’s communion. Bread is featured in many Biblical passages, from the Feeding of the Five Thousand to the Last Supper.  And Gandhi has said, “There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”  I’m happy to share this simple bread recipe with you.

Irish Soda Bread
(from The Spirituality of Bread by Donna Sinclair)

1 ¾ cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp salt
2 cups unbleached white all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, including raisins if you want them.  Beat buttermilk and egg together and stir into the flour mixture.  Turn out onto lightly floured board or clean counter and knead briefly until smooth.  Divide the dough in two, shape into flattened rounds, and place on baking sheets.  With a very sharp knife, slash an X across the tops.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes.


34 comments:

Julie said...

What a beautiful thing to do! Congratulations!!! Your brunch looks lovely.

Jess said...

How wonderful for your daughter, and congratulations to you! The brunch picture is just gorgeous, and the bread is a type I've been wanting to try for a long time. It keeps slipping from my radar, so thanks for the recipe!

Ruth said...

Congratulations Beth! What a wonderful thing to become a part of. Truly, a way to "give back" to the community.

comfortablydomestic.com said...

Congratulations, Beth! What a blessing you will be to others.

Valerie said...

What a delicious array of food! It's been too long since I last made Irish soda bread.

And congratulations, Beth! Way to follow your heart on something so lovely. :-)

Carol said...

That is so lovely. Congratulations, Beth! The brunch looks so good!

Sweet And Crumby said...

Congratulations to you both. The bread looks so soft and delicious.

Joanne said...

What a wonderful way for your daughter to gain a new perspective on her faith, by spending time with her mentor this way. Best wishes to her, and congratulations to you too ...

justine said...

my mom is part of the Stephen Ministry at her church ... congratulations, and best wishes on what is a remarkable journey!!

Angie's Recipes said...

Congratulations Beth! The brunch looks so great!

Pacheco Patty said...

Congratulations Beth to you and your family;-)
I love Irish Soda Bread and really should make it once in awhile!

julie said...

Congratulations! So much exciting news for your family. Your daughter is definitely a budding chef; all her food looks delicious!

Jennifurla said...

you and your family sound like such great serving souls, that group you joined sounds like it is a blessing for you.

Rita said...

You and your family are living a wnoderful experience; congratulations! I have never made soda bread before, but now I am tempted to try it.
Rita

Belinda said...

Wow - congratulations to both of you! Beautiful bread.

allieksmith said...

How awesome that your youngest daughter has a mentor in the church! What lovely food they prepared too :)

Lydia K said...

Congratulations! Thanks for the recipe, too.

Sarah said...

Hi Beth! Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your nice note about my novel, The Violets of March! I hope you get a chance to read it. I LOVE Irish soda bread. I can't wait to try this recipe! xo, Sarah Jio

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

Congratulations and blessings to you in your new ministry. I will pray for your strength as you are being a strength and comfort to others.

And it was so sweet to read about your daughter and her mentor - what a wonderful way to connect, learn and share :)

LDH said...

Your heart of serving and providing care is most precious. Exciting to read of the growth and leading for both you and your daughter. The brunch looks delightful :)

thejoyofcaking said...

Beth, Congratulations on your new endeavor. I think it's amazing that you have devoted yourself to such a commitment. Best wishes to both you and your daughter! I'm sure your bread was welcomed by all.

Barbara said...

My congratulations, Beth! I am terribly impressed as your work is going to touch so many people. Thank you for doing such an important job.
And your daughter must be thrilled!
Good luck to you both!

michelangelo in the kitchen said...

God bless you Beth and your household! What brings to mind are the words of the Lord " Whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it for me." Thanks for the wonderful reminder! Cheers!

Janet Johnson said...

Congratulations! What a neat way to serve others. :)

Victoria said...

Congratulations, Beth! I'm glad you made a decision and were successful in your studies :) Also congrats to your daughter in doing so well in preparing for her confirmation.

Emma said...

What a lovely way to give back to your community, I hope it all goes well for you and your daughter :):)

Also, I really need to learn to make soda bread as it's part of my Irish heritage.

5 Star Foodie said...

Congrats for you and your daughter! And what a yummy Irish soda bread there!

thelittlespork said...

Congratulations, to you and your daughter! Your bread recipe looks so easy to make I'm tempted to try it out now!

shaz said...

Congratulations to you and your daughter Beth :) Great bread!

Medeia Sharif said...

Congrats to you and your daughter! And that food looks yummy.

Kristen said...

It sounds like a lot of great adventures are ahead of you and your family. Congratulations.

lapetitepancake said...

Congratulations on your decision! It's great to know there are all sorts of avenues of care for people in crisis. I'm sure you'll be a rockstar at it!

Jane said...

Isn't it great to watch our kids take part in these special milestones? This is a lovely post, Beth. I love the symbolism of bread, and the fact that it takes time and a meditative sense of calm to prepare. (I also think that that particular quotation from Gandhi, which I am quite familiar with, is one of the most moving statements that I've ever encountered.) For my church, I bake the little communion loaves that the minister breaks when he introduces communion, and also small loaves for shut-ins and any other folks who have a special need for a meal. Sometimes I feel humbled and honored to be able to do this. And, the fact that people have been baking bread since antiquity makes me feel connected to the past in an enduring way.

Sue said...

Congrats Beth, on your new spiritual endeavors!

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