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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Wanted: All parents

Not having success getting your members to come to adult education classes? Why not try making them?

Martha Maier, a pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Corvallis, Ore., requires parents to attend confirmation classes with their children.

When she first came to Grace, confirmation classes were unruly. And once they had been confirmed, the youth--and often their parents--quit coming to worship.

Maier believed the youth would behave and that learning together would build fellowship among families if parents attended.

"Not as many parents as I expected balked at the idea," said Maier, who started the joint classes five years ago. "And what I hadn't anticipated is the building up of community among the parents. I realized after the fact that these parents didn't often know each other.

"I think parents see the benefits of interacting with their kids, and they are learning something too."

Maier said the project is working. The youth program is stronger now and the dropout rate among families with a confirmed child has decreased.

Often parents even show up when their child is sick because they don't want to miss anything.

"I started telling the parents that if their kids couldn't come and they made it I would give their kid credit," Maier said. "I thought at least they would take some of [what we learned] home and discuss it. One time I had a parent with a daughter who made two sessions and the mother made all the rest."


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October issue

OCTOBER issue:

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