My Confirmation by Evalyn Paulson
Now that confirmation time has arrived again, a good friend suggested that I tell you about my confirmation on June 8, 1930. This is my story.
As early as 1923, when I was in
the third grade, we learned that our hometown,
When I became 14 years old in
September 1929, my parents, John and Augusta Jacobson, knew that I had reached
the age of confirmation. It did not take them long to figure out a way for me
to be confirmed in spite of there being no Lutheran church in town. I could
take the train on Friday afternoons to
Since my father was a locomotive
engineer on the B R & P Railroad, his family was given passes for railroad
travel. My mothers sister, Aunt Amanda, who lived in
My father had told me to take
note in the Spring of the wild rhododendrons and
azaleas that grew near the tracks, for he knew the forest well. His normal run
On Fridays, on my way to
Our confirmation class met in the
little social hall at the foot of the
As you can imagine, I was not particularly overjoyed at this phase of my life. To spend Saturday mornings in class with a group of strangers was not something I was eager to do. But I did not question the wisdom of my parents. To be confirmed at the age of fourteen, was as natural a rite of passage for a Lutheran family, as entering first grade at the age of six. I can also report that these thirty strangers became my friends, and the memory of my confirmation day is an outstanding day in my life. In fact, we became so comfortable with each other that we met again in the church to celebrate two reunions our 50th and 60th.
On that day so long ago, an
important part of the service was the examination of the confirmands
knowledge of Luthers Small Catechism all five parts. Each of us was
asked a question and each responded. We were not told previously what question
we would be asked. I am certain the pastor knew the ability of each of us to
memorize. Therefore the questions must have been tailored to the ability of
each. An easy question might be: What is the 4th Commandment? or
Tell us what the 2nd Article of the Creed is? or What are the 2
sacraments observed by the
We sat in our usual semi-circle
at the front of the church facing Pastor Bomgren.
Behind him was the wonderful altar painting, The Ascension, painted by the
well-known Swedish artist Birger Sandzen.
Incidentally, this painting was installed in 1929, and is still there.
Hymns were sung, the organist at the old pump organ contributed to the making of a joyful sound, the sermon was given, and the service was over. We had demonstrated our faith. We had each been given a gift from the church, The Holy Bible, with our names printed in gold on the cover. Next Sunday would be the proper time to take our first communion, according to the protocol of the Augustana Synod. My old Bible I handle carefully because pieces of the cover keep peeling off, but the hard covered catechism is holding together well. I thumb through the little book, and note the last sentence of the explanation of each of the three parts of the Creed, which I repeat here: This is most certainly true.
On the presentation page of our Bibles, Pastor Bomgren had written the chapter and verse number that he thought might be important to us. On mine he wrote Psalm 119. Verse 33 reads: Teach me, O Jehovah, the way of thy statutes, and I shall keep it unto the end.
I wish I could show you my confirmation picture. Sixteen girls are there in white dresses of various styles, reaching just below the knee, and white stockings and shoes. Fifteen boys are dressed in dark suits, white shirts, and ties. We look as presentable as any class in any age. Since 1930 was one of the dismal years of the Great Depression, I believe our trim appearance is a tribute to our parents, who surely sacrificed and managed well in their devotion to their children and their church.
I am glad that I have had the experience of confirmation, that I had the unswerving strength and understanding of my parents, and that I was able to learn at least a little of what Martin Luther so fervently believed. I like to think that my confirmation has guided my faith to this day.