I collect bookmarks as souvenirs when I travel. I love choosing just the right bookmark from my stash when I have a new book to read. Seeing the bookmarks brings back a flood of good memories (with one notable exception: a hair-raising trip up the St. Louis Arch).
The word souvenir is from the French verb for “to remember.” A souvenir is a mnemonic device—a memory prompt. We associate souvenirs with traveling, but we also keep souvenirs or mementos to remind us of important faith milestones. A family baptism gown, an engraved wedding band, a signed Bible—all those things help us remember the moments that shape our identity as people of God.
For decades the CRC has offered churches a profession of faith certificate that serves as a souvenir or memento of the day we affirm our baptism with a public profession. But the change in our Lord’s Supper practices called for a new “souvenir” since the wording on the old certificate is now out of date.
This brand-new profession of faith certificate reminds us of the eternal truth expressed in Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1: I BELONG. It’s available at faithaliveresources.org.
Belonging—along with knowing, having hope, and being called and equipped to use our gifts—is one of the four Building Blocks of Faith. When we affirm our baptism with a public profession of faith, we’re saying, “Yes, I belong to God. I belong in the body of Christ. I’m choosing to make my home here and to live as a child of God.”
CRC churches have identified a variety of other “souvenirs” to help people remember their profession of faith. Some gift people with a linen towel to remind them that their calling is to serve others, as Christ washed his disciples’ feet. Some invite church members to highlight their favorite passages in a gift Bible that’s presented to the person who is professing faith.
You’ll find these ideas and more in the new Professing Our Faith toolkit from Faith Formation Ministries. It contains dozens of free resources your church can use to create a culture of commitment, encourage and invite people to profess their faith, and celebrate those professions with the whole church family.
What “souvenirs” does your church provide to help people mark faith milestones?
I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below!