Every three years, 30,000 high school youth and their adult leaders from across the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gather for a week of faith formation known as the ELCA Youth Gathering. Through days spent in interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service and fellowship, young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives.
Monday morning we departed from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
After driving the max hours we could for the day, we arrived in Joplin, MO
We stayed over night with 3 other groups on their way to Houston at Peace Lutheran Church
Tuesday morning we were back on the road to Houston!
We stopped for some Houston BBQ @ The Pit Room
Wednesday morning we left for Galveston, TX
We spent our day at the beach, enjoying the Gulf.
That night, we headed over to the NRG Stadium where we would attend the opening mass gathering
That night we heard powerful messages from Bishop Eaton, Rev. Tuhina Rasche (a former Hindu), and Bryan Stevenson (Alabama Lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative). We also heard from Houston’s own spoken word poet, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, and blind musician Ginny Owens.
Thursday was SYNOD Day.
All the youth from the Northeasten Iowa Synod gathered together from 11:30-3 for an extended and interactive worship service.
We focused on the story of the Woman at the Well
Later that evening we joined together again with 31,209 others at the NRG Stadium to hear more awesome speakers! We heard from Caroline Meeker, Deacon Erin Power, Rev. Aaron Fuller, and Marlon Hall with his memorable daughter, Phoenix.
In 2018, our group partnered with neighboring ELCA churches in Dubuque: St. Peter's, Lord of Life, and St. John's. We prepared together before the trip, traveled to Houston together, and stayed together for the duration of the trip. We hope to continue working together in the future!
Have you been looking for ways to grow your faith after finishing Confirmation classes? Our High School meetings are taking a summer break. If you're interested in attending in the Fall, talk with Sara McCaw about ideas you have and things you'd like to do!
There are five components to the gathering:
Worship - Each day 30,000+ youth and adults will gather to hear the day's scripture and theme articulated by engaging speakers and musicians
Proclaim Justice Day - day of service in Houston
Proclaim Story Day - day for exploratory learning in synods
Proclaim Community Day - activity in the interactive center
Community Life - Evening activities will take place at the hotels and other venues each night, which will include the Final 15, a home group devotional and sharing time.
This year's ELCA Youth Gathering met in Houston, TX from June 27th - July 1st. Read about our trip and let Sara McCaw know if you're interested in attending the 2021 Youth Gathering in Minneapolis! (age range: going into 9th grade - just graduated high school)
Want to know more about the speakers? Click here or visit the ELCA page on youtube to hear them for yourself!
At the gathering over $260,000 was raised for the ELCA Global Farm, 437 people donated hair (including 3 from our group), 987 people donated blood, 40,000 books were donated, and 200 grace bags and 100 kindness project rocks were made. Thanks be to God!
What did we do on our 2018 Gathering to Houston? Here's a little taste:
Friday was our day of service!
We served at Blackshear Elementary School
Blackshear is in Houston’s Historic 3rd ward
The elementary school is 101 years old!
Many of the students who attend are poor and come from single parent households, or no parent households.
Their current principle has been there for 3.5 years and has raised the school up to greatness and it is now thriving!
We spent the day repainting around the school grounds so that everything would be bright and looking like new when the next school year started!
We then ate lunch at Emancipation Park where we got to hear from the granddaughter of Rev. Yates who was part of the group of freed black slaves who bought and founded the park and the local High School.
That night we were back at the mass gathering to hear more powerful messages from Elizabeth Peter, Rev. Will Starkweather, Michaela Shelley, Jasmine Seguarra, and Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber!
Saturday we explored the Interactive Center which was FULL of information booths, activities, and every ministry you can think of that the ELCA is a part of!
After this, the group explored the NASA Space Center!
Finally, we geared up for the final mass gathering at the NRG Stadium where we heard from Rev. Dr. Stephen Bouman (pastor blocks from the Twin Towers during 9/11), Carson McCullar, Joe Davis, Maria Rose Belding, Rebekah Bruesehoff, and spoken word poet Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton.
Sunday morning we ended with a mass worship service in the NRG Stadium.