We are gearing up for one of my favorite times in the life of the church - the National Youth Gathering! This is an opportunity that has not happened since COVID-19 to come together with 40,000 other teenagers and adult leaders to worship, learn, and serve together. In July of 2024, the next National Youth Gathering will be held in New Orleans, LA. The theme: Created to Be. What does that mean?
The Holy One designed us to function as our true selves. Since the ELCA last held a Youth Gathering, the young population has encountered many important happenings. At present, we are dealing with a prolonged public health issue as well as economic and political issues. Yet, we can find comfort in knowing that we were made for relationship with each other.
Our purpose is to be courageous, to appear with an open attitude and spirit that is willing to be tested.
We are meant to be genuine, to offer our whole selves and to recognize that we are cherished by our Maker.
We are intended to be liberated, to be changed by the gospel.
Our mission is to be disruptive, to fight for equity for all our brothers and sisters.
Our destiny is to be disciples, to be dispatched into the world to love our neighbor in the same manner we are loved by God.
The city of New Orleans has long been a place of unique authenticity. Our theme of "Created to Be" focuses on the arts, music, and soul that make this city so vibrant and resilient. It was designed to be an open gathering place for people from all walks of life.
At the Gathering, we intend to engage in dialogues regarding justice, mental health, and anti-racism. Though these conversations will be difficult, it is necessary for our church to have them. Additionally, we wish to form meaningful relationships and be a refuge to one another. We are all flawed and require mercy when we are unable to act as courageous, genuine, liberated, revolutionary followers of Christ.
Curious to know more? So am I! Stay tuned this year and I'll share as much information as I can. If you are a youth who would like to go with us and will have completed 8th grade through 12th grade by next summer, you are welcome to join us!