The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'When God shows up, lives will change'

2012 Youth Gathering focuses on strengthening faith

Just as the popular New Orleans meal of gumbo requires all the proper ingredients, Yehiel Curry, pastor of Shekinah Chapel in Chicago, told participants the ELCA Youth Gathering needs all of its diversity to be successful. "Look around, we are like one big pot of gumbo," he said at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome while attending the event with 14 youth from Shekinah.

ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson
ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson tweets at the Superdome

For the first time in ELCA Youth Gathering history, the event was held in the same city in consecutive three-year periods. It took place in New Orleans in 2009, but gathering director Heidi Hagstrom didn't think the work was done. "God wasn't finished with us there," she said. "Returning to New Orleans was a perfect opportunity to model for young people the ELCA's practice of accompaniment as the way we are in mission locally and globally."

With 33,309 young Lutherans from across the country gathered in the Crescent City, this year's event certainly had the necessary ingredients. This diverse crowd focused on one word — change. Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson made this clear during his opening-night speech at the Superdome. As he urged the youth to let Jesus surprise them, energy filled the arena. Then Hanson shot his arms out into the air yelling: "Watch out. When God shows up, lives will change."

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February issue


Embracing diversity