The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Gatherings grow our faith

The gathering results in a lasting journey of faith

Chaperoning a handful of teens to the ELCA Youth Gathering can be a headache. You might secretly be glad it only comes around every three years. From fundraising tirelessly to traveling to the gathering to waiting in lines thousands deep once you’re there, the experience can be overwhelming and downright exhausting.

I’ve witnessed this spectacle through two different lenses — as a youth six years ago in Atlanta and this year as an chaperone in New Orleans. I have one insight on the hard work and headaches: it’s worth it.

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Community leaders erected three crosses to represent the Trinity near a mountaintop removal site outside Charleston, W.Va.
The 2009 gathering provided an opportunity for youth to meet fellow Lutherans from across the country, experience a rich culture in New Orleans, unleash their adventurous side by zip-lining through the Interaction Center and engage their inner rock star by head-banging to popular Christian bands like Skillet and The Katinas. These are all fun, important, memorable experiences for youth. But there’s more.

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