This just in! The 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering will be held in Detroit, Michigan!
Watch an intro video here:
What does Holy Communion for 33,000+ look like?
Closing worship was an event in itself. Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson preached and presided following an amazing procession including candles, dancers, paper doves, and even umbrellas (and we all know why!)
This afternoon we took a swamp boat tour, and, yes, there were alligators involved!
We fly back to Boston in the morning!
Our Practice Peacemaking Day yesterday began with a game: how many Lutherans can we fit on an escalator?
OK, our day really began with worship. And we really do know how to fill a room!
We also joined in a friendly competition of mini golf at the convention center. (Pastor Tim didn’t win.)
Last night’s dome event was another great one, including musical performances by Rachel Kurtz and Switchfoot. Our final worship at the Superdome is coming up this morning!
We started out the night with high hopes. We set out for the dome early—in the steady rain—wet-yet-hopeful that we might get seats on the dome floor. The dome floor is a celebrated place to sit—there we would be right in the center of all the activity.
Our hopes dimmed pretty quickly after we arrived. There were easily thousands in line ahead of us. (Apparently we weren’t the only group with this idea.) But through a lot of grace, we got inside the dome, and we were invited to sit on the floor level.
What an awesome program tonight. Diane Latiker and Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee shared inspiring messages, and that’s just the beginning!
Stay tuned for more incredible photos and videos from tonight’s dome event. Cindy says we can’t post everything yet—we have to save something for when we get back! (You won’t want to miss this!)
Tomorrow we practice peacemaking!
Gathered together with the other youth and leaders from the New England Synod, we began the day with worship led by our bishop The Rev. Margaret Payne.
We spent the rest of the morning in small groups, and we read scripture, prayed together, and shared what it means to practice discipleship. We focused on seven faith practice verbs: worship, serve, study, invite, pray, give, and encourage.
In the midst of an afternoon thunderstorm, we got a preview of the hall where practice peacemaking is happening tomorrow.
And finally a video. We took a taxi back from the convention center because of all the rain—and we’re really glad we did! (Pastor Tim put his iPhone out on a limb for this video!)
Another night at the dome is coming up! (Thunderstorms included!)
Tonight was another great Superdome event (aka the Lutherdome), including talks and performances by Shane Claiborne, Megan Stubbs, Tony Memmel, and ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson.
These events are incredibly well-planned and well-produced. Remember that you can watch online!
One of the amazing aspects of this event happens when everyone (or 33,999 of our newest, closest friends) tries to leave the Superdome at the same time. One of Zion’s youth narrates the experience:
Tomorrow we practice discipleship!
Today we participated in the Practice Justice segment of the Youth Gathering. Over the next three days, 33,000 youth and leaders (all wearing orange shirts!) will complete projects throughout New Orleans.
After a great breakfast, our group was the first to arrive at our assigned time–so we got to stand by the door and catch some air-conditioning.
The crowds followed soon after us!
We began by meeting as a large group: we heard scripture readings, music, and learned about the meaning of justice in this context.
Then our small group traveled to the Lower 9th Ward, where our project was to volunteer to spray paint house numbers on residents’ trash cans.
We also talked with the people and heard their stories, particularly around their experience during and since Hurricane Katrina. We got to meet many great people!
That’s how we practiced justice in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. Back to the Superdome tonight!
Our first trip to the Superdome began with “tailgating” in Champions Square just outside the dome.
With tens of thousands trying to grab dinner at the same time, we had to stay patient while waiting in line!
The opening program in the Superdome was “inspiring,” in the words of one of Zion’s youth. Through songs and stories, we heard amazing words highlighting what God is calling us to do here.
Our evening was prolonged by a thunderstorm that kept us at the dome until it passed. But all 34,000 of us seemed to handle it pretty well.
Tomorrow is Practice Justice Day!
After registration this morning, we had some time to walk around the French Quarter. Cindy got great directions!
And we even got to try beignets (a classic French doughnut) from Cafe du Monde near Jackson Square.
We head to the Superdome tonight!
The Youth Gathering staff has set up accounts on each of these social media services. Click to find even more photos and videos gathered throughout the week!
ELCA Photos: http://gatheringpics.elca.org/Youth-Gathering-New-Orleans
The Youth Gathering evening Superdome events will be streamed each night, July 18-21, 8-9:30 p.m. Eastern Time with a pre-show warm-up beginning at 6:30. Worship on Sunday, July 22 will be streamed at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time.
Four high school youth and two adults from Zion are participating in the 2012 ELCA National Youth Gathering on July 17-22 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
This is their blog—and they’ll be updating it throughout the week. Here you’ll find posts, photos, and even videos of their time in New Orleans. Stay tuned for more! Also check out updates to Zion’s Facebook page.