This is the article that appears in the mid-August Messenger.
Here are links to two articles/sites about the Gathering with more information and more pictures.
On LinkedIn: Ain't No Gathering Like A Detroit Gathering with 30,000 Lutherans
On Facebook, the ELCA Youth Gathering Photo page. Clear some time, there are a LOT of photos.
Speaking of photos, even more from our trip are in a slideshow at the end of this post. - Pbc
Over the five days of the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering, the 13 young people (and 3 adults) from Our Savior’s and Emmanuel were involved in a variety of learning opportunities, worship services and spent one day proclaiming justice by performing services to Detroit and its residents. We joined 30,000 others in Detroit to learn about and share God’s love.
We spent that Saturday afternoon helping to clean up alleys and vacant lots in northeast Detroit. While working in 90° heat, we cleared bushes and overgrowth from these areas, and helped to beautify these neighborhoods. We also had opportunities to work alongside neighborhood residents, and youth from around the country.
During the ELCA Youth Gathering, 3,200 vacant lots in Detroit were cleared of debris, 319 vacant homes boarded up; 1,847 mural boards painted; 36 urban gardens planted; 99 picnic tables built; 26 dumpsters filled; and 600 neighborhoods affected. Additionally, over 1 million diapers collected for social services to distribute; 1,425 backpacks were distributed with school supplies; 433 feet of hair was donated, as was 79 gallons of blood, and $402,000 was raised for Walk4Water, a project of the ELCA Global Hunger campaign to increase access to drinking water around the world.
Attending the Gathering: Myriah Briski and Andrew Petke of Emmanuel; Lexi Hinker, Madeline Johnson, Zach Johnson, Trenton Klabon, Cole Lucas, Derek Nielsen, Dylan Nielsen, Kelly Nielsen, Dylan Steffen, Ashley Walker and Tiara Wuethrich from Our Savior’s. Chaperones were Pastor Brian Campbell, Missy Nielsen and Sandi Petke.
The next triennial ELCA Youth Gathering will be June 27-July 1, 2018 in Houston, Texas.
It is Monday afternoon, on July 2oth, and I'm sitting in my office, trying to be productive. Our group got back to Our Savior's around midnight, having left Detroit around noon on Sunday.
I am being productive. I just typed the same sentence 3 times.
I am exhausted. So rather than trying to put the experiences of our group into words, I'm going to use the words and pictures of others.
I'll share my thoughts after a few naps and restorative bulldog kisses.
A couple of our kids posted on their Facebook pages about their service project experience, and, with their permission, we are sharing it here. - pbc
from Lexi Hinker
Today I got to meet this wonderful woman that allowed me and several of the members of my youth group to come into her community and let us help them see the beauty in it again. I would like to thank her and the other members of her community for this wonderful experience. It really showed me that Detroit isn't the city that everyone thinks it is. It maybe a little rough around its edges but all it needs is a little polishing to make it shine again. #riseupelca #detroit 😊💜💞
from Ashley Walker
Today we had the opportunity to make a difference in so many lives. It is easy for me to say that my life has been changed forever. Doing a day of service to help the lives of multiple families will be forever in my heart. The people of Detroit are some I will never forget💕
Below is a picture of Lexi with one of the leaders of the neighborhood project they worked on. - pbc
from Deadline Detroit on Thursday
“This place is going to look like Disney World for a few days,” Michael O’Callaghan of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau tells her.
He refers to hundreds of tour buses, but the comparison also is apt because of matching T-shirts, outdoor snacking, selfie snapping and ... of effusive enthusiasm.
from the Detroit News on Friday
The teens, part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Youth Gathering, partnered with Starfish Family Services in Inkster for Operation Diapers for Detroiters. The goal: To build a “mountain” of diaper boxes collected by 18 busloads of people.
Over half a million diapers were collected for low income and families in need of assistance.- pbc
from Deadline Detroit on Friday
"It looks like a Skittles factory exploded,"
For most of the days, groups wore matching t-shirts. (You'll see our group in our green, blue and orange shirts in the slideshow below.) It identifies your group, and makes it easy to try to keep track of your group among 30,000 others. - pbc
from the Detroit Free Press on Friday
"The ELCA has a phrase, God's work, Our hands, and this is the embodiment of that phrase," said Jimmy Sanborn, 17, of Fresno. "We are doing God's work right here with our hands."
from Deadline Detroit on Saturday
Someone should send them a thank you note.
from the ELCA
The week has made me stronger and made me open my eyes to the problems in the world.
There's more to be said, because so much more was felt.
But there is time for that later.
Thanks to everyone who helped to make this trip possible.
The next Gathering is in Houston in 3 years. God bless all y'all - pbc
Quick Friday update before I go to bed.
We're tired, but catching our 2nd wind.
Tonight's Mass Gathering was AWESOME!!
Motown legends, 3 inspirational pastors, a rap warrior for Christ, and a moving closing song that surrounded us on the floor.
I ask for your prayers for us tomorrow. It is our service day and it is going to be HOT. Like 90° degrees hot, and humid. We will watch the kids so they don't over exert themselves, but pray for our safety, and that we approach our work with open minds and open hearts. God bless all of you back home. -- Pastor Brian
Just a quick Tuesday update from Detroit.
We're here. Everyone is fine, but the schedule is keeping us moving, and wifi access is spotty. I'll post A LOT of pictures when we get back, but here are a few, including me at Ford Field in my beloved Packers jersey. Thanks to everyone who has helped make this trip possible. God bless all of you. -- Pastor Brian
From the Detroit Free Press:
DETROIT — Nearly 30,000 people are expected to visit Detroit for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Youth Gathering.
The event will run from Wednesday through Sunday at various locations in and around downtown.
Our group will leave from Our Savior's on Tuesday night around 9:30. Please keep us, and everyone at the Gathering in your prayers.
Updates about what is going on at
Our Savior's, Nazareth and Emmanuel.
Nazareth + 8:00 am
Our Savior's + 9:30 am
Emmanuel + 11:00 am
ONE in Christ
on Social Media
Our Savior's Facebook
Our Savior's / Emmanuel: 715-267-6142
Nazareth's Office: 715-229-2051
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