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National Youth Gathering Recap

 "It was amazing!" I think I heard that line at least 3 times on Sunday morning from youth that were asked by church members how their trip was to Houston for the ELCA National Youth Gathering. This year the Gathering brought together 31,242 high school youth and adult chaperones. It was pretty awesome to be gathered in the NRG Stadium (site of the 2017 Super Bowl!) each evening. One of Messiah's youth said to me "I didn't even know there was this many Lutherans, let along this many high school Lutherans!"

Our time in Houston was spent in a day of service and learning about the ongoing effects of Hurricane Harvey on a local neighborhood, a day or worship and Bible study with Bishop Jaech and the congregations from the Southwestern Washington synod and a day in the Interactive Center, which included learning about Lutheran colleges and participating in the ELCA World Hunger Global Farm Challenge. We also got to explore the city and traveled to Galveston as well. Each evening the mass gathering brought together inspiring speakers, musicians, dancers, rappers, poets and more, all with messages with the central theme based on Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God."

A few fun stories from Messiah's group:

  • They spent over 1 ½ hours speaking to over 20 of the Lutheran College representatives. They learned the Lutheran church is a small community…finding college reps that knew Messiah's past interns and also meeting Charles Reinmuth's housemate. On another note, some of Messiah youth didn't know Lutheran colleges existed, and now they want to attend.
  • They referred to the Gathering as "a VBS for High Schoolers!"
  • Via social media, the group found out that one of the Gathering musicians will be in the Pacific Northwest in October and are already planning to attend
  • They got a picture with Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton as well as former Pastoral Intern Ben Eisele and summer intern Hannah Norem
  • Messiah's youth began waiting at 6:45 am (hours before closing worship) to be able to snag the FRONT ROW
  • The group still talks via their group text every day

I believe the Gathering was a time when all of us were inspired to live out God's love for the world. The youth are so excited to share more of their thoughts and experiences with the Messiah congregation during all of the Hazel Dell worship services on Saturday and Sunday, August 4 – 5. I hope that you will be able to attend.

To see more pictures from our adventure CLICK HERE.

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