The 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering, a unique community in size and scope, serves as a distinctive sign of the ELCA’s evangelical mission as it works with synods and congregations to accompany young people in their faith journey to understand their vocation and articulate their faith in Jesus Christ. The Gathering will be held July 18-22, 2012 in New Orleans, LA.  Over 930 youth and adults will be attending the Gathering from the Southeastern Iowa Synod.

The Gathering program is built around three core practices in which young people will be immersed before they come to New Orleans, while they are attending the Gathering, and again, in the communities of their congregations and synods when they return home.

The core practices — Discipleship, Peacemaking and Justice — serve to accentuate God’s greatest commandment: to love the Lord our God and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:34–40).  During the Gathering, each congregation will be assigned a rotation to participate in three days of practices on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On each of those days, a third of the community will practice discipleship, a third will practice peacemaking and a third will practice justice.

On the Practice Discipleship Day, all 930+ participants from The Southeastern Iowa Synod will meet as one group to practice being a disciple of Jesus Christ, and to learn to take their relationship with Jesus to a deeper level. The day will include:

  • Gathering in the morning to “Dwell in the Word.” This will be worship with Eucharist with Bishop Burk preaching and presiding.
  • Interactive large and small group learning around the seven faith practices.
  • A Discipleship Lab, where everyone will be invited to go into the city for an afternoon, putting into practice what they have learned on the streets of New Orleans. They will be given resources for activities and discussion — a “faith scavenger hunt” of sorts — around the seven faith practices, and how they apply to daily life.

Other links to learn more about the Gathering are:

The Southeastern Iowa Synod at the Gathering

The ELCA Youth Gathering Website


Written by Pr. Eric Carlson, Assistant to the Bishop

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