Thursday Aug 27 2009
Youth gather nationwide to serve
By: Joel Rothe, Faith Lutheran Church
This past July the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) had its triennial National Youth Gathering for high school students from across the country. It was located in New Orleans and was attended by 37,000 students and adults from all 50 states and other territories including Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands. Our congregation in Meadow Vista sent a group of six students and three adults to the convention that was titled “Jesus, Justice, Jazz.” Our group and the other thousands were gathered for the purpose of learning both about issues of faith and social concerns and to be able to humbly respond to what they learned with compassionate justice. All with the backdrop of the history of New Orleans including its ethnicity, cultural backgrounds, music and recent history with the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. All 37,000 participants were given assignments around the city to help give back and spend time rebuilding and restoring the city both in physical need and in relational time. The ELCA has adopted a new catch-phrase which reads “God’s Work, Our Hands.” This is the attitude in which we were called to respond in New Orleans and the way we are called to respond to needs of our neighbors, local community, our country and our world. God calls on us to love our neighbor, and it is up to us to put our hands to work in doing just that. For more information on the ELCA National Youth Gathering, please go to www.elca.org/gathering. Joel Rothe is director of youth and family ministries for Faith Lutheran Church.