10805 Main St. Huntley, IL 60142

October Note

From Pastor Ryan

“Created to Be” The 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering

Prior to 2021, the ELCA hosted a massive Youth Gathering every three years. It moved from major city to major city, hosting more than 30,000 youth and adult leaders.

My first experience of “The Gathering” (as it is affectionately known) was in 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tara and I were asked by our pastor to serve as adult leaders that year and we accompanied 12 youth on a weeklong adventure that changed my life. Soon after, I became the youth leader for that congregation and would take two more groups to the Youth Gatherings in 2015 and 2018, in Detroit and Houston, respectively.

The 2021 Youth Gathering was supposed to be in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but was postponed, and eventually canceled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, in 2024, we will be making a return to New Orleans for the first Gathering in 6 years! As always, the Youth Gathering is for all youth who are in 8th-12th grade this school year. The new twist is that a Young Adult Gathering will be running at the same time. This is for anyone who is 18-35 years old at the time of registration.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the Gathering, I wanted to share a little more about what makes it so special. The Gathering is a combination of worship, service, learning, fun, and relationship-building. Each night, all youth and leaders will gather in the Caesars Super Dome (home of the New Orleans Saints) for a concert-style atmosphere with a band and a series of speakers, with some worship blended in. The speakers are thought provoking and spirit stirring and the music is energizing and Spirit filled.

Each day has a different focus. One day will be spent performing some form of service to the city. In 2012, the Gathering service projects focused on the continued cleanup from the devastation of hurricane Katrina. Our group helped backpacks with school supplies to ensure that students would have what they needed to start the school year well. Another day will be spent in a convention center full of games and activities that teach us and remind us all of what life can be like, in the US and abroad, for people who suffer injustice or live otherwise difficult lives compared to our lives. Another day will be spent with youth from the Northern Illinois Synod as we spend time getting to know each other and sharing in a worship experience.

Within all of these events is the continued experience of coming together in community, forming deeper relationships, and growing deeper in faith.

No matter what I share with you in worship or in these paragraphs, I could never fully capture the excitement and power of this weeklong event. I encourage all of you, whether you have a child who is in 8th-12th grade or you or someone you know is 18-35 to strongly consider registering for this awesome event. For more information, reach out to me and/or check out https://www.elca.church/gathering .

Please register using our Church Center app or by scanning the QR code below by October 22 to take advantage of the reduced registration fee.


Pastor Ryan

Pastor Ryan

Email Pastor Ryan:  pastorryan@sotpmail.com

Link to summer of 2024 Youth Gathering website for those interested in more information:  https://www.elca.church/gathering