ELCA National Youth Gathering
What is a Gathering?
Every three years, thousands of high school youth and their adult leaders from across the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gather for a week of faith formation known as the ELCA Youth Gathering. Through days spent in interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service and fellowship, young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives.
Participants will explore and strengthen their faith by studying God’s word, serving their neighbor, gathering for worship, participating in lively faith discussions and broadening their experience of God’s world and diverse communities through travel. Each night ends with a mass gathering that is an amazing mix of rock concert, TED talk, and worship service. We gather to be inspired, energized, strengthened, connected and sent out to do God’s work in the world — together!
Where will it be?
The 2024 Gathering will be in New Orleans, Louisiana, about 13 hours from Kansas City. We’re jazzed to be in the Big Easy, which is filled with rich history, friendly locals, amazing food and great music, and unmatched Southern hospitality. We’ll spend time at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Caesars Superdome Stadium, local congregations, and many restaurants, parks and cultural centers around the city. We will stay in a hotel assigned by the Gathering along with other Missouri and Kansas Youth.
Contingent on the final size of our group, we are planning to rent a 10-15 passenger van to drive ourselves to New Orleans.
When is it?
The Gathering itself begins the evening of Tuesday, July 16, 2024 and ends the morning of Saturday, July 20. At minimum, we’d depart Kansas City on Monday and return on Sunday. We may choose to add more time before and after the Gathering for comfort and to do other fun and community-building things. Here is a more detailed schedule:
- Tuesday, July 16, 5:30 pm - Mass gathering at stadium
- Wednesday-Friday, Daytime - Service project, Synod Day, or Interactive Learning
- Wednesday-Friday, Late afternoon/evening - Free time and optional activities
- Wednesday-Friday, 7:00-8:45pm - Mass gathering at stadium
- Wednesday-Friday, 9:15-10:45pm - Community Life at hotels
- Wednesday-Friday, 11:00pm - Congregation devotions
- Saturday, July 20, 9:30am - Mass gathering / Closing worship
- Saturday, July 20, Noon - Gathering is over
We will likely elect to spend a day or two in New Orleans before or after the Gathering begins/ends for group activities and sight-seeing as decided by the group, and contingent upon participant calendars.
Who can attend?
Youth who are in 8th-12th grade at the time of registration are eligible to attend.
At this time, we anticipate taking 2 adult participants, one male (Pastor Mike) and one female (Sarah Read).
How much will it cost?
The actual total cost will depend on how many Hosanna! youth attend, travel expenses, and any additional activities we choose to do. The following is a rough estimate per attendee:
Costs to Participant Families:
$150 - non-refundable deposit - paid by families
$245 - individual meals, tips, activities ($35/day)
+ $55 - souvenirs
= $450 per participant
Costs covered by Congregation / Fundraising:
$225 - registration balance - anticipated to be covered by fundraising/congregation
$300 - travel
$400 - hotel stays (we’re charged around $175/night per room--final cost to each person
depends on how many rooms we need and the number of participants in each room)
+ $75 - shirts and other group activities/expenses
= $1,000 per participant
Hosanna! is committed to sending our youth to the Gathering. We have and will continue to support fundraisers to offset the bulk of the cost. The number of youth attending dictates how far our fundraising goes. At minimum, families can expect to pay the deposit and individual meals/tips. IF our funding is short, we may ask families to consider covering the registration balance (an additional $225). Adult registration costs are also covered by the congregation as a thank you for giving their time and being responsible for our youth.
What else is involved?
Youth attending the Gathering will be expected to participate in fundraisers, attend several Pre-Gathering “Getting Ready” meetings, and share their experience with the congregation during worship one Sunday shortly after returning. The plan is to be actively engaged with and include parents and youth in planning and preparing for the Gathering.
When do we need to commit?
Registration is open now. Costs rise after November 1, so we plan to register as a group by that time. To accommodate this schedule and start making our plans, Hosanna’s registration deadline will be Sunday, October 22. The $150 deposit will need to be paid to the congregation by that time.
If you want to consider going, but cannot commit at this time, you MAY be able to register later for a higher cost, provided that we have room in the van and hotels. However, we will be making plans based on those who pre-register, and we can’t guarantee there will be space for late additions.