ELCA National Youth Gathering

What is a Gathering?

 

Every three years, 30,000 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. The Gathering is a 5-day event that begins on a Sunday evening and ends with worship the following Thursday. Each day, participants will rotate through a variety of service learning experiences.  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 2022 Gathering will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota, about 6 hours from Kansas City.  We’ll spend time at the Minneapolis Convention Center, U.S. Bank 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. 

Depending on the number of youth attending from Hosanna, additional activities we’d like to do in Minneapolis or on the way, and options available to us with other local congregations, we may either drive ourselves or take a bus with other congregations (last time we drove). 

When is it? 

The Gathering itself begins the evening of Sunday, July 24, 2022 and ends the morning of Thursday, July 28.  At minimum, we’d depart Kansas City on Sunday and return on Thursday.  We may choose to add more time before and after the Gathering for comfort and to do other fun and community-building things. 

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: 

 

   $350 - registration fee (including $150 non-fundable deposit)

   $300 - travel (this will likely be much lower if we can drive ourselves)

   $200 - hotel stay (we’re charged around $180/night per room--final cost to each person

                depends on how many rooms we need and the number of participants in each room)

+ $  65 - shirts and other group expenses            

   $915 - TOTAL GROUP COSTS PER PERSON

+ $185 - individual meals and tips ($26/day)        

   $1100 - TOTAL COST PER PERSON

+ Costs associated with additional days/activities outside of the Gathering

 

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.  Last Gathering, the congregation was able to cover the per-person group costs beyond the deposit.  If cost would be an obstacle, please speak with Pastor Mike.  Most adult participant costs are covered by the congregation. 

 

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 and one female. 

 

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 21, 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 November 7.  The $150 deposit will need to be paid to the congregation by that time, along with the registration form.  

 

What’s the impact of COVID?

 

The Gathering will use local, state, and federal public health guidelines to inform decisions as they relate to necessary precautions needed to control the spread of COVID-19 onsite. We aren’t entirely sure what those guidelines will be for summer 2022, but we imagine they may include those precautions you are already familiar with today: lots of handwashing, mask wearing, etc. Gathering leadership is continuously monitoring the pandemic and guidance for events of our size, but confident that we will have a safe Gathering next summer.  We pledge to be as transparent as possible with the decision-making process.

 

After much prayer and conversation, Gathering leadership have decided to require full COVID-19 vaccination OR proof of a negative test result to attend the 2022 Gathering.

 

What’s the Theme?

 

We are bound. Bound by our sin, by the expectations of others, by poverty, by -isms that try to divide us, and by so much more. In a life that often feels as if it has young people in a suffocating grip, we want them to imagine the boundlessness of God: boundless love, boundless creation, boundless forgiveness, boundless invitation, boundless promise. All offered from a gracious and loving God who knows and adores them. All so abundant and endless it cannot be measured.

 

What are the stories of God’s people, both in Scripture and modern-day, that share the awe and wonder of just how vast our God is? What does it mean, what does it look and feel like to live a life “filled with all that God is”? How can young people find themselves within the boundlessness of Christ’s love?

 

Questions? 

 

There’s lots more information at www.elca.org/gatheringYou’re also welcome to talk with Pastor Mike, e-mail at pastormike@hosannalutheranchurch.org, or call him at 816-781-7991.