On July 14th, 19 youth and adults headed to Detroit MI to spend a week at the ELCA Youth Gathering. We joined over 30,000 other youth from around the United States as we learned to Bear each other’s Burdens, Break Chains that hold us back from making a difference in the world and Rise Up Together to proclaim the name of Jesus and strive for Peace and Justice in all of the world.
For our group there were a couple of highlights. The first being our Proclaim Justice Day where we worked alongside other youth and adults from Colorado, Michigan and California to clean up a neighborhood in the Highland Park community near downtown Detroit. This area, once the home to the Model T-Ford factory and a Hostess Plant, now consists of neighborhood being used as a garbage dumps for tires, derelict homes and other debris. Our time spent in Highland Park was working with Focus Hope: a keep it 100 a grassroots organization working with local residents to clean up their neighborhoods and bring pride back to their communities.
The second highlight was hearing Marian Wright Edelman speak on behalf of children in poverty and how we all can step up to make a difference in a child’s life . “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” Her words hit home with our youth as they reflected on the work we do as a congregation with the DeLong backpack program and serving at Peace Community Center and Nativity House.
After the gathering we had an opportunity to attend a Tigers baseball and the Henry Ford Museum.
For more on the Gathering check out USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/07/16/30000-lutherans-blanket-detroit-volunteer-worship/30274469/