The Gathering ended Sunday morning with worship. ELCA Bishop Elizabeth Eaton preached and presided over Holy Communion. We learned that the 2018 Gathering will be in Houston, TX. Not surprisingly, almost every seat on our flight from Detroit to Seattle was filled by Gathering participants and it should be noted that it was a very quiet 4+ hours. We ate dinner in the Seattle airport and then reflected together on the entire Gathering experience. Each of the youth was asked to share three of the most meaningful pieces of our time together. What follows are the notes from our conversation:
Donating Blood in the interaction center because it makes a difference in people’s lives right away
Meeting people from the synod on our day with the Eastern WA-ID Synod—we met people from our region who are both similar to and different than us
The Christian rock band Skillet – “I just liked it”
Speaker Marian Wright Adelman – She talked about the inequity among children and the importance of education
Speaker Pastor Steve Jerbi – He wasn’t just giving a speech. He was PREACHING the good news.
Working at Genesis Hope – Weeding the garden and building the compost bin will help them produce more vegetables and feed more people
Everyone’s attitude-People from the whole Gathering group were willing to change and adapt
The evening walks after the mass gatherings from Ford Field to the shuttle bus parking lot because it was as though the energy just flowed out into the streets as we got to see and say hello to the folks in Detroit
Speaker Pastor Rani Abdulmasih – the importance of preaching to people of all colors and races
Poet Natasha – She wrote really good poems which excited the imagination.
Seeing old friends from Luther Heights
Painting the murals in the interaction center which will be put up around the city – people came together to make something beautiful (A tree with filled with birds and the heading “Peace”)
Speaker Mikka McCracken – She is very passionate about one thing: eliminating food insecurity – she encouraged us to not give up and to be passionate; and she also came to the interaction center’s Walk for Water display and cheered people on as they carried water
Exploring Detroit – We were welcomed into the city without any trouble
Interacting with a local chess player in the outdoor pavilion
Speaker Marian Writght Edelman – Her words about education spoke to my own story
All of the efforts put into the Gathering to make it possible-there were so many volunteers
Our small group’s adaptability-If plans didn’t work then we worked through it and kept a positive attitude
From the leaders (Ken and Meggan):
We agree that this gathering will definitely go down in the positive category. This is in no small part due to the quality of the young people in our group. As we sat in the Seattle airport and invited the youth to share three meaningful experiences from the trip it was evident to us that they were in fact touched by the many speakers and activities we were able to experience and they too enjoyed one another’s company immensely. Thanks to the parents for sending your children to the Gathering and to the parishioners of our two congregations for supporting us.
Boarding the plane in Seattle