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Meet Vanessa

– Vanessa Young

Hey Gathering blog readers. My name is Vanessa Young, and I’m excited to serve as the Team Leader for Gathering Synod Coordinators (GSCs) for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston.

Do you know your Gathering Synod Coordinator? You will soon be able to search for their name on the Gathering website, and then get connected to the good work they’re doing in your area. Our team is comprised of 65 faithful leaders from across the ELCA. They will serve in this role on behalf of their respective synods for the 18 months preceding the 2018 Gathering. They will gather for training and resource-sharing in January 2017 and in January 2018 before the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza.

The GSCs will be supported throughout their service by an amazing leadership team of equally faithful creators and curators, who will provide information and logistical details to the GSCs that help promote the Gathering within their synods. The GSCs will then provide support to primary congregational leaders as they prepare for the Gathering. They are your go-to resource people for finding answers to your Gathering questions, supporting you in your Gathering planning, and building community among the ELCA congregations and ministry partners in your synod participating in this great triennial event.

I’m also excited about a new resource created this year called, “The Official Gathering Handbook: Tips & Tricks for Adult Leaders.”  Whether you’ve never been to a Gathering before or you’ve attended several times, this handbook will help adult leaders of all experience levels get ready to serve their young people, lead their group to the Gathering, and help youth get the most out of this awesome, faith-changing opportunity.  Check it out, and stay tuned for highlights and extracts from this resource to be shared across various Gathering platforms in the months leading up to the event.

In addition to working with the Gathering, I serve as the full-time Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry at St. Paul Lutheran in Wheaton, IL.  I attended Augustana Rock Island and Luther Seminary. I also served with ELCA Global Mission through the Young Adults in Global Mission program and the Churchwide Offices in Chicago. I’ve been a Gathering participant, MYLE staff person, primary congregational leader, and a hair and blood donor at several Gatherings since 2000 in St. Louis. I’ve been in youth work for 16 years, and I’m grateful to serve young people from all over the country and the world by helping youth workers, parents, and pastors be the best adult leaders they can be when bringing youth to the Gathering.

Pack a few snacks, fill up your water bottle, apply some sunscreen, and get ready to encounter God’s good work in Houston in 2018!