Dear 2022 Gathering adult leaders,
Congratulations on your role to bring a group from your congregation to the 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering. This is an incredible opportunity for you and all who will be involved. Perhaps you feel excited and/or overwhelmed, wondering where to start, especially if you have never been to the Gathering before.
Be assured, you can do this! You can’t and shouldn’t try to do it alone. Under your leadership, adults, parents and youth in your congregation can work together to intentionally prepare. The Gathering staff and teams will share valuable information and resources now and through the Gathering that will equip groups for a thoughtful experience.
To begin, remember that you don’t need to know all the details right now, just the basic ones. Gathering leadership can be trusted to be on top of all the details and considerations that go into planning for a Gathering. Don’t get stuck on the questions that can’t be answered yet. They will get answered eventually. Share an attitude of possibility and openness and graciously calm expressions of anxiety or fear. You can engage your congregation’s group in learning together.
Schedule info meetings in person, on Zoom or the way that works best for your congregation. Make personal contact as much as possible with youth and families, inviting them to be part of this “once-in-a-lifetime experience,” perhaps starting with “We want you to be a part of the 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering in Minneapolis, MN next July!”
Your synod, along with the other 64 synods, has a Gathering Synod Coordinator (GSC) who will be an invaluable resource for your questions along with the Gathering website. You can contact your GSC by clicking here.
May you remember God’s boundless love for you as you start to prepare your group. Peace.
Deacon Kathy Hunstad serves in an ELCA congregation in Minnesota. She has been to Gatherings since 1985 and has served on Gathering leadership in a variety of roles. Currently, Kathy serves on the Synod Coordinator team which trains and supports synod leaders so they can support local congregations as they prepare for the Gathering.