– Aubrey Thonvold

I know firsthand just how magical and life changing the Youth Gathering can be.  I went to my first Gathering back in the 90s when I was a freshman in high school.  It was powerful to be with over 30,000 peers experiencing the life of the church on such a massive scale. It was just as powerful as a youth leader when I brought a youth group ten years later.  However, it is in my current role as the Executive Director of ReconcilingWorks that I look forward to the Gathering with a different level of excitement.

The holy work of ensuring lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and their families are named, seen, and cared for in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is transformative.  As a lesbian, there have been times in my life where church did not always feel like a safe place for me.

The role that ReconcilingWorks has at the Gathering is to create a space where LGBTQ youth and adults can be fully themselves and celebrate the beautiful diversity in which we are all made.

I am looking forward to the Gathering in Houston so we can celebrate and affirm the many ways the LGBTQ community helps to make the ELCA its best.   No one should ever wonder if the church is a safe place for them.

Make sure and stop by the ReconcilingWorks booth . . . just look for the rainbows!