Hey, everyone!  My name is Vanessa Young, and I’m excited to serve as the Team Leader for Gathering Synod Coordinators (GSCs) for the 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering in Minneapolis.

In addition to supporting the Gathering, I work with Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, IL.  I attended Augustana College (IL) and Luther Seminary (MN). I served with ELCA Global Mission in the Young Adults in Global Mission program, and at the Churchwide Offices in Chicago. I’ve worked with four ELCA congregations around the Midwest, and have been a Gathering participant and primary congregational leader at several Gatherings since 2000 in St. Louis. Having worked with young people for more than 20 years, I’m grateful to be part of the Gathering’s ministry – supporting people all over the country by helping youth workers, parents and pastors be the best adult leaders they can be when bringing youth to the Gathering!

Have you met your Gathering Synod Coordinator yet? If you don’t know who they are, you can send them an email on the “Find Your Synod Coordinator” feature on the Gathering website, and then get connected to the good work they’re doing in your area! Our GSC 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 2022 Gathering. They gathered for training and resource-sharing in February 2020, and will meet again in February 2022 for additional training 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.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out “The Official Gathering Handbook: Tips & Tricks for Adult Leaders.”  This resource includes loads of helpful info collected from amazing GSCs over the years and veteran church youth workers.  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.  A prepared adult leader makes a huge difference in helping young people have a positive Gathering experience.  Give it a read, 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.

Can’t wait to see you in Minneapolis for the 2022 Gathering!



Vanessa is a graduate of Augustana College (IL) and Luther Seminary. She’s an alum of the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission program, worked with the ELCA Churchwide Office to recruit young adults to serve as ELCA missionaries abroad, and has served on the ELCA Youth Gathering planning team since the 2015 Gathering in Detroit. Vanessa currently serves on staff with Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, IL.