Heidi Hagstrom is the Director of the ELCA Youth Gathering.
The people of New Orleans as well as the ELCA are sending her their thanks . The July 22-26 gathering drew nearly 37,000 youth, their leaders and chaperones.
For the first time, a significant portion of the gathering focused on justice work. Twelve thousand youth were taken across the city daily on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to help with Hurricane Katrina recovery. Their work included painting schools, planting wetlands and cleaning up overgrown cemeteries.
The theme of this year’s event was Jesus, Jazz and Justice. The community service projects drew the praise of New Oreans citizens, Mayor Ray Nagin andU.S. President Barack Obama.
Thanks to Heidi and all those behind the scenes who made the week about serving others in Christ’s name. You are wonderful examples of “God’s Work. Our Hands.”