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ELCA Youth Gathering Blog

More Reactions from New Orleanians posted an article on the reactions of the people of New Orleans to what the JJJ09 youth brought there.  An excerpt:

We’re humbled. Humbled at their generosity. Humbled at the sight of so many young people traveling so far to do so much hard work during their summer vacation. Humbled that the “Katrina fatigue” felt by so many Americans was replaced, for a few days, with an enthusiasm even some of us find hard to muster some days. Regardless of your faith, or lack thereof, these excited young volunteers were an inspiration, and just one of them accomplished more good than all the preachers and politicians in the world who saw Katrina as either perverse justice or crass opportunity.

Here’s the full article.

(Thanks to Carrie Draeger for bringing this to my attention!)

Winding down? Not Just Yet…

As far as I can tell, just about everyone is home from the Youth Gathering by now, but that doesn’t mean the experience is over.  For one thing, the ELCA’s Gathering website makes it easy to catch up on everything that happened in New Orleans, as pictures and videos from JJJ09 are still being added.

Speaking of which, the window of opportunity is still open for you to add your own pictures and videos to the ELCA’s official JJJ09 online media collection.  If you’ve got pictures you’d like to add to the greater good, send them in an email to with the subject line “jjj09” and they’ll be added to the collection!

One further note: the Gathering is over, but the Jesus, Justice, Jazz musical tour is still ahead.  Agape, Lost and Found, and Rachel Kurtz will be touring the country from September through February, so take a look at the list of locations to see which one is nearest to you!

LutherTube: Soundbites

Courtesy of LutherTube: Soundbites from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, New Orleans City Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis, and ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson.

Sunday Worship at the Superdome

…is an experience to behold.  Lutheran worship is sometimes considered a restrained event.  Not so in New Orleans.  Sunday worship was as energetic an event as any of the evening mass gatherings earlier in the week, with youth arriving several hours early in an attempt to get a seat on the floor level.

One of the outstanding moments was the morning’s Communion.  Communing with 37,000 Lutherans at once is no mean feat, but the youth volunteers at the Superdome carried it off with grace.  Stations were set up throughout the Dome on the floor and in the balconies to guide thousands of youth, leaders, and volunteers through Communion with remarkable efficiency, distributing bread, wine, and the sign of the cross on foreheads.  Taking communion after a whirlwind time of learning and service in a space where so many once took refuge after Katrina was an awe-inspiring and humbing experience.

New LutherTube videos

LutherTube has a burst of new videos available: “Jesus, Buses, and Blisters,” “Welcome to JusticeTown,” “Interaction Center Fun,” and “Joe Brown Park Cleanup.”

Click “Continue Reading” below to see them, or peruse the whole gallery. (more…)

Reflections on Service

Thousands of young Lutherans are doing good in the New Orleans community.  Here’s what a few of them had to say after their time serving New Orleanians (namely, working up a dripping sweat doing manual labor for hours on a muggy, 97-degree bayou morning):