by: Bishop Ann Svennungsen

I’m so excited that the Minneapolis Area Synod will host the 2021 ELCA Youth Gathering. Minnesota, home of 10,000 lakes and more shoreline than California is filled with Lutherans – nearly 700,000 to be exact. We have 300 congregations within an hour drive of the Convention Center – each one eager to welcome you with a ready smile.

The Dakota people were the first to live here along the banks of the mighty Mississippi, with sacred sites dotting our landscape. Now we have 11 federally recognized tribes in Minnesota and one of the largest urban Native populations in the country. Minneapolis is also the largest Somali city outside East Africa. Liberians fill several of our ELCA congregations and we have churches worshipping weekly in Lao, Hmong, Swahili, Spanish, Oromo, Amharic, Norwegian and American Sign Language.

Minneapolis is the proud hometown for Prince, Lizzo and Bob Dylan. We don’t just love this city for the music. We love it for the food too – not just hotdish and Jello, but also Juicy Lucys and cheese curds, freshly-caught walleye and wild rice, pho and injera bread. 

Even more than the Mall of America, our 22 metro lakes with their sailboats and paddleboards; our 100 miles of bike paths and abundance of rental bicycles; our countless outdoor cafes, including many global markets, and beautiful 80-degree temperatures will welcome you here. We’re really proud of our city and understand why it’s one of the most popular for young adults. 

We’re ranked first in the number of volunteers per capita, which excites us to partner with you as we follow Jesus together in meaningful service in our neighborhoods.

We can’t wait to see you in Minneapolis. Even more, we look forward to gathering with you in 2021 to hear anew the good news of Jesus’ love for all creation, including you and me. See you then!

Re-elected to a second six-year term on May 5, 2018, Bishop Ann Svennungsen was the first woman to serve as bishop in any of the ELCA’s six Minnesota synods. Today, she lives in Minneapolis with her husband Rev. Dr. William Russell.