Ready to Serve By all accounts, the 2009 ELCA youth gathering in New Orleans was a smashing success.  Here is a list of my prior blog posts about the New Orleans experience.

ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans (July 25, 2009)

The Journey to New Orleans (July 28, 2009), which is a diary like account of one Pastor and his entourage from Hector, Minnesota (my brother-in-law).

A thank you from a New Orleans resident (July 31, 2009)

These youth gatherings occur once every three years, so the next get-together will be in 2012, and the ELCA has announced a return to the scene of its recent success.

     CHICAGO (ELCA) — The Youth Gathering of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will return to New Orleans in 2012. Returning to a host city consecutively is unprecedented in the history of ELCA Youth Gatherings, according to Heidi Hagstrom, director for youth gatherings, ELCA Vocation and Education. The gathering will take place July 18-22, 2012.
     Recognized as the largest event organized by the 4.6 million-member denomination, the ELCA Youth Gathering is a triennial event that brings together tens of thousands of high-school-age Lutherans from across the country and overseas for leadership development, faith formation, service opportunities and more.
     In the summer of 2009 about 37,000 Lutheran teenagers, adult leaders and others gathered in New Orleans not only to paint and make home repairs but to learn about and experience the faith of people who live there. Residents of New Orleans and others along the U.S. Gulf Coast continue to recover more than four years after Hurricane Katrina.
     “I don’t think that we have learned all we can from New Orleans, yet,” said Hagstrom. “New Orleans has so much to teach us about practicing God’s hospitality. By paying attention to the spirit’s activity in and through New Orleanians, I think we get a glimpse of God’s intention for the whole world,” she said.