Detroit, the host city for the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering, is a diverse, distinct city with a rich history. The birthplace of the car industry and Motown music, Detroit also played a critical role in the underground railroad and in the industrialization of America. Although the media would have you believe Detroit is on the verge of collapse — its residents know a different story.
The city they know, our host city, has faced and continues to face its share of challenges. Yet there is a growing revitalization effort underway, and we believe God is calling us to Detroit for the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering to learn from and serve among our brothers and sisters there.
Downtown Detroit, where the two main venues for the Gathering are located, is a hub of vibrancy and activity. With new companies headquartered downtown and more than 11,000 new employees working and living in the city, Detroit is home to many young adults at the beginning of their professional careers. With great architecture, cultural opportunities and winning sports teams, Detroit has much to offer visitors.
The Detroit metro area is also the home to several faithful ELCA congregations who are living out their faith in new and exciting ways. Take Grace in Action, for instance. Grace in Action is an ELCA faith community dedicated to reclaiming the mission of the church, being transformed by God and each other and building a more just society for all of God’s people. The ministries at Grace in Action are inspired by the visions and dreams of people in the community: open mic night, citizenship class, prayer group and more. That is just one story from Detroit.
Detroit has much to teach us about being a part of what God is up to at this time in our history. The story youth and their adult leaders will hear there, and will proclaim there, is that Jesus endured death for us, and Jesus rose from the grave in fulfillment of God’s plan, to make us worthy in Christ, to write us into a new story in which we are free from our fears of the powers of sin, death and the devil.
There are many people in Detroit who know experiences of death, and there are many Lutherans, and brothers and sisters from partner communions who stand alongside the citizens of Detroit with the cross, proclaiming healing and wholeness in the midst of the death and despair. God is calling us to bear witness to their story, and to his creative and redeeming story of death and resurrection.
We will gather in Detroit in July 2015 to be inspired, encouraged, strengthened, connected and sent out to do God’s work in the world. Join us.