What is the ELCA Youth Gathering? 

The ELCA Youth Gathering is a ministry of the churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to, with and for high school-aged youth and their adult leaders.  The Gathering, as it is known, is a triennial event that takes place over five days – Wednesday to Sunday – and includes opportunities for worship, service, fellowship, study and holy play.

What sets the Youth Gathering apart from what some call “arena ministry” is its multi-month, pre-event curriculum designed to plunge teens deep into the Scripture texts around which the ministry is built, and  prepare them socially and emotionally for what for many is a pivotal moment in their life of faith, and understanding of vocation.  After care is also an exemplar of this ministry. We know that young people will return to their congregations and synods with a renewed witness to God’s action in the world, and we try to help congregational leaders receive the witness of young people and incorporate them into the ongoing ministry of the congregation and synod as vital members of the body of Christ. 

When is the next Youth Gathering?

The next Youth Gathering is July 15-19, 2015, in Detroit, Mich. The Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE) and the Definitely-abled Youth Leadership Event (DAYLE) are also in Detroit, from July 12-15, 2015

What is MYLE?

MYLE is the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event designed to empower young leaders of color for the ELCA’s mission in the world. It takes place just before the Gathering and there is an additional registration fee to attend, which covers housing and some meals.  MYLE is specifically for high school youth and adults from communities of color and/or communities whose primary language is that other than English. Congregations who have 20 percent or more of young people of color and/or those whose primary language is that other than English are also invited to attend. 

What is DAYLE?

DAYLE is the Definitely-abled Youth Leadership Event, held just before the Gathering opens.  There is an additional registration fee to attend, which covers housing and some meals.  DAYLE is a leadership development event designed to bless and empower young people who live with a wide range of physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities so that they might grow as faithful, wise and courageous witnesses in God’s church and the world. The event also offers time for participants and their caregivers to acclimate and orient themselves to the city of Detroit before the Gathering begins.

How do we register?

Congregations register and attend the ELCA Youth Gathering as a group. Every ELCA congregation has a unique five-digit number that is necessary for registration. If you don’t know your number, you can find it in the ELCA Year Book in your church office, or you can contact the Youth Gathering staff at the ELCA churchwide office.

Online registration –  the only way to register for the ELCA Youth Gathering – opens on Oct. 15, 2014. Congregational groups can prepare for registration by downloading the registration worksheets and completing them prior to registration opening. The worksheets are available here. There are two worksheets:  one for the Primary Adult Leader/Adult Leaders, and one for Youth Participants. These worksheets will allow you to collect all of your information and have it in one place before it’s time to register. 

There will be a “soft opening” on Sept. 15, 2014. This means that you will be able to set up your congregational account by entering your congregation’s information into the Youth Gathering database.  Beginning Oct. 15, 2014, you may go back into your congregational account and click the submit button to register!

Congregations attending MYLE, or with individuals going to DAYLE, can register for these events when Gathering registration opens.  The additional fees will be added into the total balance due.

How much does it cost?

If you register before Jan. 15, 2015, the early-bird, discounted registration rate is $325 per-person. After Jan. 15, 2015, the Gathering registration fee is $375 per-person.

Congregations are assigned to hotels and should budget for housing costs of $150 per night per room.  Not every room can accommodate four people, so budget for a mix of double and single rooms. The Youth Gathering will provide one round-trip bus shuttle from hotels to the downtown venues each day.

Food is also on your own, so depending on your group, this could be an additional $30 per person per day expense. 

The ELCA Youth Gathering is self-supported and self-funded. All of the revenue from registration fees is put back into the Youth Gathering program. We strive to keep costs down for participants while still providing a safe and transformational experience for all registrants.

Is Detroit safe?

While its’ population has declined dramatically over the last few years, Detroit is still considered a major city, not unlike Chicago, Philadelphia or Los Angeles. Visitors to any large city need to make wise choices. The Youth Gathering’s Safety and Security planning team will help participants make wise choices by providing safe walking routes and by arranging for private and public security personnel at all venues utilized by Gathering participants.

The Safety and Security planning team is already working with local, state and federal officials to prepare for our visit. Every precaution will be taken to ensure your safety in the city and surrounding suburbs. Youth Gathering participants will again receive T-shirts that will make them easily identifiable to local law enforcement officials, especially when participating in a visible service experience.

For more information:

Contact us!
Phone: 888-411-3522
Email: gathering@elca.org

ELCA Youth Gathering
8765 W. Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631

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