Rise Up Together – Day 5

Another day, another great time at the ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit. On Saturday, we joined with 10,000 other Gathering friends to “Proclaim Community” as we explored the interactive learning and service activities at the Cobo Center.

The day began again with worship (with Holy Communion) featuring great music by Rachel Kurtz and *Agape. Following worship, we got to work checking out Cobo in more detail. Some of the activities we did together included walking an exhibit chronicling the plight of Central American refugees fleeing to the United States and other countries; making fleece hats for local shelters and schools;

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painting board art that will be used to cover windows in abandoned houses; hanging out with Sophia Weinert, who was in town volunteering with the Gathering; and posing for a picture as participants in the Last Supper.

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One of the highlights of the day was helping with a service project sponsored by Lutheran Campus Ministry. Throughout the three full days of the Gathering, groups were able to sign up to work an hour at a time to frame up walls for four houses that would be built for low-income families. At the end of the day, our group was invited to help get those wall segments prepared for loading and transport. Here we are in action:

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We had a chance to sample some delicious Detroit – style pizza (recommended by Pastor Andrew), and everyone agreed that it was great!

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Evening found us making our nightly trek back to Ford Field for Mass Gathering, this time featuring the following speakers:

Rozella White, the director of the ELCA’s Young Adult Ministry, who spoke poignantly about her struggle with anxiety and depression and her conviction that these and other challenges must be faced openly and honestly because they are part of our identity as people created in the image of God and loved by God.

Kyle Larson, former Young Adult in Global Ministry in Mexico City, who talked about how God meets us in the places where “the real world” and the “ideal world” intersect, and about how our past doesn’t need to define us because Christ has broken the chains that hold us back.

Veronika Scott, the 24-year-old CEO of the Empowerment Plan, a company employing people from homeless shelters to help create stability in their lives and provide them with tools for continued employment and improvement.

Marian Wright Edelman, a civil rights pioneer and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, who spoke passionately about the cause of childhood poverty and the call for young people to be active in addressing the problems that face our society, such as racism, hunger, poverty, sexism, and political apathy.

The evening closed with a performance by Skillet, a popular Christian rock group that brought the whole arena to its feet.

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After our nightly devotions, we headed to bed to prepare ourselves for the last day of Gathering and our final full day in Detroit. We continue to give thanks for your prayers, support, and interest in our trip.

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