Our group woke up this morning looking forward to today’s closing worship service, during which we would be part of the largest Lutheran congregation on the planet. 30,000 people gathered to praise God, hear the word preached powerfully by our presiding bishop, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, and receive the sacrament of Holy Communion.
Bishop Eaton’s message focused on the call for us to praise God in the midst of adversity and struggle, and to see God’s power and presence revealed in places of hopelessness and despair. She spoke of the Spirit’s movement among the people of Detroit and our participation in the Spirit’s on-going work of resurrection and renewal, and she called us to bring the news and hope of Christ’s transforming power to our homes and communities.
The service ended with the announcement that the next ELCA Youth Gathering will be held June 27-July 1, 2018, in Houston, Texas, and a thank you to Heidi Hagstrom, who has served as the director of the Gathering since 1994.
Following worship, we traveled back to Cobo to catch a bus to our hotel, where we would be picked up by Pastor Andrew’s father for a tour of the city and a barbecue at Pastor Andrew’s family home in Northwest Detroit.
A relaxing afternoon, including dinner, a walk through the neighborhood, and some games, served as a nice wrap up to the day. We enjoyed our last evening together in the hotel, and got ourselves packed for the return trip home, beginning with our 5:00 am shuttle to the airport.
We are grateful for the experiences we had during this trip, and look forward to sharing more stories about our time in Detroit soon!