Faith in Action
Reflections from the National Youth Gathering in Detroit, Summer 2015
In their own words…
On the ELCA Youth Gathering trip, I learned that there are a lot more people in the world, even America, that are living below the poverty line than I thought. I always knew that I was blessed, but this trip showed me that I am extremely blessed. When we cleaned up around the school, I imagined myself living in that horrible neighborhood, and I couldn’t. The trip opened my eyes to helping people and donating to charities.
I think the biggest memory I had at the ELCA Youth Gathering was walking into Ford Field for the 1st time. It was an amazing experience to walk into a stadium filled with 30,000 Lutherans just like myself. All I could hear was the music blasting as I looked around and saw everyone dancing and singing. I felt like everyone connected with God in some way at the stadium. I had a lot of fun in Detroit. I learned so much about other people, Jesus and God. –Michael Kindschi
My favorite memory was Natasha T. Miller’s poem that she performed. It really showed that Detroit didn’t need us to bring Jesus, because Jesus is at work there already. One thing she said was along the lines of the fact that Detroit isn’t a broken city trying to become a different city; it’s just Detroit. They aren’t trying to become something else, they just need a bigger and louder voice to tell everyone about the good things about Detroit.
A memory I’ll always remember around Detroit is that the people of Detroit are friendly and nice. The first day I was scared of the people because what we had heard about the city. Then people started talking to us by cheering, talking, and saying “thank you.” The people of Detroit were my favorite part of the trip because they made us feel welcome and glad that we were there.
– Jordan Small
My best memory from the Detroit trip was during the Friday night service when a man sang “Rise Up”. That was one of the times when I really felt God in my heart and in the room. The man who sang it sang it so well and so beautiful that I felt good inside as we walked out.
– Sarah Hupp
When I was in Detroit, I saw lots of cool things. I expected to see what you by burnt buildings and wasteland. But people there were helpful, nice and overall thoughtful. I thought people would be regretful and bitter, but they were actually nice. They walked up and thanked us. One man spent his own money buying water for us. Detroit has the reputation of being terrible, but the city is not dead.
Our time in Detroit has been AWESOME! My favorite thing was getting to see the Temptations sing, it was a dream come true! My favorite speaker was the girl who lives in Detroit, and wrote that awesome poem. She was my favorite speaker because she saw both sides of things and she kept my attention. The work day was very shocking to me. I couldn’t believe that not even 5 minutes away from Downtown, you see it all. The struggling, the pain, and most importantly the mess/destruction. This trip was a very good thing for me. It showed me that alone we fall, but together we stand, and also that even though Detroit looked well put together, if you even took one step out of Downtown, that its not. I loved this trip! I can’t wait until Houston 2018!
My best memory from Detroit was when we were at the school and everybody was cleaning up trash. Michael and I were kind of leading the way. We were picking up pieces of an old toilet that we had found when one of the people that lived across the street walked up to us. So we tell him why we’re there and what we’re doing and the look of confusion on his face turned into a smile. He says to us “Thank you all so much for what you’re doing, would you like me to help?” I look around and we have 50+ people in the area of about a football field, so I tell him that we’re good for now, but there will probably be more trash when we leave that you could pick up because they won’t let us pick up half of the stuff – they are worried about us getting cut or hurt. The already big smile on his face got bigger when he found out he could help. So that is the experience that touched me the most, and my best memory. -Connor Sutter
I’m not sure if there was any individual thing that stuck out to me about the Gathering, moreso the experience as a whole. Being the oldest and only returning attendee from our group, it was cool to see it from a different viewpoint. My first Gathering I was the youngest and was just trying to take everything in. This time was not at all like that. It was cool to feel like a leader, like someone that understood what was going on. I’m glad I had this opportunity and would do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks to everyone for the great memories and experience! -Chad Keller
During the time we spent in Detroit for the ELCA Youth Gathering, we had many great experiences. Having 30,000 youth, pastors, religious leaders and young adults packed into Ford Field was a very empowering thing. There was too many great speakers and musical artists to count, so you really go to cover a lot of great topics we face in the modern world. One of my favorite experiences was to be at the Cobo Center. The Cobo Center is a huge building where most of the main events occurred. There were church services and performances and also a ware-house type room with many educational booths and a huge gym complex you could play in. I thank Detroit for welcoming all 30,000 of us and I look forward to even more youth in Houston in 2018.
The things I experienced in Detroit are irreplaceable. I never would have imagined so many people coming together to worship in one place. Seeing Ford Field fill up that quickly with people that are willing to help out one single city was astonishing. The memories that I made and the people that I met will never be forgotten. And if you ever get the chance to take some time to visit Detroit, it truly is an amazing city filled with amazing people. –Tekla Nimmow