Youth Gathering planners expect participants from 23 overseas church bodies

Young people and their adult leaders from 23 Missouri Synod partner churches around the world are expected to attend the 2004 National LCMS Youth Gathering, July 24-28 in Orlando, according to Gretchen Jameson, communications manager for the Gathering and for its sponsor, LCMS District and Congregational Services — Youth Ministry.
Jameson said that is one more than the number of partner churches and countries represented at the 2001 Gathering in New Orleans.
“We are pleased with this level of international registration,” she said, “considering all that has happened to discourage international travel since 9/11.”
The last several Gatherings have included partner-church youth, said Jameson, who indicated that the Gathering “provides some funding” for international participation.
“Youth and adults have told us,” she said, “that the opportunity to experience fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters from around the world has a profound impact on their experiences at Gatherings, their understanding of mission and their commitment to outreach.”
Sally Hiller, program manager for the 2004 Gathering’s International Team, said, “It’s beyond imagination that this idea has grown to include options for international participation.”
“Beyond Imagination” is the Gathering’s theme.
Hiller explained that international youth will have the option to be part of the Gathering’s Diversity Emphasis Leadership Initiative in Orlando for two days before the Gathering begins.
She also said that “many international youth” will participate in “a global servant event to be known as “ABLAZE,” beginning with the LCMS convention July 9 in St. Louis. The convention’s theme is “One Mission Ablaze!,” and “Ablaze!” is also the theme of LCMS World Mission’s initiative to share the Gospel with 100 million unreached people by 2017. 
Hiller explained that international youth participating in the ABLAZE servant event will travel by train from St. Louis to Orlando, “going out of their way” to participate in servant events in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C.
“These international youth will be sharing their gifts of drama, song, dance, and even soccer,” Hiller said, “while witnessing in congregations, vacation Bible schools and summer-camp programs.”
For more information about the National LCMS Youth Gathering or its international-participants program, go to the Gathering Web site at, or call (800) 248-1930, Ext. 1155.

Posted Feb. 13, 2004

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