Congregations sending in their first registrations for the 2007 National LCMS Youth Gathering do not have to pay the late registration fee that took effect March 1. Those who are registering groups for the first time can do so at the “regular” rate of $235 per person through June 1.
But congregations that already have registered for the Gathering — and want to register additional participants — are required to pay the late registration fee of $285 per person. All registrations are due by the June 1 deadline.
Gathering planners say they are seeing an unusually large number of congregations submitting their first registrations in late winter — a new phenomenon after nine previous Gatherings.
“Registrations have come in much differently this time around,” said Gretchen Jameson, associate director of (LCMS) Youth Ministry — communications. “We are seeing a change in 30 years of registration tradition.”
Jameson said that for past Gatherings, groups from congregations “used to register en masse during the two-week priority window.” But to illustrate the change, she said the Gathering office received registrations from 25 new congregational groups the week of March 5.
The priority window for the 2007 Gathering was last Oct. 25-Nov. 8.
“This time around, we are right where we need to be in terms of expected participants,” Jameson said.
She indicated that the Gathering is being planned for 28,000 LCMS youth and adults. That is 2,000 less than for the 2004 Gathering and reflects the reality of fewer youth confirmands in LCMS congregations in recent years, she said.
Jameson also noted that Gathering planners have not announced the number of participants registered for the 2007 Gathering, to be held July 28-Aug. 1 in Orlando, Fla.
“We want to make it very clear to the church that the Gathering has never been about numbers,” she told Reporter. “We give thanks to God for the blessings He has provided for the event and for youth ministry on the national level of the LCMS.
“We genuinely desire to see more LCMS congregations ‘walk together’ as part of the National Gathering,” Jameson said. “For 30 years, LCMS Youth Gatherings have represented an outstanding commitment by the church to care for its youth.”
She also indicated that, so far, 285 congregations that did not attend the 2004 Gathering have sent in reservations for the 2007 event.
“That so many new congregations are participating at the Gathering to celebrate unity in the church is important and significant,” Jameson said.
Those interested in registering a group for the 2007 National Gathering should call the Gathering registration office at (800) 248-1930 and visit the Gathering Web site at www.lcmsgathering.com.
Posted March 15, 2007