This summer’s National LCMS Youth Gathering, July 17-21 in New Orleans, will have more than 90 off-site servant events organized in three categories: environmental, construction and human care/outreach.
The environmental sites offer cleanup activities in conjunction with Common Ground Relief, an organization started following Hurricane Katrina; neighborhood associations, churches and schools; and at the 1,300-acre City Park in the heart of the city.
Construction sites will include schools, churches, non-profit organizations and neighborhood associations that will match volunteers with homeowners who need help with home repairs and refurbishing.
The human care/outreach sites offer youth the chance to assist at day camps, agencies working with the developmentally disabled, and church groups. Another servant event will feature a “Prayer Journey.” Groups that register at a booth in the convention center will walk through the downtown area praying for specific places and things along the way as highlighted in a guidebook. The groups will discuss their journey when they return.
Youth also may join a District Care Kit Scavenger Hunt at the convention center. Participants who visit exhibits hosted by LCMS districts collect personal hygiene items to create care kits that will be distributed to shelters and other organizations in New Orleans. The districts combined the money they normally spend on giveaway items to purchase the toiletries. Many of the items are being purchased in New Orleans to help the local economy.
“We hope that the youth experience servanthood and realize what an important part servanthood plays in their lives and the lives of others,” said Christie Kieschnick, servant event director for the gathering. “We hope that they are inspired to get involved — and get others involved — in their communities, and also to encourage their church to get involved in servant activities.”
Among the servant events the youth will not be involved in is the cleanup effort for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to a press release issued by LCMS District and Congregational Services — Youth Ministry, the decision was made for the following reasons:
- Many of the current cleanup positions are paid positions. Gulf Coast residents need these jobs because their usual means of income have been affected or destroyed by the oil flow.
- Most cleanup projects are a long distance from the gathering location in New Orleans.
- Most cleanup projects require training and a long-term commitment. These projects do not work within the gathering’s five-day schedule.
The Youth Ministry office encourages groups to consider doing a servant event before or after the Gathering and offers a list of suggestions on its website at www.lcmsgathering.com/?PageID=11499.
Posted June 23, 2010