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Church’s largest event brings 25,000 youth, young adults to San Antonio for worship, education, service opportunities
ST. LOUIS, June 24, 2013—“Live Love[d],” the 12th triennial National LCMS Youth Gathering (Gathering), begins Monday in San Antonio. The Gathering, which is The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s single largest event, brings together young people between the ages of 14-19 to spend time in worship, learning and service.
In total, some 25,000 participants will attend, including youth, young adults, volunteers, exhibitors and special guests. They represent 49 states and 14 countries, including Botswana, China, Finland, Germany, India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Slovakia.
“The National LCMS Youth Gathering provides young people and adults the opportunity to come together as a community of God’s people to be affirmed in their faith,” said the Rev. Terry Dittmer, director, LCMS Youth Ministry, which oversees the triennial event. “Through worship, studies of God’s Word, prayer, song and service, young people have the opportunity to learn more about God, Christianity and their Lutheran identity and to celebrate their salvation in Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament.”
Based on 1 John 4:9, the theme “Live Love[d],” provides the thematic and theological focus for the event. The Scripture reads: “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him” (NIV).
“The theme speaks to the confidence we have in the Gospel and how Christ’s living sacrifice gives life to those who believe,” said Rev. Mark Kiessling, program director of the Gathering for the LCMS. “This gift of life is secured in our heavenly home and brings us into fellowship and acts of service in our present world.”
Over the course of the five-day event, Gathering participants will experience hands-on activities, high impact speakers and performers, and meaningful learning opportunities. They also will participate in collecting a special offering to bring to the Gathering. This year’s offering, expected to reach more than $250,000, will support community service projects in San Antonio, ongoing domestic and international outreach efforts among young people, the Lutheran Malaria Initiative and a legacy gift to the LCMS Southern District for ongoing rebuilding in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“The offering is one way to express our thankfulness to God for the blessings He has provided as participants prepare for the spiritual experience of the Gathering,” said Dittmer.
Major events, including the Gathering Worship service and Mass Events, will be streamed live via the Gathering website. Visit www.lcmsgathering.com for a complete schedule.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) is a biblical, confessional, witness-oriented Christian denomination with 2.3 million members in 6,200 congregations. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church strives to make known the love of Jesus Christ around the world. Learn more at www.lcms.org.