For Immediate Release
Contact: Vicki Biggs, 314-996-1236, 314-556-3829 (cell), @VickiBiggs2
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25,000 attended church’s largest event for edifying time in worship, education, service
SAN ANTONIO, July 5, 2013—“Live Love[d],” the 12th triennial National LCMS Youth Gathering (Gathering), closing today in San Antonio, will contribute $30 million to the local economy, according to figures released by the city’s convention and visitors bureau, and leave a tangible legacy of service to local and national organizations.
“The National LCMS Youth Gathering not only impacts the life and faith of our participants but has left an imprint on the City of San Antonio, which has been loved by the youth who came here to serve,” said the Rev. Bart Day, executive director of the LCMS’ Office of National Mission and whose responsibilities include overseeing the Gathering.
In addition to generating revenues as a result of their stay in San Antonio – they accessed some 60 hotel properties alone – Gathering participants collected a special offering and brought it to the Gathering. The $100,000 offering supported more than 100 local service projects and will fund ongoing domestic and international outreach efforts among young people, the ongoing work of 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.
“San Antonio was thrilled to welcome back the National LCMS Youth Gathering, San Antonio’s second largest convention of the year,” said Casandra Matej, executive director, San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. “One of the most important things that the National Youth Gathering contributed to our community besides a tremendous local economic impact was the numerous service projects and charity events that directly benefited the people of San Antonio. We are extremely grateful for their willingness to give back to their host community.”
As part of the experiential learning and service aspect of the Gathering, Lutheran youth collected and assembled thousands of items for individuals and families in need locally and around the nation. This includes:
- 323,000 meals for Feeding Children Everywhere
- 1,500 personal care kits for area shelters and community organizations
- 1,140 school supplies kits for local students in need
- 1,006 units of blood for Texas hospitals
- 500 thank-you cards for members of the military
- 250 fleece blankets for shelters around the country
- 64 haircuts for Locks of Love
The Gathering’s 5K run/walk through downtown San Antonio counted a record number of runners — more than 3,000 — and raised $30,600 for the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, a partnership of Lutheran World Relief and the LCMS to provide education and treatment to help end malaria deaths in Africa.
Volunteer hours added up to 20,000. Over the course of the Gathering, some 5,000 young people volunteered at 100 off-site servant events – or service projects — benefiting local churches, schools, parks, health care facilities and other service organizations that provide child and family care and counseling, housing and meals for those in need. Service projects included:
- Making home and building repairs
- Painting and refurbishing properties
- Removing litter and sprucing up landscaping
- Assisting at day care and senior living facilities
- Building a baseball field
- Painting a mural
- Tending urban gardens
- Cleaning up flood debris
- Repairing a playground
- Visiting children with disabilities and senior citizens
“The Gathering is very much more than a good time,” said the Rev. Terry Dittmer, director of Youth Ministry for the LCMS. “It’s about faith in Christ and how He moves us to live. When you look at what Gathering participants contributed to the community and causes around the world, you can easily see that our youth and adults really understand what it means to ‘live love.’”
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a biblical, confessional, witness-oriented Christian denomination with 2.3 million members – 600,000 households – in 6,200 congregations. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.lcms.org.