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ELCA Youth Gathering

2018 ELCA Youth Gathering

WHO: Youth entering 8th-12th grade in the fall of 2017

WHEN: June 27-July 1, 2018

WHERE: Houston, Texas

Next Meeting:

Youth and Leader meeting Sunday, November 12, 12:45-2:00pm at the church. We will gather to share the November Youth Gathering Bible Study and other Gathering preparations.

A++ Congregation

Since Bethlehem is a congregation working toward getting to “the head of the class”, let’s meet the class. We have 16 Bethlehem youth planning to go to the ELCA 2018 Youth Gathering in Houston: Jackson Barth, Isaak Dengler, Lily Hermanson, Trenton Holden, Jill Kestner, Kelly Kestner, Sabrina Leistikow, Sam Lubs, Kallista Mohl, Alex Schmidt, Austin Schmidt Lakin Sheeley, Brenna Sorensen, Austin Sternhagen, Kaelyn Walker, and Kordel Walker. As we prepare for their big trip in July, please keep them in your prayers. Lord, we pray that these students build a special bond as a Gathering group, that they strengthen their faith through the Gathering Bible studies, that they grow in service to others as they prepare to help the Houston community through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Fundraisers: Casey's Pizza Cards, That's My Pan sale, Cook Book (Reciepes are being gathered at this time. If you have a recipe you'd like to contribute, please send it to the church.), Gift wrapping: Crossroads Mall, Waterloo, Saturday, December 2, 11:00am-4:00pm, Christmas Bake Sale: Sunday, December 10

About the Gathering

Every three years, 30,000 high school youth and their adult leaders from across the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gather for a week of faith formation known as the Gathering. Through days spent in interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service, and fellowship, young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives.

Abbreviated Gathering Bible Study:

Gathering for Home November 2017

St. Paul reminded the community of the Ephesians: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” This changes everything! Amen!

This session will look at the complexities of homelessness. We will learn that there is a whole lot behind getting to the point of homelessness. Remember we can’t just hear one story. We need to hear many stories to get a deeper sense of this issue.

Beginning Prayer:

God heard the cries of those without homes and that working for justice with and for people experiencing homelessness is doing God’s will and work in our world.

Christians love does not provide ready-made, one-size-fits-all solutions to the crisis, but the message calls Christians to work with those experiencing homelessness in their struggles and provides guidance as together we pursue just, appropriate, and sustainable solutions that uphold human dignity. In your name, we pray. Amen.

God’s Story – Scripture

Mark 5:1-9: Homelessness Insights

Why is this man experiencing homelessness?

How does this man relate to Jesus?

What question does Jesus ask this man?

What does Jesus’ question teach us about relationship with people experiencing homelessness?

Why is knowing someone’s name important?

Matthew 25:34-46, Food, Shelter, and Wellness: Moving to Action

What categories in this passage might people experiencing homelessness fit into?

Where do we see these categories in our local contexts today?

This passage is a warning and teaching from Jesus about the responsibility of God’s people in his time.

What is our responsibility as God’s people to those experiencing homelessness:

See the ELCA’s social message on homelessness at elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/HomelessnessSM.pdf

Discuss:

What is the difference between labeling a person as “homeless” versus talking about a person as experiencing homelessness?

How can this language be applied to other life circumstances?

How does homelessness affect my life?

Who in our community is experiencing homelessness?

What efforts are we doing a as community to help end homelessness?

Sending Prayer:

Throughout his ministry, Jesus encountered and ministered to those who were experiencing homelessness. Those who were sick, lame, blind, mentally ill, discarded women, those experiencing extreme poverty. Those society shunned and cast out into the streets. Jesus himself experienced homelessness and was at the mercy of friends and followers to provide for his needs. God calls on us to provide homes with and for all humanity. May God bless you with and understanding of radical hospitality and a sense of home. Amen.

Blessing and Sending:

When I say, “Stand up”, we all stand up. When I say, “Stand with,” put your arm around your neighbor’s shoulder. When I say, “Stand for,” mark the sign of the cross on the forehead of someone beside you.

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Never take for granted that you have the safety of a physical home, the comfort of a spiritual home and faith community. May we always understand that we have a call to accompany and advocate for those who have less. May you be blessed with a sense of radical hospitality so that all might know the love and acceptance found in our home with Jesus Christ.

Stand up – using your feet to end homelessness.

Stand with – those experiencing homelessness or are close to that reality.

Stand for – justice meant for all people in all places.

Go in peace, walk with those experiencing homelessness!

Thanks be to God.

Gathering for Reformation October 2017

St. Paul reminded the community of the Ephesians: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” This changes everything! Amen!

Beginning Prayer:

Martin Luther’s Morning Blessing: We give thanks to you, God, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected us through the night from all harm and danger. We ask that you also protect us today from sin and all evil, so that our life and actions may please you. Into your hands we commend ourselves; our body, our soul, and all that is ours. Let your holy angel be with us, so that the wicked foe may have no power over us. Amen.

God’s Story – Scripture

Philippians 2:8-10

Discuss:

Why is it so hard for us to understand grace?

What commonly held life principle does it demolish? (That if we do good things, we get into heaven.)

Translate the words “grace” and “faith” into language a 10-year-old would understand.

Discussion continued:

The ELCA Youth Gathering theme verse is Ephesians 2:8 and the theme is “This changes everything” – God’s grace changes everything. What does that mean for us today?

Sending Prayer:

God of forgiveness, we give you thanks for those who work to reform our church and our society, and we recognize we are blessed by those who through your guidance work to improve our lives. We ask that you help us end injustice and inequality through the removal of faults or abuses. Together, we can celebrate Martin Luther, the Reformation, and that it is by the gift of God’s grace and through faith that we share in Christ’s suffering, resurrection, and eternal life. Amen.

Blessing and Sending:

When I say, “Stand up”, we all stand up. When I say, “Stand with,” put your arm around your neighbor’s shoulder. When I say, “Stand for,” mark the sign of the cross on the forehead of someone beside you. (You also may say the sending together.)

L: The Lord be with you.

P: And also with you.

Stand up – for reform, changing injustices.

Stand with – those working for reform for the benefit of all.

Stand for – justice meant for all people in all places.

God in peace, Serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Gathering for Community September 2017

St. Paul reminded the community of the Ephesians: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” This changes everything! Amen

Beginning Prayer:

by Mother Teresa:

Silence is prayer.

Prayer is faith.

Faith is love.

Love is service.

The fruit of service is peace. Amen.

God’s Story – Scripture

Philippians 2:3-4

Discuss:

What do you hear in these verses?

What mindset are we to have based on these verses?

How are we doing with that?

Why do you think we have such trouble with this as a mindset?

How can we change our mindset?

Sending Prayer:

As people of faith we are called to move beyond charity and enter into relationships with people who are different from us, to walk alongside them in their mission, and to join them in building a better world. Guide us in our efforts to do this. Open our hearts and minds to hear the multitude of stories, not just one. In Jesus name, Amen.

Blessing and Sending:

When I say, “Stand up”, we all stand up. When I say, “Stand with,” put your arm around your neighbor’s shoulder. When I say, “Stand for,” mark the sign of the cross on the forehead of someone beside you.

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Stand up - using your gifts to serve God.

Stand with - using your talents to care for God’s people.

Stand for - using your passions to better God’s creation and change the world.

God in peace, Serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

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