LYO Board at LYO Assembly 2023
Celebration! As of Wednesday, August 2, the total amount pledged has grown to $152,000!
From Bishop Tim Smith on May 4, 2023:
I have exciting news to share! Last week, synod leadership set the audacious goal of helping to pay every NC Synod youth's registration fee for the upcoming 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering! Synod Council and other leaders have already pledged $40,000 to our goal of $200,000.
We know that youth ministries were decimated during the pandemic. We know that increasing numbers of young people are struggling under the weight of mental illness and societal pressures. I have already experienced a glimpse of youth gathering back together. In February, for the first time in three years, we gathered in Greensboro for our LYO Assembly. lt was wondrous and I felt a new wave of the Spirit sweeping through and among us as we sang, studied, worshiped, danced, and so much more. The Gathering— like LYO times 100—changes real lives of real precious young people who we want to nurture in relationship with God, each other, and of course, the church!
Through it all, we know that God has created them to be Brave, Authentic, Free, Disruptive, and Disciples! [Hint: this is the Gathering theme!] We want to make it possible for youth to experience this gospel truth in community as participants in the ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans in 2024.
The ELCA Youth Gathering is often a faith highlight for students. Our financial gifts added to our prayers and encouragement afford an opportunity to bring youth back together for conversation, community, and connecting with God along with tens of thousands of ELCA youth from across the country.
Synod leadership has already pledged $40,000 to our goal of $200,000, so we’re already a fifth of the way to the goal! I encourage you to bring individual and congregational gifts to share as part of our offering during Synod Assembly at the Friday night worship on June 2. Not coming to assembly? You may also give online.
We know the Gathering is expensive. In addition to travel and meals which can run close to $1,000 per youth, there is that $375 registration fee we’re hoping to cover. As Deacon Beka Forst, youth minister at Holy Comforter, Belmont, shares, “To have this gift would mean there are fewer barriers for young people to go to the Gathering, it would mean there is less of a burden for families to send their youth to this experience, and it would mean that this experience is in fact for everyone. I want as many of my youth to be able to go the Gathering, and this is helping make that possible.”
We are looking forward to seeing you at the Assembly!
Bishop Tim Smith
NC Synod ELCA