Youth Gathering Preparations: Racism in Our Lives

We’re getting so close to leaving for our trip! This week we focused on understanding a few different levels of racism and the roles they can play in our lives, communities, and the world around us. We watched this video that helped to explain the privilege that can be associated with racial and socioeconomic discrimination. Continue reading for a brief recap of what we learned! Continue reading

Youth Gathering Preparations: Confronting Evil

Racism in America is a deep-seated evil that holds both the victims and the perpetrators in bondage. Liberation comes when we proclaim the redeeming work of Christ as it convicts us of our sin and simultaneously absolves us. We explored the reality of racism in Detroit in order to arrive at a place that will allow us to enter Detroit with the type of awareness and humility that are necessary to be with and for the people of Detroit.

This week we read through some articles and explored their relation to the theology of the cross. Our work can be found in the courtyard area of the worship center on the bulletin board. Please take an opportunity to explore the interactive display we have there. Continue reading

Youth Gathering Preparations: Detroit’s Past, Present, and Future

Before we take off, we had to introduce the history and culture of Detroit (including history, cars, music, food, business and landmarks) in preparation for the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering. The knowledge we gained will enable us to visit Detroit with a deeper appreciation for and understanding of the city and what it has to offer.

Detroit has a rich past and a promising future. Before we enter into Detroit as guests, it is important for us to spend some time learning about Detroit’s past, present and future. Detroit received a lot of bad press in the last few years. The media has failed to tell the stories of innovation and hopefulness at work among those who live and work in and around Detroit. They also have failed to lift up and honor the rich and vibrant past of Detroit, a past that brings the city’s people great pride. Continue reading

Youth Gathering Preparations: Theologians of the Cross

As we continue to prepare ourselves for the Gathering, the youth and adult leaders took some time to discover the Theology of the Cross and why that is important to us as Lutheran Christians.

We learned first that God in the person of Jesus Christ is calling us to live by:

  • faith, not by sight
  • hope, not consummation
  • love, not power

Once we explored these ideas, we discovered that they came as a product of four acts of God through Christ’s death on the cross:

  • Solidarity: God actively pursues solidarity with humanity in Christ.
  • Suffering: Christ intentionally suffers with, for and because of us.
  • Reality: Christ’s solidarity and suffering exposes the reality of evil.
  • Resurrection: In Christ, God redeems, bringing new life from suffering and death.

We saw that as we travel to Detroit this summer, and throughout the rest of our lives, we are called to be theologians of the cross. Continue reading

Youth Gathering Preparations: The Gospel of Mark

Youth Gatherings typically have a theme verse. However, in 2015, the ELCA has decided to use a theme book, Mark! In our first preparation meeting students took time looking through the book of Mark and developing their Kingdom Specs (a way of looking at the world through the lenses of Jesus and Discipleship using the experiences of the people throughout the Gospel.

Continue reading

2015 Youth Gathering – Rise Up Together!

RiseUp Logo (300)In July of 2015, St. Mark will be taking 15 high school youth and 4 adult chaperones to the ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit, MI. Our youth will have an opportunity to engage with peers from across the United States and the world who share a common commitment to and faith in Christ.

The Gathering is a five-day event that begins on a Wednesday evening and ends with a service of communion the following Sunday morning. The opening night sets the stage for the days ahead in which young people may have an encounter with Jesus that energizes their faith and helps them discover their call to serve in the world — locally and globally.

On the days between Wednesday and Sunday, young people rotate through a variety of service learning experiences in the surrounding community. They explore and strengthen their faith by studying God’s word, serving their neighbor, sharing bread and wine in worship, participating in lively faith discussions and broadening their experience of God’s world and diverse communities through travel. Continue reading

Navajo Nation – Day 7

Here is the video from our final day in Arizona! It was so cool that the youth decided to give up some of their free day to finish the work they started. I’ve been so blessed to witness all the growth from this week.

I finally got it uploaded after a day with no internet. Sorry for the delay!!!

Navajo Nation – Day 6

Here is the video from Day 6 of our mission trip. We had a ton of fun on the worksite, I think it’ll show a little bit.

This evening we walked up to the top of the large hill next to our house. We did a bible study and a little bit of worship up there. I was amazed to see how much everybody has grown this week. We don’t have any video of the worship time because it was too dark, but I encourage you to ask about it when we get back.

Enjoy the video and please, comment below!

Navajo Nation – Day 5


Here it is! Day 5, today we really got in a groove and did some really awesome things. We want to thank all of you who have done anything at all to make this trip possible. This video will show you some of the amazing transformations that have happened this week.

Let us know what you think!

Navajo Nation – Day 4

Today we returned to work on the walls and painting of Good News Church. We’re really excited to see their building become more inviting!

We also had our first day of VBS today. We had 13 kids show up which was almost double what we expected and definitely an answer to our prayers (and yours)!

Thanks for all the comments! The kids favorite part of the day is getting to hear from their parents and friends back home! Keep them coming!

P.S. Our prayers are with you all as you go through some tough weather. Stay safe everyone!