Sunday, July 19, 2015

Closing Worship

Blog Post: Karen Kohler 

After we got back from Ford Field and had lunch, we gathered as a youth group and had a great conversation about what impact from Detroit we would take back home from us. A lot of us said things like, taking more volunteering opportunities, donating to the homeless, realizing that little deeds make a difference, and participating more in supporting small businesses. After that, we went to the hotel to have some free time. Some of us went to the pool and hot tub and had a great time with each other and some people from other churches. Afterwards, we went to a nice dinner with everyone at Carrabbas. Our bus driver, Bob, and Katharine's mom and aunt had dinner with us, and it was really nice. We had a great day today!

Blog Post: Taylor Bauman

On the final day of our gathering we came together in Ford Field for our closing worship. As we filed into the rows it began to sink in that this would be my last youth event and I wanted it to be amazing. We began singing, clapping, and dancing to the house band. As worship started we watched the Bishop parade in with ribbons and doves flying high. The energy in the arena was incredible. The message from Bishop Eaton was to bring and have hope; to say hallelujah even when you are in the dark. It was really inspiring to hear a message from the presiding Bishop of our church. We were also able to see the installment of the new director of the ELCA national youth gathering, as well as the retirement of the former one. Communion, as hectic as it is for 30,000 people, ran smoothly and Rachel Kurtz singing Hallelujah in the background was amazing; feeling was incredible. The best part came at the end of the service when we were able to hear another slam poem from Natasha T. Miller. As well as finding out that in 2018 the National Youth Gathering will be held in HOUSTON! As everyone cheered for Houston it hit me particularly hard that this was my last youth event ever, and I began to cry but they were not tears of just sadness but tears of happiness because I know that where I am called next Jesus will still be with me to help break chains, build bridges and bring hope. As we sang the final song, swaying back and forth as a youth group, I felt so blessed for being able to come to Detroit.

Just because this is the greatest picture ever

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Proclaim Justice Day

Blog Entry: Rachel Matthews

This evening we hung out for awhile at the Renaissance Center, then rode on the People Mover, a train the loops around the downtown, and got to take a look around the city of Detroit from a different perspective. Later we walked to Ford Field for our large gathering. The theme tonight was how we have chains that hold us down and entangle our minds but the only thing that can set us free is Jesus. (The chains being things like money, drugs, alcohol, possessions, gossip, depression etc.) The speech that spoke to me the most tonight was told by Rosella White. She spoke about how everyone is loved and worthy and an image of God. As well as embracing who you are because God made you that way. The music was also amazing tonight. Skillet blew the roof off of Ford Field! We had so much fun dancing and yelling. We could truly feel the presence of God. 

Blog Entry: Eric Williams

We started our day bright and early, leaving the hotel at 7:15 a.m. We were dropped off at Hart Plaza at 8:05 to begin our Proclaim Justice day. We then departed the plaza after instructions and finding our "servant companion" Hannah, a college student from St. Louis. We were grouped with members of the Grand Canyon synod (El Paso, Texas and New Mexico churches) as well as a church from a small town in Iowa. While in transit, we were told where we would be working - a neighborhood in east Detroit. After our arrival, we were split into three groups, one for each of the three houses in which we were to clear the properties. We found many interesting things, such as an old computer and pictures of past residents. After lunch, we continued work removing weeds and cutting grass. We finished around 1:30 p.m. - which was two hours earlier than planned - and returned to Hart Plaza. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Live at Ford Field!

Proclaim Community Day

Blog Entry: Irina McCay-Pedrick

I walk into Ford Field and there are about 30,000 people there. I can already feel the energy emitting from all the people around me. It is the most incredible and indescribable feeling in the world, to see 30,000 people all rise up together and sing with one voice and dance with one body. It is an explosion of people from different parts of the United States, joining together as one. It is the most electrifying feeling. This worship reminds me of the worship in Honduras, when people dance and sing with all their interior being. The music at Ford Field was so loud but loud in a good way. I could feel the vibrations move through my entire body. I could feel the rhythm pump through my veins and flowing into my heart. I found myself not wanting to sit down; I let go. It is the most powerful feeling in the world to be united with so many people. How could you not feel like you could do anything? I always want to feel the way I felt in that stadium. I wish this feeling could be explained better but there are no words in the human language that could possibly describe it.  

Blog Entry: Valerie Wessel

Today was our Proclaim Community day: a day all about learning and giving back not only to the Detroit community, but communities around the world. We started our day with worship. The 9:15 service was full of beautiful word and song, featuring Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and Christian rapper, Agape. After dismissal, the morning was our time to explore. The huge Cobo Center convention halls held hundreds of activities to partake in. Things such as writing graffiti, making puppets, building houses, carrying water through an obstacle course, playing on the "Bumper Karts" (which was hilariously entertaining), and much, much more. Two of the more in-depth giving opportunities were giving blood and donating hair. I didn't participate in either because I'm too small to give blood and too attached to my hair to donate it, but four of our awesome youth group ladies had the heart to donate 8 inches each of their gorgeous hair to make wigs for girls who hope to feel just as gorgeous. It was all such a humbling experience and an incredible day.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Proclaim Story Day

Blog Entry: Garland Carter

Thursday in Ford Field was amazing! We listened to two amazing speakers, Blanca (a great Puerto Rican singer) and amazing slam poetry. Not to mention the house band sang "Uptown Funk" with a Christian twist to all the lyrics. 
One of the speakers, Eric Baretto, spoke about how God made us all different on purpose. Diversity isn't an obstacle to overcome but our differences should be embraced not rejected. "God does not make generic people." Overall today was a great day, other than waiting for an hour to get food.

Blog Entry: Anne Ridenhour
Today we were up and at 'em early. As we tried to find the much needed coffee at Starbucks, we admired the cars throughout the GM Marriott plaza. Next we went out for our "First 15" which is the Bible study we have as a youth group to start each day. We sat on the River Walk as we looked out over the Canadian skyline while we explored Mark 2:1-12. Then, we went to the Cobo Center before we departed to go to Synod Day. At the Cobo Center, there are many options which include shopping, playing games, resting in the quiet room, and socializing. 

Today was our day of Proclaim Story which was spent with our Synod. The Virginia Synod is special in that we are already a close knit family because of all of the different events throughout the year. Our Synod Day was spent exploring our faith through "My Story Journal" which had personal reflections and group discussion questions such as, "What has been a barrier between you and knowing the good news?" We are also very proud of Megan and Kat who had roles during the program and worship service. Every one from our church also assisted during the worship portion as ushers, communication assistants or helpers. I personally enjoyed the day spent with our Synod because we got to see our friends and sing songs with Dave Delaney. Then we went to get dinner.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Heidelberg Project & first night at Ford Field

Blog Entry: Elle Lewis

After dinner together at Bagger Dave's Burger Tavern, we headed to Ford Field, our large gathering home (and home of the Detroit Lions) for the next four nights. All 30,000 of us Lutherans came together as we were welcomed to the gathering. In this setting, we will experience lots of music from various artists as well as keynote speakers. It is truly powerful and unifying to see all of us together under one roof. It was an emotional moment for me and I can't wait to experience it again! 

Blog Entry: Kat Seitz 

Today, we began our experience in Detroit by visiting the Heidelberg Project. We saw many different facets of the city in one square block, ranging from dilapidated houses to bright and colorful sculptures. The Heidelberg Project was a revitalization of a block on Heidelb street in Detroit where many houses were abandoned. The artist, Tyree Guyton, created many types of art using "magic trash" to deter crime and brighten the community. Both by talking to people in the community and looking at Tyree's work we learned a lot about Detroit. 

We saw a house painted with numbers and another painted with polka dots. Piles of shoes sat in abandoned lots. We signed the yellow house guestbook, inscribing our names and hometown on the walls of the yellow house in marker. The faces of God were painted on the sidewalk and paintings of taxis and clocks were everywhere.

What really struck me the most was the transition from reading about it to actually experiencing it. Not all were excited to see the Lutherans there. Not all knew how to react either.

More on the Heidelberg Project: