Thursday, July 16th-Proclaim Story Day
Good evening friends! Today was a Proclaim Story Day at the ELCA National Youth Gathering. We had an early start with our bus leaving at 7 am. It dropped us off at the Cobo Convention Center where we proceeded to go to the Riverwalk, take a gander at Canada across the water, and have our morning devotions. The fresh air, sunshine, and God’s Word woke up our tired hearts, minds, and bodies and prepared us for the start of the day.
We took a nice long walk along the Riverwalk, enjoying the beauty of the river as well as the State Park that we came to as well. We got off the walk to go to an urban path that has graffiti on overpasses and other places, works of art that are there to make something that is abandoned or derelict look beautiful. It was a longer walk than expected but it was a good one as well. After the walk, we went to the Renaissance Center for some shopping and lunch at the food court.
The kids got all sorts of things at the food court: pizza, soup, mac ‘n cheese, and I got a Coney Dog, a Detroit staple. They liked it so much that we went back for dinner (though it was insanely packed at dinner). After lunch we headed to the Cobo Center for our main portion of the day, our Proclaim Story day. This is done with all the kids from our Synod, the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin.
I have to admit that often times this portion of the Gathering is like a Jay Cutler pass: incomplete. However, I was very pleasantly surprised this year. Rachel Kurtz, one of our main musical acts who has written music for the Proclaim Story Day and the last couple of Gathering, showed up as a surprise performer. We had a band that played music for us as well along with leaders made up of youth from our Synod. Bishop Rick Hoyme spoke as well as preached during the worship service.
During Proclaim Story, we talked about our individual stories and how we are all part of God’s story of love, forgiveness, and salvation. We were encouraged to bear each other’s burdens and live out God’s story in our daily lives. We discussed stuff in small groups as well as a larger group and we heard, and said, that Jesus is Good News.
We left Cobo and headed back for dinner at the Ren Center and then to Ford Field for the Mass Gathering. I had my still only half eaten dinner in my bag and they took it away from me (and Megan’s open bag of goldfish crackers) but everyone’s food got through! It was Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese and it was good! We went to the same spot even after Wendy helped a person who was lost from their group. The group from Trinity Lutheran in Eau Claire also joined us.
We heard an amazing spoken word poem from someone whose name now escapes me as well as talks about Karis Ailabouni who is part of ELCA Young Adults for Global Mission and Professor Eric Barreto from Luther Seminary about how God loves and encourages diversity and then Alexia Slvatierra, a pastor who works with immigrants and their struggles. There was amazing music again by the House Band and a great mini-concert by Puerto Rican singer Blanca, even though she kept calling us the ECLA instead of the ELCA. There was much dancing and I enjoyed seeing my sister and niece on stage as part of the closing song.
We went out a different exit and had a much easier walk to our bus and the bus area was much better organized and less like a zoo. After a 25 minute bus ride (many people have to ride an hour or more), we got back to our hotel, had evening sharing, talked about the next day, and off to bed.
Tomorrow we get to learn and do it by activity in our Proclaim Community Day which is mainly held in the Cobo Convention Center. Continue to pray for us and for the Gathering that our energy will continue to be high and we will continue to feel God’s love for us in Christ!