ELCA Youth Gathering: Friday, July 17, Proclaim Community Day

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by Brad Peterson

Friday, July 17, 2015


I stood at the top step just before the platform and I thought to myself, “This might be a bad idea.  There is much that can go wrong, I am old and frankly over the weight limit for what I’m about to do.  I could get very hurt, break the thing, embarrass myself, and much more.”  Then I took four more steps, paused, and jumped.

This was one of the first things I did on our second full day here at the Gathering, our Proclaim Community Day.  This is a day in which we spent mostly in the Interaction Center, but more on that in a bit.  We got up at our usual super early time and made our way to the bus in a pouring rain.  This meant we couldn’t do our morning devotions outside but we did them inside the Cobo Center instead.  After devotions, we went shopping at the Gathering Store and bought something for our man Luke.  The good news is that he is feeling a lot better and is on his way to a full recovery.  The bad is that we still miss him.



After shopping, it was time to start our Proclaim Community day inside the halls of the Cobo Center.  We split up with Wendy, Kayla, and Kendall going one way, the rest of the girls went towards the high ropes, and Nik and I headed to the jump into the inflatable mat that was much higher than it looked on the ground.  It was a lot of fun.  Megan, Peyton, Maddy, Nicole, Sammi, and Katie all did the zip line while Hayley joined Kayla and Kendall as they went around the center.  After Nik and I jumped, we met up with most of the girls to do the Tinkletown Wheelchair activity, but the line was super long and very slow so we eventually left that line.  However, while we waited we did run into my sister and some of her group.

We split up after that with Kayla, Kendall, Wendy, and Hayley going one way, Maddy, Sammi, Nik, and Peyton going another, and Nicole, Megan, Katie, and Me going our own way.  Some of the activities people did included making hats, faith trees, riding bicycle bumper cars, doing graffiti art, visiting the photo booth, learning about human trafficking, working for people with disabilities, the Gospel of Mark through art at the Book of Faith Initiative (ran into Bishop Rick Hoyme there), and much more.  Many of us donated money to the Walk for Water campaign.  We wanted to do the walk but the line was huge all day and we are going to try to do it tomorrow.  Some even watched and listened to a lip synch battle!



One of the cool things for me is running into people I know and old friends I haven’t seen in a bit.  Even the kids run into people they don’t expect to be here!  Today was a great day for this.  I ran into Mary Toufar, former program director of Luther Park, right away this morning.  Saw the Bishop and other pastors of the synod, met a girl who goes to a friends church in Holmen, saw some former pastors from our area who have left, and even cooler, ran into one of my favorite people of all-time, Dave Lyle.  Dave and I lived next to each other two out of our three years at Seminary.  He has been in South Carolina and is moving to IL to a new church next month.  He saw me and ran at me right before the Mass Gathering and we got to catch up for a few minutes before they had to be someplace.  We hadn’t seen each other in ten years.  These are the type of interactions that are great about the Gathering.


We left Proclaim Community to meet up with Pastor Tim Schmidt from Cumberland and his crew at the original Buddy’s Pizza, a Detroit landmark, to celebrate Pastor Tim’s 40th birthday.  All day I made videos of our group, pastoral colleagues, the Bishop, and even strangers, to send to Tim for his birthday. We made 16 in all.  Our meal at Buddy’s was unbelievable and totally awesome.  We taxied there and then we took a taxi over to Ford Field for the Mass Gathering.


At the Mass Gathering, we got our normal spot in section 220 and jammed out dancing to pre-show music.  I even learned a few new moves!  We saved a bunch of seats for my sisters group from Hope Lutheran Church in Farmington Hills, who really wanted to join us tonight.  They have made some friends with our group ever since our pool party with them on Tuesday.  Plus, my niece has a crush on Nik (and probably the other way around too!)  I have fun teasing him!  The Cumberland group also joined us tonight too.

We heard lots of great speakers and music.  The standouts included Pastor Steve Jerbi who encouraged us to not only Build Bridges (our theme of the night) but also to claim Jesus in our lives.  The best musical act was the Motown All-Stars, made up of some of the members of the great Motown groups like the Temptations and the Miracles.  They really brought it and the Gathering thundered in its applause!  As we left, we took a group picture with our friends from Hope and then headed into the streets to fireworks from the just completed Detroit Tigers game which ended at the same time we did.  Our walk back was slower due to increased traffic and we almost didn’t have a bus to take us back to the hotel. When we got one, they went the wrong way but since I always keep the hotel in my GPS, I was able to help them get us home, though much later than we wanted.




I let the kids go straight to bed as we have our Proclaim Justice Service Project tomorrow.  It will be a hot one but I know that we will come with energy, with purpose, and full of servant hearts ready to serve Jesus and help Detroit “Rise Up!”  Thank you for your prayers and support!  God bless!