Walking Together

2018 Gathering Registration Opens

Be ready when you log in with the information needed to enter your participants, but know that you will be able to go back in to update data as needed. In fact, one question I've been asked is:
Can I still add additional participants before the November "early-bird" deadline, if families change their mind and decide to send their youth?   
There are some "Gathering Giveaways" or incentives, designed to get congregations to register early. So registering now helps you access those incentives, and as long as you still enter any additional participants before the November 15th price increase, you'll get the same rate for the later entries.
Is Houston REALLY going to be ready for us?
Here's a link to a locally written article about the recovery happening in Houston already
What about housing? When will we know where we are housed?
A couple things:
  1. Synods will be housed together
  2. Registrants prior to November 15 have a better chance of being housed with their synod
  3. Housing assignments will be announced prior to the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Event, scheduled for Houston in late-January, IF you register before November 15.
  4. Housing is assigned by the Gathering Office, BUT...
  5. You secure your housing, the number of rooms, and who is assigned to what rooms, after you receive your assignment, by contacting the hotel directly with a credit card number to hold your rooms. (Don't worry about this until assignments come out in late-January or early-February of next year.)
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Benefit Concert by John Linker

Princeton, IL: A benefit performance by John Linker will take place at St. John Lutheran Church, rural Princeton on October 8, 2017, 7:00 p.m.

There is no admission charge but donations at the door will go to Lutheran Disaster Response to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, and to send St. John youth to the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, TX.

A gifted organist, choir director, music educator and choral composer, John Linker is Director of Music for Christ Church Transitional in New Zealand.  He is the first American to ever hold this post.


John Linker is Director of Music at ChristChurch Transitional Cathedral (appointed 2014) where he leads the oldest musical entity in New Zealand, the ChristChurch Cathedral Choir. Concurrent to his Cathedral duties, John has the pleasure serving as Music Director for Christchurch City Choir (appointed 2016), an enthusiastic group of 70+ singers committed to the highest artistic excellence.  Both the Cathedral Choir and the City Choir are integral to the religious, artistic, and musical life of the Canterbury region, and provide a sense of cultural stability in the ever changing landscape of Christchurch.

A native of Princeton, Illinois, USA, John holds music degrees from Northern Illinois University and Chicago Musical College (Roosevelt University). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  John holds memberships and has held leadership positions in the Royal School of Church Music Canterbury Branch, the New Zealand Organ Association, the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity.

Prior to coming to New Zealand, John led choir programmes in Kentucky and Illinois to critical acclaim.  An active organist, John has performed throughout the US, the UK, Europe, and New Zealand, and was recently a featured performer for the New Zealand Organ Association National Congress.  In addition to teaching, John is passionate about chamber music and collaborative music making. His greatest joy is any adventure with his wife Molly and their daughter Lila, and family cat Raphael.

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How is God Calling You Into the World?

Have you ever wondered about Public Ministry? Or Seminary? Or both?

Come visit the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and find out for yourself what life is like as a seminarian!

LSTC has two events this Fall:

Seminary Sampler, Sunday, October 22 through Tuesday, October, 24,

and Seminary Sampler Night, Tuesday, November 14.

Come meet current students and faculty, sit in on classes, and join the conversation about how God is calling you into the world.

Housing and meals during the event are provided. Travel stipends are available. Spouses, partners, and parents are invited to attend. Childcare is available during Seminary Sampler Night.

For more information visit:

Or contact us:


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Triennial Gathering speaker to preach at Our Savior's Rockford

Pastor Angela Khabeb will speak at both services (8:30 and 10:45) on Women’s Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 3300 Rural Street in Rockford. She is a pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church in Waukesha, WI and was the inspiring speaker at the Sunday service at this year’s Triennial Gathering in Minneapolis, MN.

The Rev. Angela T. Khabeb is a Lutheran pastor serving at Ascension Church in Waukesha, Wisc.  Angela, a Bridges Scholar, completed seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago where she won the James Kenneth Echols Prize for Excellence in Preaching.  In 2000, she was the first African American ELCA missionary to Namibia, Africa.  While in Namibia, she met and married her husband, Benhi.  Benhi and Angela have been married for 16 years and enjoy an active home life with their three wonderful children, Konami, Khenna and Khonni.

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...for Pr. Woody Knutson and family at the death of his wife, Diane in Rockford on September 12

Dear Friends in Christ,

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It is with sadness that I report to you the death of Ms. Diane Knutson, wife of Rev. Norwood Knutson, who passed away Tuesday, September 12, 2017 in Rockford, Illinois.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. -11:45 a.m. at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 675 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, Illinois.  A memorial service will follow at 12:00 p.m. at St. Mark.

As the church we offer our sympathy to Diane’s family and friends and because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we rejoice in God’s promise of eternal life, comfort and hope.

In Christ,
Bishop Jeffrey Clements

Read the obituary.

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Making Christ Known

    September / October 2017 Making Christ Known

    The Small Catechism - Confession and Blessings

    In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Making Christ Known has featured a series focusing on Luther’s Small Catechism. We conclude this year-long series with Confession and Blessings.

    A Kinder and Gentler Confession

    NIS Bishop Jeffrey Clements

    I am sometimes amused by what has stuck with me for a lifetime. When I was a child, the Sunday liturgy did not vary much. There were two settings for Holy Communion in the Service Book and Hymnal, but we only used one of them. The Collect and Scripture readings were different each week. There was some variety in the hymns, although I think we sang “Holy, Holy, Holy” at least 26 times a year. But, everything else was pretty much the same, week after week, year after year. Even the sermon with its introduction, three points, and conclusion was formulaic.

    One result of all those years of repetition was the memorization of large portions of the liturgy, which came in handy for playing church at home. The words actually became a part of who I am. It is funny, however, to note the parts that are still lurking in the recesses of my mind some 38 years after the SBH was retired.

    My pastor favored the use of Public Confession. I recall the beautiful words of absolution. “Almighty God, our heavenly Father, hath had mercy upon us, and for the sake of the sufferings, death, and resurrection of his dear Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, forgiveth us all our sins. As a Minister of the Church of Christ, and by his authority, I therefore declare unto you who do truly repent and believe in him, the entire forgiveness of all your sins: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

    But more than these words of grace, I vividly recall the admonition that followed. “On the other hand, by the same authority, I declare to the impenitent and unbelieving, that so long as they continue in their impenitence, God hath not forgiven their sins, and will assuredly visit their iniquities upon them, if they turn not from their evil ways, and come to true repentance and faith in Christ, ere the day of grace be ended.”

    I have wondered if my pastor took some secret delight in threatening the congregation with God’s vengeance. I also wonder if the adults in the congregation heard these words as the same kind of threat that I did.

    Corporate Confession is kinder and gentler these days. Luther’s Small Catechism keeps confession pretty simple, stating that it has two parts, confessing sins and receiving absolution. When the words of forgiveness are given to us, we are to receive them as from God. I hope our children hear words conveying God’s grace often enough so that they become a part of who they are.

    Download the issue.


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