See Your Design on the Gathering T-Shirt!

Gathering t-shirt design contest

Calling all youth and young adult artists, designers, doodlers, and creatives to submit an original design for the official 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering participant t-shirt! The Gathering t-shirt is worn by all participants on their assigned service learning program day and one of the most visible identifiers of the Gathering.

The contest will run from December 15, 2017, to January 15, 2018, and is open to all youth and young adult participants attending the 2018 ELCA Youth Gatheringin Houston, TX.

For more information, download the T-shirt contest entry form.

Synod Day webinar

Join us on Dec. 14 as Synod Day team leader, Eric Carlson, leads us in a webinar all about our Synod Day programming. Meet the planning team, hear about the goals of Synod Day, and how Synod Day is working with the Gathering theme! Also learn about what to expect on your Synod Day, and how you can best be prepared! Sign up to join us, or tune in on our Facebook Live!

Next month, we’ll be hosting our webinar on Community Life with team leader Liz Fisher. So mark your calendars for Jan. 11, and sign up here!

Making a list and checking it twice!

It’s December 2017, and it’s time to start checking our lists! This month make sure you:

For more tips, tricks, and lists- check our Official Gathering Handbook!

Blast off for books

As you prepare for the Gathering, consider supporting our 2018 in kind offering, Blast Off for Books. It is the goal of the Gathering to collect 100,000 books for children in Houston. In supporting Blast Off for Books campaign, you will help ensure bright futures for Houston’s students. The books you donate will be distributed at community book fairs, camps and other events around the city as part of the Gathering Service Learning experience. By putting books in the hands of Houston’s economically disadvantaged students, you can help change lives.

Take a look at our updated book list, or even visit our Amazon wishlist to find books you can bring to the Gathering.

Extravaganza: ‘Finding Forward’

Leadership changes everything when it comes to an event like the ELCA Youth Gathering, and prepared leaders make a difference! The ELCA Youth Gathering has prepared some incredible resourcesto help you and your group prepare. We invite you to add one more to the list: the 2018 Extravaganza, “Finding Forward” in Houston Jan. 24-20, 2018. We believe the Extravaganza will make you a better leader and help you prepare for the Gathering. You will get to visit Houston in advance of arriving with your group and 30,000 other Lutherans. If you registered for the Gathering by November 15, you will know your hotel assignment for the Gathering and can make arrangements (on your own) to visit and check out nearby food options. Gathering-specific workshops will equip you for next summer, or you can attend the pre-event Intensive Care Course, “How to Have a Great Gathering.” Gathering staff will also be available for questions in the Exhibit Hall. You will be stretched, challenged and inspired for ministry by speakers and workshop leaders. You will learn from more than 800 other leaders as you network. You will be renewed through worship. We hope you join us in Houston in January! The registration fee goes up December 21 – register today! Learn more at

Old Lutheran

Don’t forget your Gathering swag! Shirts, water bottles, giant foam cowboy hats, and so much more, all available through our friends at Old Lutheran!

While you’re there, check out their Prayers for Houston shirt.

Five dollars from your purchase will be donated to Lutheran Disaster Response for flooding relief and help in Houston Texas.

Devotion: Mary’s song

Luke 1:45-55

In Mary’s song, she begins by saying how great God is and how her spirit celebrates her Savior. By doing this, she’s gaining an understanding and appreciation for God’s blessing and how God has personally taken care of past, present, and future generations. Understanding and appreciating the personal love and grace that God has given us, like Mary did, opens our minds in ways that we never would’ve thought of before. Sometimes, in the craziness of our lives, we often forget how much God loves us and how God really does have a personal fingerprint on our individual lives.

Mary humbles herself to the Lord in this passage and tells God that she will use all of herself to be a servant of the Lord, and that’s exactly what we are called to do as Christians and as Lutherans. We are called to go out and serve the world in God’s name so that we can show God’s love and grace.

So, once we are able to appreciate God’s blessing on our lives and humble ourselves to the Lord, we will truly be able to serve this broken world in God’s name and by doing that, together WE can change everything.

Mary Winsor, Florida

2018 Gathering timeline at a glance

July 15, 2017 – Financial assistance application opened
Sept. 15, 2017 – Registration opened
Nov. 16, 2017 – Regular registration rate began
Feb. 16, 2018 – Late registration rate begins
May 15, 2018 – Registration closes and all
payments are due
June 24-27, 2018 – MYLE and the tAble
June 27-July 1, 2018 – ELCA Youth Gathering