It is Fall Break, so of course that means a trip to Chicago! Unlike last Fall Break, though, I was there on business. As part of the Gathering Volunteer Team for the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering, we have to start planning - it’s less than two years away, you know!
The ELCA Youth Gathering occurs every three years, pulling more than 30,000 youth and adults to serve a city and join in fellowship. The last two gatherings have been in New Orleans, building up the community after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and in 2015 we will be hosted in Detroit. Our team has the not-so-small task of organizing 550+ volunteers who run the event. That's why we need to start two years in advance!
After most of campus had vamoosed for break, I spent a quiet night in Trondheim 3 before leaving early for Minneapolis. After a short jaunt to Chicago, it was time for some Chicago-style pizza before another early night (remember, this is still my vacation! I needed sleep). Sunday morning our 10-person team made the short walk from the hotel to The Mothership... Err, the Lutheran Center, and began our meeting. Our team is a unique conglomeration of people. From 3 different time zones, and with an age range of 40 years, we each bring a piece of the Lutheran puzzle to the table.
After a productive meeting with plenty of laughs, we took the train downtown. We fulfilled our quota of ‘tourist’ at Millennium Park, taking more than our fair share of funny pictures at The Bean. I found it interesting that everywhere we went, we got a few subtle looks of, “What are all you random people doing together?” They couldn’t tell from the outside that what connected us was Lutheranism. We had another yummy dinner (so well fed on this trip), and I fell into my plush hotel bed plenty satisfied and plenty tired.
Monday we had a morning meeting, consisting mostly of a tour of The Mothership... Err, the Lutheran Center. Everybody has now returned to their different homes, each with an excitement for what is to come.