2018 ELCA Youth Gathering

June 27 – July 1, 2018
Houston, Texas







Some 600 youth and adults from the Northeastern Iowa Synod joined more than 30,000 others for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering at Houston in June. They came together for five days of faith formation, worship, interactive learning, Bible study, community service projects, and fellowship. During this time the young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives.

The theme for the 2018 Gathering was “This Changes Everything,” based on Ephesians 2:8: “By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

Thank you to everyone who helped youth from this synod attend. Watch for more information in the September issue of the Star newsletter.

ELCA Youth Gatherings are held every three years. The next Gathering will be June 29 – July 3, 2021, in Minneapolis.

Read more at the ELCA Youth Gathering Facebook page

Read more at the Northeastern Iowa Synod, ELCA Facebook page


Watch live video from the Gathering

If you’re interested in seeing what our youth are experiencing, you can watch live video from the ELCA Youth Gathering throughout the week. 

The ELCA Youth Gathering will be livestreaming:

  • MYLE worship: June 26 — 6:45 p.m. (all times CDT)
  • The tAble worship: June 27 — 10 a.m.
  • Daily Bible studies: June 27-30 — 3:30 p.m.
  • Mass Gatherings: June 27-30 — 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday morning worship: July 1 — 10 a.m.


Follow the live stream at ELCA.org/gathering
Follow the event on Facebook
Follow #ELCAYH2018 on Twitter. 


It’s Time for the Gathering

ANDERSON-MARK-smThe triennial ELCA Youth Gathering is all about faith formation in teens. This is achieved by worship, interactive learning and Bible study. The Gathering also provides youth with a a week of Christian fellowship and service learning.

Congregations will be successful in faith formation and have a safe and fun Gathering based on how completely they participate in the getting-ready activities. The Bible studies provided for use before the Gathering and the team building that will happen during planning meetings and fund raising will be key.  Simply put, the congregation will get as much out of the Gathering as they put into the preparation.

Check this website often for updates and tips to prepare for the Gathering.

Visit the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering website to learn more, download resources and find out how to get ready for this exciting event!

— Pastor Mark Anderson, Assistant to the Bishop


Share Transportation

If your youth group can share transportation seats with another congregation or if your group is in need of seats, send an email to the synod office know so that we can post it on the chart below.

To buy or sell seats, contact the congregation directly.


2018 TRANSPORTATION & HOTEL CHART (Revised 2-2-18)

Congregation m City m Travel m Seats m Contact m  Hotel       
Lord of Life   Asbury           Nichole Lyons   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
Trinity   Belmond   Bus   Buy 9    Dawn Pederson   Springhill Suites, NRG
Bethlehem   Cedar Falls   Bus   Sell?   Robin   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
St. John   Cedar Falls           Jonathan Fry   Springhill Suites, NRG
St. John   Charles City           Russ Leeper   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
Immanuel   Cresco   Bus   Sell?   Lisa Kammerer   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
Decorah   Decorah   Bus       Todd Hove   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
First   Decorah   Bus       Adrian    
Wash. Prairie    Decorah    Bus   Sell 12   Jenny Edinger    Crowne Plaza, Galleria
St. Peter   Denver           Amy Lockhart   Springhill Suites, NRG
Holy Trinity   Dubuque           Sara McCaw   Springhill Suites, NRG
St. Peter   Dubuque           Tawanda Murinda   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
Faith   Garner           Rose Visser   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
St. Paul   Hampton           Dan Hanson   Doubletree Suites, Galleria
Grace   Hanlontown           Linda prestholt   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
Immanuel   Independence   Van       Gina DeBoer   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
American   Jesup           Susan Hoey   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
Bethesda   Jewell           Katelyn Jolivette   Springhill Suites, NRG
American   La Porte City           Kristina Wagner   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
Zion   La Porte City           Heather Kane   Springhill Suites, NRG
Winnebago   Lake Mills           Bill Peters   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
St. John   Luana           Becky Fuelling   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
St. James   Mason City           Christine Foth   Springhill Suites, NRG
Trinity   Mason City           Marcy Colvin   Doubletree Suites, Galleria
St. Paul   Maynard           Heidi Eitel    
St. Paul   Monona           Erika kielstrup   Springhill Suites, NRG
St. John   Nashua   Bus   Buy 10   Paige Malven      Springhill Suites, NRG
St. Luke   Nora Springs           Josh Klemesrud   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
Our Saviors   Osage           Julie Anhorn   Springhill Suites, NRG
St. Paul   Postville           Lynn Noel   Springhill Suites, NRG
Zion   Sheffield           Caitlin Retz   Doubletree Suites, Galleria
Faith   Shell Rock           Matt Harken   Springhill Suites, NRG
St. John   Sumner           Joel Becker   Springhill Suites, NRG
St. John   Sumner           Beth Hauser   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
St. Peter   Sumner           Lynn Richards   Springhill Suites, NRG
Grace   Tripoli           Carol Boldt   Springhill Suites, NRG
St. John   Tripoli           Donell Kelling   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
Zion   Waterloo    Bus   Buy 5     Kaylene Orr   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
Redeemer   Waverly           Paula letsche   Crowne Plaza, Galleria
St. Paul’s   Waverly   Plane        Dani Vogel   Doubletree Suites, Galleria


2021 ELCA Youth Gathering

June 29-July 3, 2021





For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. — Ephesians 2:8

This scripture about grace is the foundation for the Gathering’s theme, “This Changes Everything.” Grace, undeserved and freely given, changes lives and perspectives as people realize they are enough because of what Christ has done and they are called into the world to serve their neighbor and share the good news.


Emails from Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark Anderson has been sending a series of emails to adult leaders of congregations to help them plan and prepare for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering. Those emails are posted below to download and share with others.


Webinars and Videos (5-29-18)

We Have a Winner (5-24-18)

Tax Exemption (5-17-18)

Safety & Security (5-11-18)

Covenant (4-11-18)

Housing (4-6-18)

A Contest with a Prize (4-5-18)

Feeding Your Crew (3-14-18)

Community Life (3-6-2018)

Rotation Schedule (2-27-2018)

Service Learning Day (2-21-2018)

Interactive Learning Day (2-13-2018)

Synod Day (2-6-2018)

Hotel Assignments (1-31-2018)


Got Questions?

Find Answers in the Official Gathering Handbook!

Q:   How do I recruit and choose an adult leader? What does the Adult Leader do?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 11,44, 56


Q:   How does the Gathering registration process work?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 20


Read More


Q:   How much will the Gathering cost? What should our budget be? Sample Budget?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 21, 92-94


Q:   How does our group raise money?

A:    Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 22


Q:   Where will be housed?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 32


Q:   How do we find restaurants?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 35


Q:   What should we pack?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 39


Q:   What will happen at the Gathering

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on pages 41, 57-61


Q:   Do you have a sample of a group Covenant?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 27, 86-91


Q.   Where can I find Pastor Anderson’s name in the Gathering Handbook?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 6, 30



Download the Official Gathering Handbook

2018 ELCA Youth Gathering Poster






Download Poster



File for a Hotel Tax Exemption

In the state of Texas, congregations are tax exempt, including the 16 percent hotel tax. To receive the hotel tax exemption, congregations need to present a tax exempt certificate.

To apply for the tax exemption, download and complete the Texas Application for Exemptions.



2015 Youth Gathering Recap


Some 600 youth and adults from the Northeastern Iowa Synod the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit under the theme “Rise Up Together.”

Read More about the 2015 Gathering.