“Day Six and Seven and Eight” at the 2012 ELCA National Gathering

Day Six and Seven and Eight Highlights

2012 ELCA National Youth Gathering

–        Early morning

–        Off to the New Orleans Convention Center for our Practice Peacemaking day.

–        Worship followed by a morning of exploring the convention center. It was filled with hundreds of activities that ranged from meditation and prayer to zip-lines and bumper cars. Students were able to light candles for prayer, tie ribbons on an anti-bullying wall, practice creative worship through art, or walk “through the walls” of several countries around the world that the ELCA is involved with that are in conflict like Mexico, El Salvador, the Congo, and Israel.

–        Lunch at Mulate’s – a one of New Orleans most famous Cajun restaurants.

–        After lunch, we headed to the French Quarter for an afternoon of shopping, cultural sightseeing and experiencing, and simply enjoying one of the most unique neighborhoods in the United States.

–        The evening involved LutherDome, night three. Another night of great music and worship and speakers lifting up our themes of Practicing Justice, Peacemaking, and Discipleship. This night concluded with a special closing concert from the band Switchfoot. Great show!

–        Many students just hung around the hotel after the dome tonight, but a few ventured out with Pastor Craig to the Café du Monde for a late night snack – Beignets! MMMMmmmm good, but don’t even think about the calories that you are eating.

–        Sunday was an early morning to load the busses before closing worship.

–        A stop for breakfast at a juice shop before worship was needed, fatigue is getting close to exhaustion for most of us. J

–        Worship in LutherDome – our final time together

–        Bishop Mark Hanson preached a powerful sermon about being Citizens with the Saints when we return home – how can we put our faith into action?

–        This morning’s worship was the largest worship gathering of Christians in the United States on Sunday morning.

–        It’s quite cool to worship and communion with nearly 35,000 of your brothers and stisters in Christ.

–        Lunch was waiting for us on the bus after worship, so all we needed to do was get on and get on the road.

–        Needless to say, the ride home has been pretty quiet and it feels like a lot longer trip going home that going to the gathering.

–        We focused our attention on three themes this week – Practice Justice, Practice Peacemaking, and Practice Discipleship. These themes involve practice, not perfection; trust in the journey forward, not worrying about the past; and connecting us with God’s presence in our lives in all that we say and do – working through us to “make a difference”.

–        “Be the Change” was something we heard many times this week. It is our hope and prayer that this is exactly what we will carry with us to our places of work, our schools, with our family and friends, and in our churches and community long after this week is over. God is good! All the time!

I’ll post a final video in the next few weeks highlighting our entire trip.

Thank you for you prayer and support of the journey to the National Youth Gathering! You have blessed us and we are very grateful for that. The next ELCA National Youth Gathering is in 2015 in Detroit, Michigan!


About Bishop Craig Schweitzer

The Rev. Craig Schweitzer, of Bismarck, was elected as bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod on July 17, 2020, in the first-ever digital Synod Assembly. A historic event, Schweitzer is the first bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to be elected in an online assembly. Bishop Craig Schweitzer began serving the Western North Dakota Synod-ELCA on September 1, 2020. He has always seen himself as an easy-going person who seeks to daily discover anew how God is present in his life and the world in which he lives and serves. Prior to service in the Office of Bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod, Bishop Craig served at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck, ND as Music and Worship Minister (lay staff from 2002-2010), Associate Pastor (2010-2014), and Senior Pastor (2014-2020). Beyond his service in the church, he has an eclectic background that is a diverse collection of musical, educational, and business experiences ranging from live concert production and promotion to recording studios and live performance to music education. Throughout all of his professional and personal experiences, the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome have been a guiding light that has kept him grounded in whatever work God was calling him into – “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7) Bishop Craig is a graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership. He also holds a certificate degree in Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA. He was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament on September 16, 2010. Outside of his life as Bishop, Bishop Craig enjoys reading, all music, a little golf, a cold beverage with friends, and intentional times of quiet. And, of course, spending time with his wife Wendy and their adult twin daughters Ilia and Taegan. View all posts by Bishop Craig Schweitzer

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