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August 21, 2008

2008 Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering Concludes; Youth Sent Forward With Call to be Leaders in their Communities and a Light of Christ in the World

As 1000-plus youth joined together singing the poignant words to “Holy Moment”, the 2008 Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering (CLYG) concluded its four days among the picturesque backdrop of the mountains in Whitehorse, Yukon. During the gathering, youth from across the country came together for fellowship and a time of reflection and left the gathering with a call to action to be leaders in their communities and a light of Christ in the world.

CLYG, organized by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) took place August 14-17. Speakers, vignettes, music and forums throughout the gathering built on the CLYG theme “Travel Light”.

Keynote speaker Rev. Fred Ludolph shared personal stores and reflections during all six of the large group gatherings. Ludolph offered Biblical and environmental reasons for youth to be more conscious of the burden being imposed by unsustainable lifestyles. “Why do I do weird things?” he asked rhetorically to participants. “I do it because I feel a call that there must be change.” Quoting Mahatma Ghandi, Ludolph challenged youth to be the change they wish to see in the world.

For many youth this was far from their first youth gathering. Many attend gathering after gathering moving on to become Home Team Leaders in Training after they pass the age limit for attendees. For Freya Martin, 22, from Winnipeg, this was her fourth time at CLYG. “It keeps getting better year after year,” she noted. Honouring the true meaning of the gathering theme “Travel Light”, Martin left her iPod and cell phone at home as a test.

“I feel like I have no baggage,” she remarked on the absence of the electronics. “I will definitely be rethinking my usage when I get back home.”

Synodical Bishops were involved at many points throughout the gathering. Bishop Michael Pryse of the Eastern Synod thanked youth during his presentation, “for including us. You guys have given us hope. Hope for the church. Hope for the world.”

National Bishop Susan Johnson preached during the closing worship service, which was also the final large group gathering, and asked participants to do a little homework on their journey back home, “I want you to go with a mandate and with great joy to take a new path,” she said. “Keep your eyes open to make sure what you are doing on the path is indeed bringing great healing. I see in you great hope. Hope that comes from your passion in your faith.”

CLYG is a national gathering which takes place every two years and is aimed at youth ages 14-19 and includes Lutherans and Anglicans from across Canada.

Photos and highlights from the gathering are available on the ELCIC youth website: youth.elcic.ca

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

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