The 2010 National LCMS Youth Gathering will be held in New Orleans, La. July 17-21, 2010. The 2010 Gathering marks the eventís third visit to New Orleans. Previous New Orleans' Gatherings included "A Time For Joy" (1992) and "Higher Ground" (2001). The Gathering had planned to hold its 2007 event in New Orleans, but moved to Orlando in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
"New Orleans is once more a vibrant city for meeting the mission of the National LCMS Youth Gathering," shares Gretchen Jameson, Associate Director for LCMS Youth Ministry - Communications.
LCMS Youth Ministry has conducted multiple site visits to New Orleans since the storm, meeting with city officials, police, the New Orleans Convention and Visitor's Bureau and LCMS Southern district leadership. "The decision to return to New Orleans is based on those visits and the detailed information provided to LCMS," Jameson shares. "The rationale for the return has been presented to the Office of the President, the Council of Presidents and LCMS Risk Management. The Gathering can be successfully hosted in New Orleans."
A Web site that allows parents, congregations and others access to much of the same information provided to LCMS Youth Ministry in the decision-making process goes online October 1. This site is accessed via the Gathering Web site at www.lcmsgathering.com. "We recognize that the media has spent a tremendous amount of energy creating a perception about New Orleans, but there is much more to the city's restoration process," Jameson states. "The Web site gives parents and adult leaders the opportunity to interact with New Orleans, the members of the LCMS Southern district and the information that helped LCMS decide that New Orleans is the best home for the 2010 Gathering."
"Thousands of LCMS adults and youth have already traveled to New Orleans as part of post-hurricane assistance efforts and have seen first hand the recovery taking place there," Jameson says. "The opportunity for the Gathering to contribute both in service and encouragement is significant."
"New Orleans Gatherings rank among the most remembered in Gathering history," shares Rev. Mark Kiessling, Gathering Program Director. "To see that the city is once more ready to support and house the Gathering is exciting. New Orleans provides a vibrant home for meeting the purpose of this event." The release Web site includes an interactive feature that allows users to share past memories of Gathering and Servant Event experiences in New Orleans.
Rev. Terry Dittmer, Director for Youth Ministry states, "When we take the Gathering to New Orleans, there is always a sense of returning to a place where Missouri Synod roots run deep. There is a long, deep history of Lutheranism in New Orleans and Louisiana, going all the way back to 1838 that most people don't know about. The return to New Orleans is a homecoming. We are glad that in 2010 we can 'go home' again."
Registration for the 2010 Gathering will open online in October 2009.