We are here in Detroit for the ELCA National Youth Gathering – exploring, worshipping, serving, and meeting new friends for the week. Thus far, it’s been full of joy and learning and lots of fun! (Please excuse the lack of blog posts this far. Lack of wifi and lack of sleep have contributed!)
We arrived last Monday night after a full day on the bus. We checked into our hotel and settled in for the night. The next day, we explored the Detroit Zoo and the Ford Rouge Factory. The zoo was super fun, watching 4D movies and watching the penguins eat. At the Ford factory, we walked above the actual assembly line and watched windshields and doors being put on each vehicle. Several youth said they could have stayed there and watched for much longer than we were actually there. It was fascinating!
On Wednesday evening, the gathering officially began with our first mass gathering at Ford Field. But first, before that, we saw Canada (Just across the river from Detroit, to the south, is Windsor, Canada.) and rode the People Mover, a small monorail-like tram that circles downtown. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, explored a little, and soon headed to Ford Field. The youth are super into meeting new people, handing out high fives, and exchanging ‘swag’ (buttons, clothespins, etc).
At Ford Field, we heard from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton who reminded us that, though some people have called Detroit a forsaken place, those are the places where God is. God is here.
We also heard a young woman who works for ELCAWorld Hunger who challenged us to think about how we can change the systems that lead to poverty and hunger insecurity. She was super passionate and inspirational! The mass gathering last night ended with a gospel choir. Super awesome.
There is more to report (and supper to eat before tonight’s mass gathering) but until I’m able to post again, I say this: We have been SO impressed with Detroit. We are so welcomed. They are awesome at engaging us in conversation and returning our high fives. The people of Detroit have embraced us and love that we are here. We love being here too.