For Immediate Release
Contact: Vicki Biggs, 314-996-1236, 314-556-3829 (cell), @VickiBiggs2
Follow us on Twitter @theLCMS and @lcmsnyg
Thousands of youth to volunteer at San Antonio churches, schools, parks, service organizations
SAN ANTONIO, July 1, 2013—Toting supplies in their bright blue backpacks, youth participants in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) National Youth Gathering (Gathering) will fan out across San Antonio Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to take part in more than 100 service projects benefiting local churches, schools, parks, health care facilities and other service organizations that provide child and family care and counseling, housing and meals for those in need.
Thousands of the Gathering’s 25,000 total participants are expected to take part in the service opportunities. Youth groups preregistered to participate in the servant events and all available service opportunities have been filled. Size of groups serving generally ranges from 20 to 200 young people.
“Service projects – or servant events – are key activities of the church’s triennial youth event,” said Patti Mitschke, student support coordinator at the San Antonio Center for Concordia University Texas and this year’s Gathering local servant event director. “The opportunity to participate in a servant event adds an element of action to the Gathering’s worship, developmental and bonding opportunities.”
“Many activities at the Gathering are designed to build the faith of attendees, but servant events – both the on-site and off-site events – allow participants to live out their faith,” Mitschke added. “Serving our neighbors in need is a tenet of the Lutheran faith and our young people are upholding Christ’s call to share His love and mercy with others as they participate in servant events.”
Servant events meet a range of needs and provide many different opportunities for participants to use their talents and abilities to help others. Youth volunteers taking part in the servant events will:
- Make home and building repairs
- Paint and refurbish properties
- Remove litter and spruce up landscaping
- Assist at day care and senior living facilities
Specific projects include:
- Building a baseball field
- Hosting senior summer Olympics
- Painting a mural
- Tending urban gardens
- Cleaning up flood debris
- Repairing a playground
- Leading Vacation Bible School
Gathering participants also will take part in a number of on-site service projects at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center, site of the Gathering’s education, study and experiential learning sessions. Such projects include:
- “District School Supplies Backpack Scavenger Hunt” – Participants who visit exhibits hosted by LCMS district offices will collect school supplies and fill backpacks that will be distributed to local organizations in San Antonio that care for families in need. LCMS districts combined the funds they normally spend on giveaway items to purchase school supplies. Many of the items are being purchased in San Antonio to benefit the local economy.
- Food collection and meal pack assembly – In collaboration with the organization Feeding Children Everywhere, Gathering participants will pack 300,000 meals for families in need in the San Antonio area and other parts of the U.S. that have been affected by natural disasters. Gathering youth collected canned goods and brought them to San Antonio for this project.
“Live Love[d],” the 12th triennial National LCMS Youth Gathering (Gathering), meets July 1-5 in San Antonio. The Gathering, which is The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s single largest event, brings together young people between the ages of 14-19 to spend time in worship, learning and service. For more information, visit www.lcmsgathering.com.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a biblical, confessional, witness-oriented Christian denomination with 2.3 million members – 600,000 households – in 6,200 congregations. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.lcms.org.