The Nebraska Synod Journey is typically a six or seven-day experience held during the summers when there isn’t an ELCA Youth Gathering, and it’s open to youth who have completed grades 8-12 along with their adult leaders. The next Journey will be held July 6-12, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Please return to this website in the weeks to come for updates on cost, registration, schedule and highlights. In the meantime, please keep the Nebraska Synod Journey Planning Team in your prayers along with those who sense a call to be involved in the Journey.
Would you like a better idea of what the Journey can be? Read on for information about the 2019 Nebraska Synod Journey to Chicago.
Every day from July 7-12, 277 high school youth and adult leaders boarded five coach buses to take part in the Journey to Chicago. Participants were housed at a hostel in downtown Chicago and launched from there to locations throughout the metro area to serve. One day over 150 Journey participants assisted with a Special Olympics tennis tournament, keeping score, presenting medals and forming a human tunnel where athletes shared high fives. Other Journey participants helped sort hundreds of books for Bernie’s Book Bank, an organization that has distributed over 15,000,000 books to children in need since 2009. Some served at boys and girls clubs and others cleaned and repaired an abandoned church that is being reopened as a gathering space for its community.
One afternoon of the Journey was spent at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago (LSTC), where Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton spent an hour answering questions and sharing stories of the ELCA and its partners around the world. That afternoon participants also attended workshops led by seminary professors, Chicago-area pastors and staff from the churchwide expression of the ELCA. When there was free time during the Journey, participants enjoyed exploring downtown museums, the Washington Library, Millennium Park and the fireworks off Navy Pier.
While the schedule was full, the theme for the Journey was “Selah,” a word found in the book of Psalms, perhaps as a reminder to pause during the reading or singing of the psalm. Participants focused on Psalm 46 throughout the week, noting the word “Selah” when it occurred. Throughout the week all were reminded to stop, breathe deeply and reflect on God’s presence in their lives. So, beyond the serving, learning and exploring, other highlights of the Journey included quiet conversations, listening to one another’s joys and challenges and simply being present with God and with neighbors.