After much prayer and consideration, we have decided to cancel the Middle School Gathering in November.
This was not an easy decision to make. We know how much our youth have missed gathering, especially for this beloved event. They have had so many opportunities taken away the last year and a half, and our hearts ache that this is one more. But we also know that synod youth ministry events pose an even greater challenge for gathering safely at this time, especially with the Delta variant. We host a large number of participants from a wide geographic area with varying infection and vaccination rates. Many of the youth who attend Middle School Gathering are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. Physical distancing is impractical as we sing, eat, and play together. Even if we would take on the risk, the safety measures we would need to put in place would make this a different event than the fun and faith formation youth have come to expect.
The Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) who plans this event met on Sunday and are working on an alternative in-person event for Middle School youth to be planned after the new year. We will post an update by mid-November, if not sooner.
The theme for the Middle School Gathering this year is “ALWAYS”. The LYO chose this theme to remind youth that God is ALWAYS with us. God is always listening, always forgiving, always understanding, always loving…even on those hard and dark days when we might not feel God’s presence.
As you receive this news and share it with your youth and families, may you and your young people be reminded that God is with you and loving you in all that comes your way this fall. Always.