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Reflections on the ELCA Youth Gathering

Emily Zellner 

Emily Zellner
Portico Benefit Services
Minneapolis, Minnesota
July 2012

This was my first time both at an ELCA Youth Gathering and in New Orleans. What an experience!

During their “Practice Peacemaking Day,” groups of youth spent time in the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which was transformed into a space for interactive learning. At the Portico Benefit Services space, the youth made “peacemaking bracelets” with beads that represented three components of peacemaking:

  • Stewarding their gifts (feelings, talents, faith, your body)
  • Making choices (accept help, consequences of your actions)
  • Serving others (family, friends, community, world)

Some leaders made bracelets for their group and planned to talk about stewarding, choices and serving during their evening devotional.

I was also put on the spot by groups who were participating in a “digital scavenger hunt.” Participants asked me questions like “What does Portico Benefit Services do?” and “How are we peacemakers?” My answer: We steward our members’ resources, make good choices about the benefits offered to them, and serve our members, one of whom may be your pastor.

I heard many “travel stories” from the youth and their leaders – tales of bus trips (some very long), airports, service trips on the way to New Orleans, and also the many experiences they were having while at the Youth Gathering.

I enjoyed representing Portico Benefit Services and our ministry to the ELCA at the Youth Gathering. After three days, I’m still not as speedy of a knot-tie-er as I probably should be after this amazing event! Guess I’ll focus on my other gifts.

Make your own bracelets

email Share your Wellness Voice at livewell@porticobenefits.org

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