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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 182,077 baptized members in 624 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches.

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From National Office of the ELCIC


Winnipeg, 23 August 2006--Over 1,200 youth, in the city for the 2006 Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering (CLYG 2006) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), spent almost ten thousand hours 'serving fully' at various servant events that took place pre, post and during the national gathering which was held August 17-20. Youth accepted the challenge presented to them by gathering keynote speaker, Rev. Kathy Martin, who told youth to, "get out there and share your gifts," as they participated in a fundraising car wash which saw funds go to the United Way of Winnipeg, partnered with Take Pride Winnipeg to pick up litter throughout the city, arrived at the offices of Canadian Lutheran World Relief to help sort 'We Care' school supply packages, and numerous other activities that took place both within the city and extended out to places such as Gimli, Manitoba.

In total, over $12,000 was raised through various activities at the gathering. On Wednesday, August 16, a group of youth took a day trip out to Gimli. An offering at the Worship Service held during the trip raised $1053; half of the funds will go towards Reunion, the 2006-2008 National Youth Project, a partnership with Bolivian Lutheran Youth which will raise funds for their youth to hold gatherings, and the other half of the funds will go towards the CLYG 2006 budget. On Friday afternoon, a dunk tank at The Forks saw $512 donated. Funds collected at the dunk tank will go toward the 2004-2006 National Youth Project - Mission Possible: Building Hope. At fundraising car washes held on Saturday over $2135 was raised, along with a bin of food and a pallet of soup. Funds from the car wash were donated to United Way Funded Agencies, the Goldeyes Field of Dreams Foundation and the Never Alone Foundation. A third car wash, held on Saturday at Faith Lutheran Church in Winnipeg, raised $122 for the 2004-2006 National Youth Project - Mission Possible: Building Hope. At the gathering's Sunday morning Closing Worship Service over $8200 was received as offering. These funds will be divided between the two National Youth Projects - Mission Possible: Building Hope and Reunion. In addition to monetary donations, the servant events held throughout the gathering made it possible for the collection of 50-75 bags of garbage, the distribution of 2000 pamphlets for Sherwood Park Lutheran Church (Winnipeg) programming and the painting of St. Paul's Anglican Church (Winnipeg).

Throughout the four-day event, participants reflected on the conference theme, Full Serve. Through Rev. Martin's keynote presentations, a rap song titled "Whatcha gonna do with all those gifts?", drama skits which cracked "The Luther Code" and storytime about "The Heathen that Stole Christmas" the gathering theme was relayed to youth who were encouraged and engaged by the variety of presentations, events and activities.

"My favourite part was the large group gatherings," said Aden Beingessner, Faith Lutheran Church, Regina, SK. "I had never thought about my gifts before so that part has been pretty awesome."

For some, the event provided, "a different way of looking at things," said Jacklyn Lather, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Zurich, ON, who also noted that the theme and discussions around Full Serve made her want to spend more time at the local seniors home when she returned to her congregation. Jenna Beirerling, also from St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Zurich, noted that the gathering, and events that led up to the gathering, had helped rekindle the youth within their congregation.

Worship, 'Tune Ups' and 'Road Trips' were also a significant part of the gathering. Tune Ups, which took place on Friday morning, provided youth with an opportunity to engage in discussions with Synod Bishops and the National Bishop on issues that were important to them, a local radio DJ partnered with the Assistant to the Bishop for Synodical Relations, Rev. Paul Gehrs, to talk about the meaning of the lyrics contained within the music we listen to, and in "The Day My God Died: an introduction to the world of prostitution and trafficking" a packed room of youth heard about this horrific and ever-growing industry and discussed how they could speak out against this issue. Friday afternoon, youth took a "Road Trip" to The Forks, a local gathering spot at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, where the afternoon was filled with live entertainment, a dunk tank and various games.

In the two years leading up to the 2006 gathering, youth participated in fundraising activities for the 2004-2006 National Youth Project titled Mission Possible: Building Hope. In May of this year, it was announced that over $70,000 had been raised through the project, enough to build a house in Winnipeg for a family of four. In May and June of this year, three volunteer crews worked alongside future homeowners, David Bahamon, Bileyi Rojas and their daughters Stephanie and Michelle, as they build the frame of the house and closed in the home. At the gathering, Mission Possible: Building Hope coordinators, Barb and Hank Fast, stunned participants when they announced that over $110,000 had been raised by youth and some funds were still coming in and had yet to be accounted for in the final tally. "From Mission Possible to Mission Accomplished, well done!" said the project coordinators.

In his address to the youth at the gathering, David Bahamon said, "The winter is coming, [and] this winter we will have a warmer house. Just because of you, because you [the youth] did a good job. Thank you."

David's wife, Bileyi, also spoke to the youth at the gathering, "Thank you for the job you have done for us - for the hope, the joy and the happiness you have given us. Thank you for everything you have done. God Bless you always and richly," she said.

Organized by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the national gathering is aimed at youth ages 14-19 and includes Lutherans and Anglicans from across Canada. Special guests at the gathering included individuals from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Iceland.

At the conclusion of CLYG 2006, the location for the 2008 Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering (CLYG 2008) was unveiled. Greeted by loud applause, the 2008 National Planning Committee announced that Whitehorse, Yukon will be the host city for CLYG 2008.

For more information, please contact:
Ms.Trina Gallop, Manager of Communications
302 - 393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6

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