Friday, July 6, 2007
With name tags swinging from their necks and after moving into the conference residence at Algonquin College (Woodroffe Campus) in Ottawa, some 630 youth and leaders from Lutheran Church–Canada congregations begin their five-day "gathering" at Ottawa's Centrepointe Theatre tonight, July 6 at 7:30.
The theme for the triennial event is "I Am" based on the name with which God identified Himself to Moses and Jesus Christ used through such phrases as "I am the bread of life" and "I am the Good Shepherd." In the context of the gathering, the youth will see their Christian faith and life in a series of "I am" statements: I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I am loved; I am part of the Church; and I am sent.
In addition to these affirmations, speakers in the plenary sessions will use the context to deal with tough issues facing teens such as anxiety, drugs and addictions, sexuality, and eating disorders.
Joel Sonnenberg is tonight's main speaker. A car accident fire burned Joel beyond recognition when he was two years old. Despite this, through his Christian faith, he has overcome his many difficulties. He speaks to the youth tonight at around 8:00 and tomorrow (Saturday) at about 11 a.m.
Saturday has some fun time scheduled too. Along with other activities in the courtyard of the Algonquin College Conference Residence, at 2:30 the youth will have the opportunity to send the president of Lutheran Church–Canada, Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan, into a dunk tank.
Throughout the event the youth and leaders meet in small groups for discussion about the day's events and for Bible study.
Lutheran Church–Canada has 329 congregations from Nova Scotia to B.C. and a membership of about 76,000. Its headquarters is in Winnipeg, with regional offices in Kitchener, Ontario; Regina and Edmonton.