The ELCA Youth Gathering returns in 2024 and registration has opened!

The ELCA Youth Gathering was postponed and then cancelled in 2021, however the Gasthering returns in 2024 to New Orleans, LA, scheduld for July 16-202, 2024. The Multicultural Youth Leadership event known as ‘MYLE’ precedes the Gathering from July 13-16. Similarly the ‘tAble’, an event for youth with physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities, is scheduled for July 13-16. NEW to the lineup for 2024, is the Young Adult Gathering, which will happen concurrently to the Youth Gathering, but with programming exclusively for young adults, defined by the ELCA as those ages 18-35. The best source for all information related to these four events is:

Print (pdf) copy of the 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering Registration Planning Packet: 2024GatheringRegistrationWorkbook

We will attempt to keep synod congregations updated using this page and our social media postings in coming months. In addition, we will offer a series of ‘Gathering briefings’ to asist congregations planning to attend. Currently, registration is open and congregations wishing to have the opportunity to have a significant ‘say’ in their hotel pricing and placement, and their Accompaniment (previously Service Day) Day experience, should strive to register prior to November 1, 2023. Additionally, the event registration fee will escalate after November 1. Keep in mind, if you are new to the Gathering, the registration fee pays only for the event registration itself. You will need to budget additional monies for lodging, travel, and meals.

Charlie Roberts, Lower Susquehanna Synod Director for Faith Formation and Youth Ministry will serve as our Synod Champion, and will be happy to meet with you to assist with your planning or to answer any questions, in addition to hosting Gathering briefings. Please do not hesitate to contact Charlie at

Traveling to the Gathering: A Synod Trip?

Our synod office for Faith Formation and Youth Ministry is offering ‘bus’ transportation to and from the Gathering in July 2024. There will likely be two options. The first option is a direct trip to New Orleans and back, by coach bus. The second option is a partnership with LutheranHANDS, that includes a short ‘service’ trip option on the front-end of the Gathering, with travel to and from the city by bus. Details of both options are in the planning stage. Costs and timing will be announced soon. Please contact our office with questions.

Why a Youth Gathering?

Since before the turn of the 20th Century, the ELCA and her predecessor bodies have held a triennial Youth Gathering. In 2018, that gathering landed in Houston, Texas, and attracted 31,242 registered youth and adult leaders, with over 1,200 volunteers, making it the largest gathering of ELCA Lutherans in the country. In recent years, the “Gathering,” as it has come to be known, rotates participants through three primary days of faith formation practices, a day of service in the host city, a day of interactive learning with various ELCA partners and para-church organizations, and a day to gather as synod for worship and conversation about how to take the Gathering home to the participants’ communities and congregations.

In the city of Houston, the ELCA walked alongside 200 local institutions, agencies, and non-profits, to provide service within the city, including local schools, renovations to churches and homes affected by flooding, food banks, human-trafficking organizations, immigration agencies, and more. The “orange-wave” as it has become known, because our youth all wear matching orange tee shirts, sent 10,000 participants out to serve daily in the Houston metro area. The “Blast Off for Books” campaign, this Gathering’s in-kind offering option, garnered 40,000 books distributed to children in the Houston area who might not otherwise be able to afford these books for basic school reading programs.

Our synod had 62 congregations represented with approximately 636 participants and 48 volunteers. Bishop James S. Dunlop and his wife Connie were also in attendance.

In addition, here’s just a taste of the generosity shown by participants at the 2018 Gathering:

  • 437 hair donations to children with hair loss

  • 1,248 units of blood donated from 987 donors

  • 200 grace bags and 100 kindness project rocks made by tAble participants (the pre-event specifically designed for youth with disabilities)

  • 700 individuals attended MYLE and visited 13 service sites (the pre-event specifically designed for multicultural youth and their advisors)

  • More than $260,000 raised for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America/ELCA World Hunger‘s Global Farm Challenge

  • $261,226.43 in offering for Prison Congregations of America, Inc., the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, and new starts globally.

“Skittles” describes the mass-Gathering crowd, because of the matching tees worn by congregations

Lower Susquehanna Synod & The Gathering

Our synod wasn’t always as invested in the ELCA Youth Gatherings as it has been since 1997. Now, we are one of the largest synods in attendance at the event, and we send dozens of volunteers to serve every three years. Volunteer registration is open at :, To apply for the 2024 Youth Gathering in New Orleans. visit this link. Volunteer registrations have been extended until November 1, 2023.

Synod Day

Synod Day is one of three programming days at a typical Youth Gathering. In 2024, we will once again gather in a local hotel ballroom for a ‘synod day’ worship. However, this year we will also have the opportunity to explore parts of the city of New Orleans and New Orleans culture as a part of this day. Stay tuned to this page and to our social media for more informatiuon about our synod day option. Perhaps the biggest difference between this Gathering and Gatherings over the past few cycles, is that we will NOT all be housed in the same property. Congregations are being housed based on when they register and as a result will be in hotels with congregations from across the ELCA. Synod Day as a result, may be the one opportunity groups have to see friends from Lower Susquehanna while in New Orleans.

Our 2018 Synod Day included worship led by an group of talented musicians, representing a number of our congregations, all between the ages of 16-24. Bishop Jim Dunlop preached and presided at the worship experience, and our 600+ participants all had a chance to meet new friends and learn about the ways “Hope Changes Everything,” even back in the communities we come from in Central Pennsylvania. Holy Communion highlighted this event, as we broke bread and encountered the living Jesus in our time together.