Thursday, July 27, 2006

ELCA Youth Gathering Raises More Than $1 Million

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The 2006 Youth Gathering of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) offered about 40,000 Lutheran youth and adults the opportunity to participate in a variety of stewardship programs. The gathering took place in two back-to-back events in San Antonio, Texas. Some 15,000 young people, chaperones and volunteers participated July 5-9; more than 24,000 people participated July 12-16.
As of July 17 more than $530,000 had been raised for "Hamiltons for Hunger." Under the "Hamiltons for Hunger" effort, every participant was asked to bring $30 or "three Hamiltons" to raise $1 million for the ELCA World Hunger Appeal. Donations are still being collected.
Worship offerings from both weeks were about $580,000 and will benefit domestic and international ministries that support children, youth and families. About $100,000 in gift cards was collected during the gathering as an "in-kind" offering to benefit six San Antonio organizations.
In addition to gift cards, about $50,000 in leftover materials was collected that included everything from "TV sets to wood," said the Rev. William B. Kees, director for youth ministries, ELCA Vocation and Education.
Anything that could be reused was divided among seven different organizations, said Peggy Contos Hahn, assistant to the bishop, ELCA Gulf Coast Synod. The majority of the materials will benefit two mission centers that are part of La Frontera ministries along the U.S.-Mexico border. A mission center in El Paso, Texas, received 40 pallets of material to be used in El Paso and Juarez, Mexico, to build churches and aid those living in poverty. A mission center in Laredo, Texas, received 30 pallets of material that will benefit eight congregations along the U.S.-Mexico border, Hahn said.
Texas Lutheran University (TLU) Center for Student Servant Leadership, Seguin, received hand tools for the TLU chapter of Habitat for Humanity; landscape timber and benches for the Center; plants that Faith Lutheran Church, Seguin, will sell to raise money for Lutheran Border Ministry; and leftover Youth Gathering backpacks that will be sold to raise money for the Center for Student Leadership in conjunction with the center's fair-trade weekend, said Ron Quiros, director, TLU Center for Student Leadership. TLU is one of 28 colleges and universities of the ELCA.
Lutheran Social Services of the South received backpacks and Bibles. Lumber and other building materials were donated to Camp Chrysalis, Kerrville, Texas, as well as Bulverde United Methodist Church, San Antonio.


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