If we walked around Good Shepherd and asked the neighbors who we are and what we do, what do you think they would say? Who do they say that we are?
This week three of our youth and one leader are in Detroit, as part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) youth gathering. They are with 30,000 other Lutherans in the city…and the city has noticed!
Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the gathering for me so far has been to read local newspaper articles and social media posts about the event. The residents of Detroit have been impressed by Lutheran youth from across the country who have chosen to give up a week of their summer to come to one of the poorest cities in the nation.
Here’s some of what they have said…this is who they say that we are!:
It feels good to get out and help the community, help people,” (Jeremy) Smith said during a break. Smith and about 10,000 other Lutherans worked across metro Detroit on Thursday in service projects that helped the needy. Another 20,000 will be working on Friday and Saturday. Wearing orange-colored shirts, the Lutherans have been a big presence in downtown Detroit this week, holding nightly gatherings at Ford Field.”[i]
These kids showed up yesterday and wanted to WORK. They wanted to meet residents. Pull weeds. Board homes. They were friendly and happy after hours of working in the hot sun.
The neighborhood looks amazing after just hours. Every neighborhood resident I talked to was overjoyed to see the abandoned lots next to them not look like tire dump sites anymore. Many of them came out and worked alongside the kids or offered tools, lawn mowers and lemonade.[ii]
Hear what our youth did in Detroit on Friday, September 11!