LYO Weekend

Today, Good Shepherd is sending thirty-three youth and adults to LYO  Assembly in Greensboro, NC.

You may be asking, "What is LYO?" If you are, you're not alone. I, too, have had the same question. Simply, LYO stands for Lutheran Youth Organization. However, much like the term Luther League, the acronym is used in churches and in synods all over and can mean different things without having any larger organizational connectivity. For example, some churches call their youth group "LYO". In the Maryland-Delaware synod, their LYO is their youth-led leadership team. And as far as I can tell, in North Carolina, "LYO" is used when middle and high school students gather and engage at a synodical level. And of course, none of these LYOs have an official relation to one another. So, as far as us North Carolinians are concerned, LYO refers to the Lutheran Youth Organization Assembly, an annual youth-led weekend retreat for all 6 th - 12 th grade students to worship, hang out, hear inspirational speakers and discuss faith topics in small groups. Many synods host similar events for their young people.

If it turns are you  aren't asking what LYO means, perhaps you remember back when Good Shepherd sent students to LYO over ten years ago. Yes, it's been ten years since Good Shepherd has been represented at LYO. I'm not sure what LYO was like back when Good Shepherd used to go, but this year, the entire weekend takes place inside an Embassy Suites, with four hundred event participants, plus at least a few unsuspecting, unaffiliated hotel guests, plus elevators. There's a chance we've been going back to the same Embassy Suites for ten years, but all those elements in one hotel for 48 hours does not sound like a recipe for tenure to me.

So, that's the brief history of, and our brief history with, LYO. I don't know why Good Shepherd stopped going to LYO, but I'll tell you the three reasons why we're going back.

1)  We were invited . Two years ago, Tammy Jones West, the NC Synod youth coordinator, asked me if Good Shepherd would consider coming back to LYO. Last year, we sent Erin Darnell with St. Philip's group to check it out and see if it would be worth going to as a church. Needless to say, she had a great experience and fully endorsed the weekend. Over the past year, Erin has done a great job getting our youth excited for LYO 2018. We are looking forward to being welcomed back into the community and diving in!

2)   Participation in LYO will help our high school students get more out of the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering. The 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering, coming up this summer in Houston, is comprised of three main days: service-learning day, interaction center day, and synod day. On synod day, our group will gather with the rest of the NC Synod and take part in what will look like a mini-LYO. We will sing the songs sung at LYO and many of the same teens who participate in LYO are headed to the Gathering, making it a reunion of sorts. Although this day can be fun for teens who haven't participated in LYO, LYO alums will get that much more out of it. Plus, like the Youth Gathering, LYO is just another way for teens to experience the larger scope and diversity of the Body of Christ beyond their congregation.

3)  Overnight retreats are faith-formative. From the bus rides to and from the retreat, to the uniquely teen-focused worships, to the friendships solidified through late-into-the-night conversations, it can be argued that these retreats form faith faster than a whole year of youth group. When families and congregations send their teens on overnight retreats, they are making an investment in their child's spiritual life. I know the same can be said about adults going, and who've gone, to Via de Cristo, also happening this weekend. 

As the weekend unfolds, keep the participants, both youth and adults, in your prayers. Follow their journey on our church Instagram  @gslcraleigh. Upon their return, listen to their stories from the weekend and help them see that the Christ they encountered and the Church they experienced at LYO is alive and moving at Good Shepherd when we are church together.


Sunday's Readings
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:23-31
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38

This Sunday is Stephen Ministry Sunday. We will celebrate Stephen Ministry at Good Shepherd and commission a Stephen Minister and two Stephen Leaders.

Welcome David Harrison, Good Shepherd's Interim Director of Music Ministries, this Sunday at the 10:45 am worship service!

Way of the Shepherd All-Church Conversation, 9:30-10:30 am, Fellowship Hall  Each Sunday in Lent, all adults will meet and focus on a different topic, walking this Lenten faith journey together. This Sunday's topic is Ministry.

Mail for Mnene Collection   We will be collecting letters for our orphans in Mnene at the Mail for Mnene table in the Narthex through March 4. Everyone is invited to send letters of love and support. Contact Cathie Strawbridge with questions or concerns, 919-870-9439. 

Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Action  This Lent, we are joining the ELCA campaign to reduce, and address the root causes of, hunger. This week - Fast: Wait until you are truly hungry before eating. How does hunger affect you physically, emotionally and mentally? What would it be like to give up meals so your loved ones could eat? Pray: for those who must do so. Action: Sign up  online (password: homeless) or in the Narthex to help provide a meal for families who will be sheltered by our church during Family Promise week in March. 

22nd Annual GSLC Coffeehouse Bingo - Friday, February 23, 7:00 - 8:30 pm in Fellowship Hall Sign-up to serve.

Study with the Pastors: "The Great Spiritual Migration" by Brian McLaren - Tuesdays through March 20 at 9:30 am   

Lenten Soup Suppers & Holden Evening Prayer Worship - Wednesdays through March 21 -  Share a simple meal at 5:30 pm, worship at 7:00 pm.

Study with the Pastors: The Book of Esther - Wednesdays through March 14 at 5:30 pm (Note the time change!) 

Wittenberg Choir 2018 Spring Tour - Thursday, March 1, 7:00 pm at St. Phillip Lutheran Church in Raleigh and Friday, March 2, 7:00 pm at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Durham

"Fed and Forgiven" Communion Retreat - Saturday, March 3, 9:30-11:30 am  - If your child is baptized and has begun to desire communion, it's time to explore the sacrament of communion. Contact Barb Newcomer for more information.

Summerfest Auditions - Monday, March 19, 5:30-7:00 pm - More information and registration is online

More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's bulletin announcements .

The February edition of the Shepherd's Voice is available online.
Health and Healing for Charlotte Sheldon; Jack Burns, cousin of Pam Montgomery; Ashley Schmidt, friend of Barb Newcomer; Orv Melcher; and Barb Glendenning, mother of Angie Glendenning.

Safekeeping for the Via de Cristo retreat participants and leaders, and the participants of Lutheran Youth Organization that is meeting in Greensboro .

Thanksgiving for Stephen Ministers .

Sympathy to David Skaar and family at the death of his father, Bob.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish , including Chipochashe Mpofu and Likwa Mpofu.

Chipo, always smiling, is 25.  During her nine years in our support program, she gained confidence and was thriving.  She was well into her hairdressing courses when she left school in 2014.  She now has two children and is living with her aunt.  She visited with our 2017 mission team in Mnene.  Mr. Mposi met with her last December and said that she is willing and ready to proceed with the completion of her hairdressing classes.  She hopes for more stability now that her oldest child will soon be starting school.  Her Mail For Mnene partner is the Sloop family.
Likwa is 19 and doing well in school.  He attends Marirazhombe Secondary School, taking Form 5 classes.  He waits for his "O" level test results.  He visited with our 2017 mission team at Victoria Falls.  In 2006, Annie found him and his two brothers searching for food outside the Mnene hospital.  Since joining our support program in 2006, his health has improved and he is well cared for.  His Mail for Mnene partners are the Lewis and Rusincovitch families.

Visit the Wittenberg Information Center in the Narthex for photos of this week's orphans and  more information on the Mnene Ministry.

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