More about New Orleans and Holy Trinity

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a 4.2-million member church body with 10,000 congregations in the 50 states and Caribbean region. Its motto, "God's work. Our hands.", represents the church's commitment to service and social justice throughout the world. One of the ways the ELCA brings that vision to life is through the National Youth Gathering every three years. A Gathering brings together approximately 35,000 high school youth, adult leaders, volunteers, pastors, bishops and speakers. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Mercer Island's ELCA member, sent a group of 21, including youth, adults and college student volunteers. It took place in New Orleans, LA on July 18-22 and is the only time it has been in the same city twice in a row. St. Louis, Atlanta, Dallas and San Antonio have also hosted.

The 2009 Gathering made headlines as the largest convention in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005. It boosts the economy with the thousands of people who need food and housing and will take advantage of the tourism opportunities of the rich culture. Needless to say, the service projects also benefit the city. Over the three full days of the Gathering, every youth group went out into the community and participated in one. The days of service were called "Practice Justice." The other two were "Practice Discipleship" and "Practice Peacemaking." "Practice Discipleship" was a day where each synod gathered together for worship and learning about the different tenets of faith. "Practice Peacemaking" was spent in the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center, where students could choose from a variety of physical activities, classroom sessions, artwork and fundraising opportunities. Four HTLC youth donated their hair as part of this day. Each night concluded with a mass worship in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and Night Life activities before bedtime.

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, founded in 1948, is a member of the ELCA, Northwest Washington Synod, with about 500 members. Deanna Wildermuth serves as Senior Pastor, Sue Wanwig is Associate Pastor and Kathy Fisher is director of Youth and Family Ministries. Chrade Younkin is Music Director. Sunday worship during the summer is at 9 a.m., and during the school year there are two services, at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday school takes place during the 10 a.m. service. Currently, HTLC is co-hosting Top of the Island Vacation Bible School, a joint venture with Emmanuel Episcopal Church and Congregational Church of Mercer Island, from Aug. 13-17. It is open to any child from preschool-fifth grade. Middle and high school students may serve as counselors. The online registration form is located at Also, HTLC will have worship outdoors at Mercerdale Park on Aug. 19 at 9 a.m. The same day, Lutheran rapper David Scherer, nicknamed Agape, will have a concert in the park at 11 a.m. Follow the Reporter calendar for more details about these events. For more information about Holy Trinity, visit or call 206-232-3270.

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