by Pastor Froehlke, Kim Contini, and the Youth of the
ELCA Youth Gathering Trip to Detroit, Michigan: July 15-19, 2015

Stories from those involved in a week's adventure of serving at a local neighborhood and expanding our faith in God
Photographs courtesy of some of the Youth Participants on the Trip.


ELCA Youth Gathering

The city of Detroit, Michigan was chosen for the ELCA Youth Gathering due to its rich history, difficult challenges, and the large amount of ELCA congregations in the area.

Detroit is known as the “Motor City" because of all of the car manufacturers that began there. However, in 2008, the automotive industry crashed, and the town suffered.

Many believed Detroit was on the verge of collapsing, but that is just the reason we chose it. The youth came to bring life into an old town, and hope that one day Detroit will be stable again!




Downtown Detroit ->>



The Prince of Peace group that went on this trip. From left: Kim C., Corinne S., Cassie M., Shannon S., Grant G., Sean H., Allison S., Pastor Froehlke

All of the youth (not including Prince of Peace)  from the Mercer County Churches ->>


Take Off!



Prince of Peace chose to fly to Detroit, while the rest of the Mercer County churches bused. We planned to meet them the day of the opening concert. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, the flight was delayed for over two hours, but we found a way to stay entertained.

The youth from Prince of Peace waiting out the delay by playing cards at the airport

Synod Day


Our first full day of the gathering was titled, “Synod Day.” All of the churches from the New Jersey Synod met at the MGM Grand Hotel in the afternoon to talk about proclaiming not only God’s story, but our own too. In the morning, we spent our free time at the Riverwalk, participating in a selfie contest. Pictures included the lighthouse, downtown Detroit, and everything in between.



The MGM Grand Hotel where Synod Day was held
for the New Jersey Synod

Synod Day in action

  One of the selfies taken for the contest Another picture for the Riverwalk selfie contest  


Community Day


Friday was spent at the Cobo Center, participating in “Community Day.” There was a ton of different activities to do, including a ropes course, inflatable bounce houses, and workshops. There was a place to donate hair, to write encouraging messages to people involved in human trafficking, to raise awareness for the Walk for Water, and much more!



Grant G. taking a high jump at the inflatables
section of the Cobo Center

A group of youth recreating the Last Supper painting at the Cobo Center  

Proclaim Justice Day


On Proclaim Justice Day, we met around 10,000 other youth at Hartford Plaza to find out what our service would include. Once on the bus, we headed towards our work site: Philadelphia Avenue. Our task was to clean out all of the trash and brush of an alleyway so it could once again be in use. Even though it was the hottest day of the trip, we worked really hard. We found a lot of items people had thrown out of their homes after the crash of 2008, including mattresses, carpeting, baby toys, and a family photo. However, amidst all of this trash, we found a cross. The cross symbolized how we can find Jesus working his miracles in any situation, even if the situation seems less than ideal.



The group of youth that helped clear alleyways
at Philadelphia Avenue

Allison S. helping other youth carry out a
mattress from the alleyway


Grant G. and Bishop Tracie Bartholomew cleaning up branches

The youth cleaning out Philadelphia Avenue  


Carpeting that the youth found in the alleyway.

All of the brush and trash that was pulled from the alleyway the Mercer County churches worked on.  

Ford Field


Every night of the gathering was concluded at Ford Field. These concerts included speakers and artists that discussed the themes of the gathering: break chains, bear burdens, bring hope, and build bridges. The speakers ranged from young poets to deans and pastors. Each one told a story about their lives, and how God helped them. The music was also varied, from ballads to rap, and every in between.




The view of the stage from the youths’ floor seats one night ->>



The stage at Ford Field before the concert began

The Ford Field Stage near the end of the concert,
during a presentation




While in Detroit, we ate at different iconic restaurants. The main places we ate at were Steve’s Soul Food, Lafayette Coney Island, and the Red Smoke Barbeque. Everything was delicious!



The sign for Steve’s Soul Food

The Mercer County churches waiting to head into
Steve’s Soul Food



The youth ordering Coney dogs at Lafayette Coney Island

An order of Coney dogs and fries at Lafayette Coney Island



The youth waiting to head into the Red Smoke Barbeque

The meal from the Red Smoke Barbeque




We made a ton of friends while we were in Detroit. We became really close with the other Mercer County churches, but we also made friends with people as far as California!







by Cassandra Morris for the Youth Works Group
© 2008 Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
177 Princeton Hightstown Rd, Princeton Jct., NJ 08550
(609) 799-1753        ¬†FAX (609) 799-0958         email: email@popnj.org