Young Adult Initiative

A primary area of focus for the Saint Paul Area Synod is to equip young adult leaders to engage with and be the witness of the church in this new day. To this end, the Young Adult Initiative began in 2017. It aims to give young adults the resources and tools they need to connect with their Lutheran peers locally and globally, embolden their public witness to justice and service, and discern new possibilities for the church and community. Through immersion trips, experiential learning opportunities, and cohorts, the Young Adult Initiative has already involved young people from one-third of Saint Paul Area Synod congregations.

 


 

Past Experiences:

Road Trip: Atlanta (January 2018 & January 2019)

As congregations engage more and more in difficult and necessary conversations about race, privilege, and justice, the Saint Paul Area Synod’s Young Adult Initiative is inviting a cohort of young adults into deep learning together around these critical topics. The cohort will immerse themselves in media about racial justice and privilege in America, including foundational writings of black theology, contemporary films, and essays from a variety of perspectives. The cohort culminates in a trip to Atlanta where participants will meet with local faith and nonprofit leaders, visit landmarks of the civil rights movement, share communal meals, wrestle with what it means to live in America in this time, and reflect on how God is calling us to work for racial justice.

 

The Green Line Cohort (Autumn 2017 and Autumn 2018)

  • "Along the Green Line" is a six-week young adult learning cohort of the Saint Paul Area Synod, ELCA. The cohort is focused on building connections and developing a ‘theology of place’ using the Metro Transit Green Line, the city of Saint Paul, and brief readings or reflections as touchpoints. Evenings will be centered on conversations and meals shared at neighborhood restaurants with leaders from local congregations. Topics covered will include: the art of observation, the practice of accompaniment, migration and wandering, displacing, changing environments, coming home – and broader reflections on the many ways we are shaped by land, space, and time.
  • One participant, Kelsey Battleson, had this to say: "What stood out wasn’t the Green Line itself, but rather the young adults who made up the cohort. The simple stories of our different backgrounds and what brought us to the cohort connected us deeply." Read more from Kelsey's blog post.

 

Tanzania Immersion Trip (Spring 2017)

In May of 2017, four young adults (ages 19-29) from our synod traveled around the world to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with their young adult counterparts in Tanzania. Organized through our Bega Kwa Bega companion relationship, this Tanzanian immersion trip provided an opportunity for seminars, sightseeing, dancing, and plenty of conversation with their peers. Sub-Saharan Africa is a part of the planet known – at least in pop culture – as a place of heartbreaking need. At the same time, it is also an area marked by tremendous opportunity. With 70 percent of its population under the age of thirty it is, without a doubt, the youngest region of the world.

 

Shaped by the values of accompaniment, the trip was designed as an intentional act of appreciative inquiry. Shared readings, excursions, and activities connected young adults and change-makers from different parts of the world as they actively wondered together what new things God might be calling them to do. Photos and stories from that visit are available on our Bega Kwa Bega Facebook page.