It’s hard to retire as a volunteer, usually it feels like you just get fired. After serving the ELCA Youth Gathering in a planning capacity since 1998, I not on a planning team for the 2018 gathering.

I was looking for the poetic feel of serving this event for 20 years, but I will have to settle for 17. Truthfully it hurt a lot when I realized I wouldn’t be back in the same capacity. But I shouldn’t have been surprised. There was a change in leadership and new folks have been asked to serve. This is exactly how I originally got the chance.

It took me months to realize there was someone just like me in 1998 who I didn’t think or care about at the time. And I’m very excited by the new folks in charge of the Gathering, I know it’s going to be a great event.

Looking back on the 17 years I served the Gathering there are so many relationships and experiences that I just couldn’t replace. I hi-fived Bishop Desmond Tutu and met Tiffany Chaney. If you aren’t listening to Tiffany’s voice, you aren’t listening to the church.

Serving the ELCA Youth Gathering has been the greatest honor of my life. I’m excited to see it continue to grow and change and be the vibrant ministry it was before I was a part and will continue after me.