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Youth & Family Ministry E-bulletin April 1, 2017

Happy April!

It Never Stops...

First, mark your calendars with Gathering Stuff...

  • Spring Youth Gathering Informational Meeting: Saturday May 13th from 10 am to noon at St. Peter's Lancaster. RSVP to Gary
  • Fall Youth Gathering Informational Meeting: Saturday August 19th from 10 am to noon at All Saint's, Worthington
  • Fall Youth Gathering Informational Meeting: Thursday September 7th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at St. John's, Vandalia
  • Fall Youth Gathering Informational Meeting: Wednesday September 13th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Good Shepherd, Cincinnati
  • The volunteer application process opens in May 2017 via links from the Gathering website. There are four categories of volunteers: Local Volunteers, Community Life, Gathering Volunteer Corps, and Servant Companions. For more information on volunteering at the Gathering and the application process, sign up for the webinar and tune in on April 6 at 7 p.m. Central time.

Now For Some Announcements

1. I recently came across an excellent opportunity for High School Sophomores and Juniors. A couple of Pastors at Grandview College (ELCA) in Des Moines, Iowa received a grant from Eli-Lilly to put together a Theological Academy. Their goal is to bring the deepest thinking Lutheran students together for a week of faith exploration. Contact Gary with interest.

        Visit The Nexus Institute 

2. LMC: Palm Sunday Saturday Servant Day

Saturday, April 08, 2017 9:00am-4:00pm at Lutheran Memorial Camp. Interested contact or by calling 419-864-8030.

3. The Bishop's Youth Ambassador Program (YAP)

        Next Sessions are

  • Saturday April 8th from 10 to 2 pm at St. John's, Vandalia and  
  • Sunday April 9th (Palm Sunday) from 1:30 to 5:30 pm at Good Shepherd, Cincinnati.

Email Gary with interest.

 4. Interested in the Something More Retreat April 28/29? Something More is our skills oriented equipping event for High School Students. Contact Mary Ellen at

 6. Other Youth Gathering Information:

  • Contact Diane to get on the information distribution list (

  • Contact Gary if you want to coordinate transportation with other congregations ( This offer is also open to those outside of the Synod who receive this e-bulletin

  • Keep in mind that we will be offering the opportunity of purchasing a Southern Ohio Synod 2018 Youth Gathering t-shirt. The cost will be $10. 

     We plan to have the design ready for viewing early autumn and we will be taking orders between January and Easter 2018. 

7. Other LOMO  Opportunities

Free Days of Camp at Mowana, LMC and the Community

At our free day of camp we will offer tours of our facilities, campfires and s’mores, programs as well as games that all ages will enjoy. This is a great opportunity for people new to camp to have a sneak preview of what camp is like. It is also for previous campers to bring friends back to camp! 



8. Upcoming 3rd Tuesday conversations.


9. Then there's the Facebook party held by the Christian Education Network... 

The Christian Education Network of the ELCA is starting a series of Facebook parties in 2017 and you're invited!

Hosted by one of our board members, Emily O'Brion Dalen, our Facebook parties will be a great way to learn from each other and meet others in the Christian education community. All Facebook parties begin at 8:00 p.m. Central in our Facebook group. Mark your calendars and join us!

Facebook Party Schedule

Tuesday, April 18: Involving Older Adults with Children's Ministry

Tuesday, Mary 16: Equipping Adults to Lead Small Groups




Everything below this line is for new folks and/or

those looking for easy links to ELCA resources



Four Things the Church can do better on Social Media - Click Here



Carey episode 21 Practical Tech Hacks That Will Free Up Your Time To Lead

Click here to listen



Saying Goodbye by Aaron Matson Have you ever moved? What was the hardest part for you? What helped you adjust to your new community? Talk to your youth about saying good-bye.

Click here




Sparkhouse offers multiple webinars every week

Click Here

 Sparkhouse: sparkhouse develops faith formation resources for children, youth, and adults. They strive to spark new life in Christian communities through imagination and collaboration. Click Here to get to their main site or to see their new confirmation material: Click Here 


Goings On At 

Vibrant Faith logo


Visit Here For The Latest



And FYI, Youth Ministry Links...


is a Facebook presence for that provides links to all things youth ministry


The Two Most Important Things To Do In Youth Ministry....

Click Here 


Other Noteworthy Information... 

Our Southern Ohio Synod LOMO Board Members include...

  • Diane Coning (Vice President), Gloria Dei, Cincinnati
  • Rev Bob Miller, St. Paul, Dayton
  • Mike Poyer, Epiphany, Pickerington
  • Scott Haligowski, Epiphany, Centerville
  • Gary represents the Bishop on the Board


Oesterlen Services for Youth is a Lutheran institution based out of Springfield.  
Pastor Bonnie Kinnunen is the chaplain.
The Southern Ohio Synod is represented on the Oesterlen Board of Directors by the following...
  • Kay Labosky (All Saints, Worthington)
  • Peri Bonner (Galilee, Russells Point)
  • Pastor David Buchenroth (Lord of Life, Worthington)
  • Rev Carol Gesalman (Fifth, Springfield)
  • Rev Ralph Wolfe (Clinton Heights, Clinton Heights)
  • Deb Baldwin (First, Xenia)
  • Pastor Rachel Tune (Wittenberg University)

Become aware of these ELCA Youth Ministry offerings...

The ELCA offers us much. Below are few ways our denomination helps us out at the Synod and Congregational level.


The ELCA Youth Ministry Network 

The ELCA Youth Ministry Network is a major part of our church. Here is their Mission Statement...

The ELCA Youth Ministry Network exists to strengthen and empower adult youth ministry leaders in service to Christ as a part of God's mission. 

They are a dues paying membership organization and are worth checking out.

Click Here for More Information 


You should also be aware of the Practice Discipleship Training Initiative (PD). In its fourth year, PD is an outgrowth of the Youth Gathering, funded by the ELCA Youth Ministry Network and supported by Churchwide. Its goal is to provide training to adults in congregations who work with youth. Gary will soon be adding both past and present curriculum to the Synod website.


And then there's SYMBOL... 

SYMBOL stands for the Synodical Youth Ministry Band Of Leaders. Symbol is a network of adults interested in youth ministry at the Synod level. It bridges the gap between Churchwide and our local congregations. Offering retreats and other events, Gary is a member (there are no dues) and he attends as many of the events as possible. If you are interested in learning more and/or wish to attend SYMBOL events on behalf of our Synod connect with Gary.


The Youth Summit:

Giving youth the opportunity to become involved in the wider church, the Youth Summit is an annual leadership event held each autumn. Each Synod is eligible to send two youth and one adult to the event. 



FYI, Gary is a member of The Christian Education Network Of the ELCA (Formerly LACE) within the past month. Stay tuned for updates or: Click Here


Church Mutual

Church Mutual Risk Reporter Ideas: Mission Trip Tips...

Click Here


Gary's Stuff

Gary's Book Give-A-Away:

A free Faith Webbing book was offered to each Synod congregation in 2014. And a free What's In Your Bag? book was offered to each Synod congregation in 2015. Have not received your set yet? Contact Gary.

Need additional books? Visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Xulon, or Gary usually has a few in his trunk in you want to save on shipping.

Faith Webbing 

Faith Webbing    Yep, we all know Gary loves the Faith Webbing Concept. Connect with Gary if you would like to hear more or to schedule a visit. FYI, A free book was made available to all Synod congregations in 2014. Over 150 of our congregations now have the book on site.


Outcome-Based Youth Ministry

And yep, it does not take much to get Gary talking about equipping our children and youth with the necessary Faith Skills to live out their personal calling in life.

 Outcome-Based Youth Ministry


FYI, A free book was offered to all Synod congregations in 2015. Over 120 were passed out at the Synod Assembly back in June.

Faith WebbingJust so you know... As many of you know Gary & Laurie have been in youth ministry for...well...let's just say a long time. Over the past few years they have been consistently receiving contacts from congregations outside the Southern Ohio Synod asking for youth ministry consultation. Many of them ELCA congregations.

In response, Gary & Laurie have developed a web-based youth ministry coaching service called The website is designed to meet the needs of congregations outside of the Southern Ohio Synod and will be interdenominational in nature.

The new venture has the blessing of Bishop Dillahunt and will not affect Gary’s work in his position in the Southern Ohio Synod. Oh Yeah, you do not need to visit the new website. Gary will continue to provide all of the same services for Synod congregations at no direct charge through your congregations mission support.


Cluster Get Togethers, Training Events for Youth and/or Adults, and Youth Events...

are scheduled as folks raise their hand and say, "Hey, let's do one in my area." Contact Gary and after a date, time, and location are chosen, he will advertise the event through facebook, youth & family e-bulletins, and hard copy mailings to congregations. We currently have two clusters that meet regularly. One in Central Ohio and one in Middletown, Ohio. Each cluster group meets three to four times a year.


Standard Synod Youth & Family

Connection Information


A. Consider Joining the Synod Youth & Family Ministry Facebook Page

Just for you...a youth and family ministry facebook group page has been created focusing on our favorite topic. Here's a chance to ask questions, have discussions, and share what you are doing in youth and family ministry to an entire network.

To join, send a request to Gary Pecuch through Facebook or send an email request and Gary will send you an invitation.

B. Youth & Family E-bulletins are sent out the 1st and 15th of each month

C. A Hard Copy Mailing of Youth & Family Ministry happenings is sent out monthly to congregations

Look for the fluorescent Green Flier

D. Visit the Synod Website:

To find the youth and family section simple go to the home page and click on the words "read more" on the Faith Formation tab (middle-right). Once there you will find all kinds of forms, and resources for children's. youth, and family ministry.

E. Connect with Gary directly or 614-464-3532 extension 4

Thank you for being a Youth Advocate in your congregation!




Standard ELCA Links & Information



ELCA Resources Home Page: Click Here 


Good Gifts: Click Here 


Malaria Campaign: Click Here


World Hunger Products: Click Here


Faith & Spirituality Products: Click Here


Global Mission Resources: Click Here


Social Issues Resources: Click Here


Stewardship Resources: Click Here


Young Adult Ministry Products: Click Here


ELCA Merchandise: Click Here


ELCA World Hunger Resources

The ELCA World Hunger Folks have some great resources including service learning guides, brochures, and various action campaigns to choose from. THESE ARE REALLY GOOD RESOURCES!

Click Here For Details





There are great resources at the ELCA Youth MInistry Network website for all stages of ministry with family and youth and it is free to you at Martin's List.  Once you log in click on the resources tab.  




Lots of people and churches have been posting job opening, descriptions with the ELCA Youth Ministry Newtowrk. Please remember that the Network also has an updated service on the Network website to post positions, job descriptions, and contact information.  Just head over to