Evangelical Lutheran Youth Gathering expected to draw about 30,000 students to Detroit

Associated Press

Nearly 30,000 people are expected to visit Detroit for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Youth Gathering.

The event will run from Wednesday through Sunday and is the largest meeting in Detroit this summer.

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"The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Metro Detroit hospitality community are ready to welcome this important youth group and we have worked diligently and extensively to put a convention experience in place that will make their Detroit visit memorable," said Renee Monforton, spokeswoman for the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

A National Baptist Convention event attracted about 25,000 visitors last month and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World is expecting 6,000 people when it holds its convention in Detroit starting July 25.

Interest in visiting Detroit remains high despite the city's recent journey through the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. The city emerged from bankruptcy in December.

This also has been one of the busiest years for meetings and conventions in the city, according to the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The bureau hosted five major conventions in 2013 and had more than a dozen booked last year.

Of the more than 30 events booked this year, 13 had total attendance listed at 5,000 or more.

Youth Gathering organizers say high-school age Lutherans from across the country and overseas will come to Detroit for faith formation, worship, fellowship and service. Community projects will include feeding the hungry, working with schools, neighborhood improvements and work in community gardens.

Participants are invited to "engage in Detroit's unique story of tenacity and hopefulness," said Lisa Jeffreys, Youth Gathering program coordinator.

"We will join in partnerships of accompaniment all across the city, allowing Gathering participants to see God at work through transformative experiences," she added. "And last but not least, we seek to empower participants to return home seeing themselves as agents of change in their own communities and in the world in life-giving ways."