Find out more about the Gathering staff, managers and team leaders
Gathering Staff, ELCA Churchwide Office (Chicago)
Director, ELCA Youth Gathering
Heidi Hagstrom: Heidi had never been to a Youth Gathering before joining the staff after the 1997 Gathering. Fourteen years later she is a passionate advocate for the ministry’s ability to inspire young people and adults who will contribute to the ELCA's evangelical mission in the world. Heidi is deeply committed to shaping a ministry through which young people are reminded of their core identity in Christ, and empowered to live out that identity as they make vocational decisions. Working on the Gathering means that Heidi is privileged to be combining her two loves of meeting planning and the church. In her spare time — right — Heidi dreams about living on a farm with animals, enjoys singing and loves up her new kitties, Cecilia and Pippi. And no, she will NOT become a cat lady!
Assistant Director, ELCA Youth Gathering
Donna Wiegel: Donna started working with the Gathering in 1997; the 2012 Gathering will be her fifth! She loves this ministry, and does her best to make the Gathering experience as streamlined as possible for the participants. The congregational leaders, whether volunteer or paid staff, are the heart of this ministry and she hopes they know how much their work with the young people of the ELCA is valued and supported! She feels she is surrounded in this endeavor by some of the best leaders in the church — over 2000 people from across the country serve on teams or as volunteers. This ministry is truly God's work, with our hands.
Administrative Assistant, ELCA Youth Gathering
Natalie Young: This is the second Gathering that Natalie has been a part of, and she is very excited to be returning to New Orleans in 2012! If you've ever called or emailed the Gathering, it is very likely that she is the one you have spoken to or received a response from. She feels honored to serve with a team of folks that is so passionate about accompanying young people on their journey of faith, and can't wait to see all 39,000 of you in person next summer! Until then, you can find Natalie exploring the beautiful city of Chicago, stopping at all of the best local unknown eateries, and cheering on the Chicago Bulls!
Because our wonderful planning team leaders all have full time jobs in addition to their Youth Gathering responsibilities, we have chosen to protect them by not giving their full name and home town. We are sorry we have to do this, but a few have become overwhelmed by good people seeking them out for more information, suggestions, offers of prayer and/or best wishes. If you want to get information to a planning team leader, send it to email@example.com
and we will forward it or answer if we can.Safety and Security
Pastor Shawn is at a congregation in New York and, we predict, will be a bishop some day.
Mr. David is an IT systems specialist at a university in Washington and helps us all with our computers during meetings.
Ms. Kim is a Youth and Young Adult Ministry specialist at a congregation in North Dakota and the busy mom of twins.
Pastor Matthew is awaiting call in Massachusetts and will be a bright light wherever he ends up.
Ms. Beth is a Youth and Family Ministry specialist at a congregation in Washington and is a servant’s servant.
Tech and Talent
Mr. Tom is a Youth Ministry staff person at a congregation in California and adds levity to our meetings.
Pastor Chris serves a congregation in Wisconsin and keeps us laughing.
Ms. Kristen is an independent Event Producer from North Carolina and gives us access to Hollywood talent.
Ms. Jessica is a synod youth leader and is very passionate about service.
Dr. Kris teaches at a seminary and has devoted her professional and personal life to nurturing children and youth.
Mr. Rich is cantor at a congregation in Pennsylvania and is a very funny guy.
Pastor Andy serves a congregation in Montana and is our Google Docs guru.
Gathering Synod Coordinators
Ms. Kathy is Director of Youth Ministry at a congregation in Minnesota and teaches youth ministry at a college. Ms. Kathy is our connector.
Ms. Catherine is a Synod Youth and Young Adult Ministries specialist and a brilliant systems thinker and architect.
Pastor Todd serves as a pastor in Minnesota and, he says, shares a brain with Catherine.