Purpose and Core Values
MYLE exists to empower young people of color and those whose primary language is that other than English to claim their identity and cultivate their gifts for the purpose of becoming transformational leaders in the church and in the world.
MYLE lives out its purpose by creating an experience that is formed by the following values:Culture is celebrated.
Experience an inclusive community that seeks to build understanding and appreciation of the various cultures and ethnicities that are a part of this church.Leaders are formed.
Learn about the issues in your community and learn how to affect change by learning from and serving alongside our brothers and sisters in New Orleans.Identity is claimed.
Uncover your story and live out your God-given calling in the world.Faith is deepened.
Explore the intersection of faith and life and how our faith calls us to act justly in the world.Fun is had.
Connect with your peers who are looking to build relationships and have fun in the city of New Orleans.
"We All Dat: Citizens With the Saints"
This year’s MYLE theme is provocative. Not only is it eye-catching and, perhaps, has you wondering, "What’s dat about?" It also provokes a response, elicits a reaction, or begins a conversation. In simple terms, "We All Dat: Citizens with the Saints" is an affirmation of who we are as "Church". Of course, all of us have experienced "Church" in a variety of ways: some of them positive, some of them not so much. There are different styles of worship and different denominations. There are different views on who God is, how God works in the world, and how we relate to God and to the world. Unfortunately, these differences, which are gifts from God, have at times led to condemnation rather than celebration. They have resulted in the building up of walls rather than the opening up of doors. Where does the true unity of the "Church" rest? How can we claim membership in the one
body of Christ?
At the MYLE, you will encounter a vision of the Church that is both new and old. In Ephesians 2:8–20, St. Paul laid out a vision of the Church that was new then and, after all this time, still seems new today. The primary issue that divided Christians in St. Paul’s day was whether you were a Jew or a Gentile before you were a member of Christ’s body. Jewish Christians claimed exclusive rights to faith in Christ, because of God’s covenants with Abraham, Jacob and David; covenants made with the people of Israel alone, including Jesus. As a result, according to the Jewish law, Gentiles were "strangers" to God’s covenant and "aliens" to the promises of God to Israel. This issue created what St. Paul called a "dividing wall of hostility" within the body of Christ. Some (Jewish Christians) were welcomed completely; others (Gentile Christians), not so much. Today, there are different issues, yet the "dividing walls of hostility" remain in many places.
The vision that St. Paul describes is centered on the only thing that truly unites the Church: Jesus Christ, the Crucified One. "Now in Christ Jesus," St. Paul writes, "you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ…in his
flesh he made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us." (2:13–14) As leaders of color in the ELCA, which is predominantly European American, it’s easy sometimes to imagine how those early Gentile Christians felt. Yet, you were not placed in this Church by goals for inclusivity. You were placed in the Church, the body of Christ, through the cross of Christ. At the cross of Christ, all ground is level. There is no hierarchy, no seniority, and no privilege. Our differences are not erased. God has gifted the Creation with amazing variety. Rather, our differences do not separate us. When you come to New Orleans in July 2012, you will gather with young people from many different "places." Yet, what unites all of you is the gift beyond all gifts: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God — not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which [is] ...to be our way of life." (2:8–10) All that is left for us to do is to reach out, over walls of hostility, and touch the lives of our neighbors — because that is who we are, that is our way of life in the body of Christ. WE ALL DAT! Citizens with the Saints!