“You have no idea what it’s like to work with a group of youth in a congregation.” The woman on the other end of the phone was frustrated for sure, and on the verge of anger. She had checked her congregation’s online account, and wasn’t happy with the number and type of hotel rooms to which her group was assigned. We started to make hotel assignments, but didn’t disable that part of the online account while the puzzle pieces of the complex housing assignment process were being moved around. You can’t imagine how complex this proces is, made more difficult by our commitment to house congregational groups by synod. It will take some time to fit the various pieces together, and until the puzzle is fully put together, registered congregations won’t be able to access that part of their online account. Housing assignments will be distributed as promised by the time of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network’s annual Extravaganza in early February. It was a bad day. Angry people called and accused my two, faithful co-workers of making a mistake because their assignment didn’t match what they submitted. Some people sent emails that lobbed the same accusation, and still others evoked alarm by posting their displeasure on Facebook. We are sorry if we caused any angst. I want to express to all of the people who called, emailed or posted on Facebook, we feel your pain. We are in this together. Really, we are with you; we are among you; we are because you are. Do you remember ubuntu in 2003? We care about the details, and we work to make this the best experience we can for you because we know that the ELCA Youth Gathering can be a turning point in the faith lives of young people, and adults. We can bear witness to the fact that Jesus uses the ELCA Youth Gathering to ● call people into ministries that bring about the beloved community (Revelation 21) Jesus promised; ● give young people clarity about their vocational call; ● fill our hearts with the love of God, and be softened by God’s grace; ● be God’s hands, feet, eyes, ears and voice in the world. Seth Godin wrote in a recent blog, “Caring involves raising that bar to the point where the team has to stretch.” We are stretching for the stars — in service to God and YOU!