Youth Ministry

Youthfest Information and Registration forms:

Please see documents below, available for download.  If you have any questions about Youthfest, please contact Deb Roberts:, or 724-865-2161.
The following are below: 1) poster front; 2) poster back, including details and agenda; 3) registration letter; 4) registration form for youth, and 5) registration form for adults.

2017 Youthfest poster front 2017 Youthfest poster front (238 KB)


2017 Youthfest poster back with details 2017 Youthfest poster back with details (190 KB)


2017 Youthfest registration letter 2017 Youthfest registration letter (184 KB)


2017 youthfest registration form for youth 2017 youthfest registration form for youth (151 KB)


2017 youthfest registration form for adults 2017 youthfest registration form for adults (200 KB)

Bible Bowl

For information about the 2017 Bible Bowl, please click HERE to link to the Bible Bowl website. You will also find registration forms there under the "Registration" tab at the top of the page.

Youth Calendar 2016-2017

See calendar, below, updated January 24, 2017:

Youth Ministry Calendar updated 1-24-17 Youth Ministry Calendar updated 1-24-17 (17 KB)


ELCA Youth Gathering

Youth Convo

Areas of Responsibility

Enabling youth to assume their place as full participants in the life of the church by serving youth and adults working with youth.

Report to the 2016 Synod Assembly

Last year’s comprehensive report gave a good summary of each of the synod youth ministries that happen during the year.  Here are some highlights from 2015 and great stuff coming up!

One focal point of the year for many of our congregations was the ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit.  Some congregations traveled together via the synod bus, and others planned their own trips.  Our youth and adults worshipped and served side by side with 30,000 Lutherans from all over the country.    The next ELCA Youth Gathering is June 27-July 1, 2018 in Houston, Texas.  Start your planning now!

Something else you could plan for is a Practice Discipleship Retreat for your congregation!  Practice Discipleship is a series of comprehensive leadership workshops designed by the ELCA Youth Ministry Network.  The workshops are not just for those who work with youth, but look at the whole picture of faith development as a tool for leadership in our congregations and our everyday life.  Practice Discipleship can be used as a leadership training for church councils, leadership teams, and Christian education teams.

At this point, youth of eight congregations are deep into the study of the books of Ruth, Esther and Daniel for our annual Bible Bowl.  Best of luck to those competing in the coming months!  Look for the Bible Bowl Books announcement at Synod Assembly!
Stay at Home Mission Work Camp continues to provide a low cost, high impact local mission trip for youth in the Pittsburgh area.   The congregations and leaders involved shape this week with fun, work and prayer built around a deep commitment to the needs of our neighborhoods.

In its 5th year, Sunday Night Live continues to bring youth and adults together month after month.  New congregations are participating all the time and we are always looking for youth groups and congregations to host our evenings.  Look for some format changes next year and more intentional relationship building.

We gather with youth grades 6-12 from around the synod each spring for our annual Youthfest retreat at Lutherlyn.

Be sure to keep your eyes open for young leaders gathering with us during Synod Assembly.  Many of these youth are attending as voting members for their congregation and are housed together for an intentional community of learning and fellowship.  Youth Convo has been a vital part of our synod in assembly for many years and we continue to raise up young leaders year after year.  Is there a youth in your congregation who would benefit from this experience?  If you’re in Convo, and you’re reading this report at assembly – I’m proud of you and I’m glad you’re here!  You should come to the Youth Leadership Event at the Lutheran University Center.  Just ask your leaders about it…

Consider recommending a youth from your congregation to attend the 2nd Annual Youth Leadership Event at the Lutheran University Center.  Last year’s event, Go and Do Likewise, focused on Good Samaritan Leadership.  This year, we turn to Moses and the team of leaders who helped lead God’s people out of Egypt in Exodus 3 and 4 (Ex. 4:13)   Look for the flier in your Assembly Pack and save August 3rd for this special event!

Join all your Lutheran friends for a great time on July 18, 2016 for Lutheran Day at Kennywood!   There are discount tickets available for congregations and Morning Prayer with the Bishop is scheduled for that day!

Our committee, appointed by the Synod Council, meets every other month to oversee the execution of all these various ministries and coordinate planning.  Regular cross-pollination happens at Sunday Night Live monthly, as these events are announced and reported on.   The Synod Youth Summit is an informal group of adults who love working with youth and want to share ideas and brainstorm new models together.   This group meets quarterly during the day for lunch and fellowship.  Their support is vital to making ministry happen with our youth.

For more information about any of this, be sure to check the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod ECHO frequently, and look for us on Facebook: Southwestern PA Synod LYO.  Feel free to contact me with comments, questions, or your desire to volunteer!

Committee Members

Chairperson: Pastor Erin Evans
Secretary:  Andrew Sabol
Synod Council Representative:  Erik Nordby
Clergy:  Pastor Joel A. Benson; Pastor Brian Bennett; Pastor Ryan Kobert
Laypersons: Elisabeth Heckert; Virginia Kreisel; Kyra Short; Amy Santoriello (DM)
Resource Person:  Pastor Christina A. Hough
Staff: The Rev. Sarah Lee- Faulkner, Assistant to the Bishop