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South America, two in Australia and 22 in North America. And they are still planting. The project, which officially ran from


Reformation Day 2015 until the end of 2016, also raised awareness around environmental protection and youth participation in the church in Germany and worldwide. “Our aim was to make Luther trees that


were planted in previous centuries to celebrate the Reformation known to young people,” Lothring said.


“ Through geocaching and through the project, they have made new connections with the places they live and their local histories.”


Putting trees on the map Officially known as “Luther Trees and Geocaches,” this project reaches people of all ages through the game of geocaching, which involves hunting and finding hidden objects using GPS. Lohring, Braband and other network members


gave out postcards promoting the Luther trees, created a website in German and English, and planted a Luther tree at the ECCG youth camp in Volkenroda. The Global Young Reformers Network has


been crucial in the project’s success, helping organizers reach out to youth and other age groups. It started in Germany with tree plantings and geocaching at youth festivals but, thanks to the network, went global. “Young people have told us that they like the


project very much because they didn’t know about the Luther trees at all,” Braband said. “Through geocaching and through the project, they have made new connections with the places they live and their local histories.”


Article courtesy of the Lutheran World Federation.


Young leaders in the ELCA are invited to add their voices to the conversation by visiting elcayoungreformers.org.


REFORMATION • LIVINGLUTHERAN.ORG 41


ELCA young reformers “raise a holy ruckus”


“Our group prides itself as being troublemakers who want to raise a holy ruckus in the church, in a good way,” said Christine Shander of the ELCA’s involvement in the Global Young Reformers Network.


Shander, a network leader, said when the ELCA’s young reformers dreamed up their


“Living Reformation” project, “we thought, why not gather young people and get them together, empower a network of young leaders who can go back to synods and try to bring about fellowship and change?”


Eventually the group linked up with 30 young pastors, seminarians and active church members from various synods. After meeting together at the 2016 Grace Gathering in New Orleans, La., they asked other young attendees: What do you wish we talked more about in church?


YouTube videos created from those interviews gained nearly 5,000 views in a week—many from people who were eager to hear what young Lutherans were thinking.


About six members meet online every month to keep other facets of the project, like an online Easter-to-Pentecost devotional, moving forward and to sustain fellowship among other young Lutherans who are often the only millennials in their congregation.


“In a town of 7,000 people, it’s easy to feel like you’re just one voice and can’t accomplish anything alone,” said Jayson Nicholson, a network member and pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Laurel, Mont. “As a network we can be a larger voice, and truly make an impact on our church, our world and our society.”


By Anne Basye, a freelance writer living in Mount Vernon, Wash.


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