Hygiene Kits for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

health_commonsJoin Augsburg Central Health Commons and Campus Ministry as we gather personal hygiene items for kits to assist those experiencing homelessness this holiday season!

When: December 2 – 10, 2015

Drop off items at designated locations:
Einstein’s in Christensen Center · Enrollment Center  · Foss Center Lobby· Kennedy Center · Lindell Library street level · Oren Gateway Center Welcome Desk

Items needed:

  • Socks
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Lotion
  • Razors
  • Washcloths
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Kleenex
  • Dental Floss

Please join us in assembling the kits in Daily Chapel on Friday 12/11: Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center, 10:40-11:00 AM

For more information contact Yasmin Abdulaya at (612) 330-1681 or abdulaya@augsburg.edu

Rethinking Children’s Sermons

by Pastor Justin Lind-Ayres

pastor_justin_installPastor Justin is the Associate College Pastor at Augsburg College and is an excellent mentor to our students preparing for ministry. He has been serving at Augsburg College since August of 2013. Justin received his Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul and his Doctor of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Justin is passionate about liturgical studies, preaching, social justice issues, and the power of biblical metaphors in the lives of the people of God. When not working with the wonderfully talented Campus Ministry staff at Augsburg, Justin can be found spending time with his family, cooking, reading, drinking coffee, watching sports and an occasional movie, and fly fishing for steelhead and trout.

I have to confess that I haven’t always been a fan of children’s sermons. I questioned their efficacy and wondered if they were more of a distraction from worship than a component of worship. It is a challenge to teach/preach to a cadre of kids in a few minutes without sinking into the mire of moralistic mantras. Or, on the other side of sermonic spectrum, fall into the trap of sharing a message every week with the children that inevitably ended with, “Jesus loves you!” Incidentally, the latter was often the case for me!

In addition to content liability, there is an unspoken pressure to be funny or cute with the children so as to keep the listening adults of the assembly entertained. I suppose this was the piece that bothered me most. I have said more than once, “We don’t call all the worshippers over 65 years forward, make them sit on the floor, ask them questions that test their bible acumen, and then laugh at them when they summon the courage to speak.” I’m not sure this was the best argument for dropping children’s messages from the liturgy, but I have seen many kids physically deflate when their earnest responses conjure the cackles of the congregation. Worship leaders, Sunday teachers, youth minsters, and pastors must be careful not to unintentionally and ever so publically shame our children. For many reasons, then, I have tried to worm my way out of delivering children’s sermons.

But then I had children of my own and I began to see worship through their eyes! My kids thoroughly enjoy the children’s messages at our congregation, and not just because their dad is NOT delivering them (but that may be part of it too!). One of the many joys of my call as the associate pastor at Augsburg College is the fact that Sunday mornings are without pastoral duties on campus. Thus, I am able to worship with my family as a parishioner in the pew at our home congregation. Children’s messages are no longer my responsibility. The pastors, diaconal minister, high school students, and other adults who give the children’s messages at my congregation do an outstanding job! They create a welcome environment, are sensitive to the needs of the children, teach on a plethora of topics (though, Jesus’ love for them is often emphasized as it should be!), and instill in the kids a sense of belonging in worship. My children enthusiastically scamper to the center of our worship space when beckoned to receive a word of God for them.

Over the past few years, my appreciation for children’s sermons has grown. My home congregation has one every single week, no matter what. It is one of the many ways that they communicate full welcome and participation of children throughout the entire service. And it speaks volumes to children about their own place in the midst of worshiping assembly. I fully realized this last month when my grandfather died.

Without question, our three children (ages 6, 4, and 1) were going to be in worship at my grandfather’s funeral in rural Minnesota. As a family and as people of faith, we needed to grieve and worship God together! Two days before the funeral, I was explaining the funeral worship service to my two older daughters. After hearing about the casket, how there would be singing, bible readings, and the fact that our whole family would be together at my grandfather’s church, my eldest daughter immediately asked, “Is there going to be a children’s sermon?” I was floored. I never thought about having a children’s sermon at a funeral before. Not once. And I think about funeral liturgies a lot! Her question serves as a testimony to me of the import of children’s messages in the lives of the young believers in our communities of faith.

There wasn’t a children’s sermon at my grandfather’s funeral. But maybe there should have been. I would have been happy to preach that one! I would have gathered all 35 great-grandchildren around my grandfather, asked them to place their hands on the casket, and had them repeat after me,

“Great-grandpa Melvin,” (repeat)

“Jesus loves you.” (repeat)

“Today, tomorrow, and forever.” (repeat)

Then I would have looked at them and said, “Dear ones, the Jesus who loves Great-grandpa Melvin, loves you too! Today, tomorrow, and forever. Amen.”

Urban Plunge Update – A Message from Jacie Richmond, Pastoral Intern

urban plungeCampus Ministry’s Urban Plunge program has finished off a successful first semester this year! We have been blessed with 5 Urban Plunges this semester! It is such an amazing thing to see youth from the suburbs coming to the city and getting a glimpse of all that there is here (some of them for the first time). You can see them grow and change throughout the weekend becoming stronger in their faith and having a new perspective about how they see people in the world. They truly come to understand that we are all children of God.

Urban Plunge is an overnight retreat program for church youth groups. These groups go around the city to various sites and engage in topics such as homelessness, poverty, race and class through the perspective of Christian faith. Urban Plunge is looking for Augsburg students to serve as group leaders and guides for the spring semester. If you are interested in this then contact Jacie Richmond in Campus Ministry at richmonj@augsburg.edu for more information and an application.

Prayers for Today

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We gather here today, very aware of your presence amongst us. Hear us as we pray.

Help us learn to be still. Still enough to hear you breath. In the stillness of our hearts, may we know that you are God, and that, in your presence lies the treasures our hearts yearn for. Tonight, we pray for stillness.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, when we are being ourselves out in the world, we often forget you. We hurt others, ourselves and even You. You are quick to forgive, help us be as well. Even when it stings, even when it continually hurts, please remind us of the cross. Tonight, we pray for forgiveness, for us and for others.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, your word calls us to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. I ask for strength for tough times, rough schedules, constant disappointments, doubts and worries as well as all the issues we may not know or even begin to understand. Bring comfort when we need it. You are the only one who can actually see things as big as we see them, and feel what we feel. Please give us hope, and remind us of the promise to take and rest us from our burdens. Tonight, we pray for rest.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, we know your ear is not deaf to hear us, and your hand is not too short to save. So our final prayer together this evening, is that you may grant us faith to believe that a mighty and all-powerful God, who is willing and able to heal us at our points of weakness, hears us. We lay our doubts down at your feet.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen

– Vision Bagonza ’17

Parliament of The World’s Religions – A Message from Fardosa Hassan

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 5.12.58 PMThe Parliament of the World’s Religions conference was an extraordinary opportunity for me, to be among ten thousand people around the world who are passionate about interfaith work. The Parliament of the World’s Religions brought interfaith leaders from differing racial and cultural backgrounds together, breaking down stereotypes and addressing prejudice. The greatest impact was for me to see those who serve youth investing considerable time in working shoulder-to-shoulder with youth from other faith traditions and cultures. Our youth will be the leaders of tomorrow and taking the time to invest in them is very important, as well as seeking to demonstrate a model for positively engaging young people with the reality of growing religious and cultural diversity in our community, and empowering a new generation of peace-makers to both lead now and throughout their lives. – Fardosa Hassan ’12, Muslim Student Advisor, Campus Ministries.

Chillon Leach, Artist and Art Servant, in Chapel

Augsburg College Campus Ministry welcomed Chillon Leach, Artist and Art Servant, to Daily Chapel on Tuesday, November 3. Chillon led a time of experiential expression of vocation and journey in Christ! We entered the chapel to find a long paper pathway stretching across the floor, extending out from the pulpit. During the opening hymn, Chillon kicked off her shoes and used markers and paints to begin sketching a river-like pathway down the middle of her canvas. Everyone who was gathered was then invited to join the journey by tracing around a foot or hand, or by adding meaningful words of their own spiritual journey to the work of art. Chillon finished by hand-applying gold paint to the pathway – highlighting the journey of the many footsteps and hand prints. Thank you to all who participated!

Student-Athletes Embrace Mindfulness Practice

soccer_team_meditatingIt has been a delight to continue our outreach to student-athletes in new and meaningful ways. Campus ministry, along with the Center for Wellness and Counseling, has teamed up in leading athletic teams through mindfulness practice. Chaplain to student athletes, Mike Matson, and counselor, Jon Vaughan-Fier, worked with the men’s soccer team earlier this fall as they expressed the positive effect of implementing such practices in every aspect of life. Campus ministry continually seeks joint efforts with other campus departments, as we commit ourselves to enhancing the experience of every student. Go Auggies!

All Saints Day in Chapel on Monday, November 2

“Litany of the Saints” all_saints_candles_web

Please join us on Monday, 11/2, at 10:40am for All Saint’s Day Festival Worship. We will remember with thanksgiving those who have died this past year during the “Litany of the Saints.”

You may send the names of those people in your life who have died and who you would like to be named and remembered during chapel to Amy Hanson in the Campus Ministry Office at hansona2@augsburg.edu or fill out a form located by the Hoversten Chapel entrance in Foss Center – please submit by Friday, October 30.

“The Pursuit of Happiness” – A Homily by Juventino Meza ’11

juventinoJuventino Meza ’11, a Peace & Justice Studies graduate of Augsburg College who currently works for the Minneapolis Public Schools as a community relations facilitator, preached in daily chapel for our homecoming week series, “Journeys Home.”  Here, he shares his homily from October 8, 2015:

“The Pursuit of Happiness”

Thank you pastor Sonja for the invitation. I still can’t believe I’m giving a homily. It’s great to be back at Augsburg.

In the spirit of our journey home and Coming Out Day, this is my message today: finding home and being yourself truly is the pursuit of happiness. Continue reading ““The Pursuit of Happiness” – A Homily by Juventino Meza ’11″

“Where you go, I go” – A Homily by Rev. Peter Weston Miller ’10

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.24.41 AMRev. Peter Weston Miller ’10, Pastor at Atonement Lutheran Church in New Brighton, preached in daily chapel for our homecoming week series, “Journeys Home.”  Here, he shares his homily from October 5, 2015:


You know it is such a sweet thing to be back at Augsburg and to kick off this 2015 Homecoming week. This chapel is where I preached my first sermon.  I get to preach almost every week now at Atonement(!) Through Augsburg Campus ministry, I got to fly in an airplane for the first time. Augsburg is where that “V” word (vocation) really started to find me and I learned this vocation vocabulary that so many Auggies share. Augsburg is where I met my partner.  We were both Campus Ministry commissioners. Augsburg was where I really learned to love the city and felt like I was a part of the community. Augsburg, also opened my eyes and my heart to cycles of oppression, white privilege, and where it really sunk it that no one should have to heat there home with a kitchen stove. And Augsburg is where I really where I felt like I found my heart and my home, like I found my people, and found not just the family that is your blood but that family that becomes your blood (line from Finding Forester). It was the family that I met here that allowed me to be real, honest, broken, hurt, critical. And yet also was gifted, unique, passionate, committed, and driven to discern what God and the world needed of me.   Continue reading ““Where you go, I go” – A Homily by Rev. Peter Weston Miller ’10″