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COVID-19: 2020-21 academic year plans and student resources ›

Join us this Summer



AND IT WAS VERY GOOD: Affirming and Advocating for Gender and Sexual Diversity in God’s Creation

Sunday, June 20th – Friday, June 25th, 2021

In the interest of safety for our participants, mentors, and staff due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided along with university events, to gather in a virtual format for the 2021 Institute. Specific questions about this format can directed to

2021 THEME

What is the rightful place for LGBTQ people in God’s creation? After decades of fights over human sexuality, LGBTQ people, gender, and gender roles, the church is moving to a place of acceptance, and even advocacy. This year at the institute we are going to look at the role of LGBTQ people in scripture, in our church history, and the faithful advocacy to allow LGBTQ people to be full members of society. We are looking at the events of the past several years through a theological lens, asking what God is doing, and where our discernment can lead us.


Ross Murray (he/him) is the founding director of The Naming Project, a faith-based youth ministry and summer camp for LGBTQ youth and their allies. He has worked with youth and families in a variety of settings, and presented LGBTQ youth ministry around the country. Ross Murray

In his day job, Ross is the Senior Director of Education & Training at The GLAAD Media Institute, providing activist, spokesperson, and media engagement training and education for the LGBTQ community members, corporations, the media industry and advocacy organizations desiring to accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQ community. Ross has secured national media interest in stories that bring examples of LGBTQ equality across diverse communities in America, with a speciality in the relationship between religion and LGBTQ people.

Ross is a consecrated Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with a specific calling to advocate for LGBTQ people and to bridge the LGBTQ and faith communities. He is a producer for the “Yass, Jesus!” podcast, a faith and sexuality affirming podcast that believes you don’t have to pick between gay and God. In 2014, he was named one of Mashable’s “10 LGBT-Rights Activists to Follow on Twitter.”


Learn more about AYTI from this list of Frequently Asked Questions.


  • Complete application by April 30th, 2021
    • Talk to nominator and be sure their nomination form is completed
  • Notified of acceptance (mid May)
  • Upon acceptance, registration forms must be completed by May 31st, 2021
  • Upon acceptance, payment is due (before the start of the institute)
Youth Apply Now


  • Complete nomination form by April 30th, 2021
    • Talk to student and be sure their application form is completed
  • Upon acceptance, payment is due for the student (before the start of the institute)
Nominate Youth Now


General Questions – please reach out to our planning team at