RE: Providing Care & Fostering Community amid Covid-19, Augsburg University & Luther Seminary
In an effort to provide care and foster community on our campuses amid the COVID-19 health crisis, Augsburg University Campus Ministry and the Luther Seminary Pastor’s Office are partnering to offer opportunities to strengthen the body of Christ in these days. When anxiety is high in our culture, we recognize how critical it is for us to worship, to hear God’s word of promise in Christ Jesus, to articulate our fears and doubts in a supportive community of truth and grace, and to be inspired to live as God’s beloved for the sake of the other.
As the situation with COVID-19 continues to unfold and social distancing become a normative practice to prevent the spread of virus, we in Campus Ministry at Augsburg University and Luther Seminary are working to use technology and social media platforms to offer communal experiences of worship, prayer practices and moments for faith formation, and online gatherings centered on scripture, support, and the strengthening of the body of Christ. We will seek to do this in the following ways or some variation thereof:
- When public worship happens, we will record or live-stream the services and make them available on that same day.
- When public worship is cancelled, we will provide elements of worship through social media platforms on a regular basis. Such elements include sermons, prayers, and perhaps some musical content.
- When classes are cancelled or moved strictly to on-line content, we will offer daily email or blogpost devotions for sharing blessings, prayers, and reflections as an ongoing way to foster prayer practices.
- When classes are cancelled or moved strictly to on-line content, we will seek to provide opportunities for communal gatherings through Zoom or other methods. These gatherings can take the form of bible study, small group discussion, or group check-in and prayer.
- When classes are cancelled or moved strictly to on-line content, pastoral care conversations can be done over the phone or through Google Hangout for individuals with the pastoral staff at Augsburg and Luther.
- We will continue to receive prayer requests from among our communities and lift these prayers up individually, in staff meetings, and, with permission, in communal/on-line settings.
We will remain open to new ideas and possibilities on how we can be the community of Christ together. We welcome your ideas!
Campus Ministry Staff, Augsburg University & Luther Seminary
O God, where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope. Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance. Where impossibilities close every door and window, grant imagination and resistance. Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination. Where spirits are daunted and weakened, grant soaring wings and strengthened dreams. All these things we ask in the name of Jesus, our healer and our salvation. Amen. (adapted, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, pg. 76)