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COVID-19: Updates and Plans ›

Baccalaureate and Interfaith Sending Services for Class of 2021

To honor the Augsburg Class of 2021 and mark the completion of their studies, Campus Ministry would like to offer two online services that would usually have been held on campus. The entire Augsburg community is invited to participate in these services.

The first is our Baccalaureate Service, which is a festive service of music and word held for the graduating class, friends, and family members celebrating the completion of your studies at Augsburg and offering our blessings to you as you go out into the world. This is a Christian worship service, open to all. The online service this year is filled with joy and thanksgiving. Pastor Justin Lind-Ayres offers a blessing sermon for the class and the service features music performed by University Organist Mark Sedio, the Global Harmony choir, and student singers. A pdf of the bulletin is available online. An audio-description version of the service is also available.

You are also invited to watch the Interfaith Community Sending service. Graduating students of all religious and secular identities are invited to watch this interfaith service celebrating your educational journey. This service is a special time of reflection and blessing led by the Interfaith Scholar Cohort of 2020-21. 

 

Fifth House Ensemble Chapel Series

In collaboration with the Augsburg Music Department, Campus Ministry is excited to welcome the Fifth House Ensemble to chapel as part of their residency at Augsburg for a 5-part series of Deep Listening. Fifth House Ensemble taps the collaborative spirit of chamber music to create engaging performances and interactive educational programs, forging meaningful partnerships with unexpected venues, artists of other disciplines, educational institutions, and audiences of every type. Fifth House Ensemble will be leading chapel on January 28 & 29, and February 2, 4 & 5. The services will be live streamed on Zoom.

Fifth House Ensemble will partner with Augsburg University to work with students from the school of music, the McPhail Music Center, and the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship for a semester-long residency focused on community and co-creation. Fifth House will work directly with composition students to develop their works and provide guidance through entrepreneurship workshops focusing on life outside of school. In the spirit of community, they will introduce Deep Listening – a mindfulness practice motivated by the idea that communal music-making is everyone’s birthright. Throughout the residency, Fifth House also engages Michael Rohd, Quenna Lené Barrett, Leila Ramagopal Pertl and Brian Pertl for a community-focused project entitled We Are Good, exploring questions about our past, our present, and our future, focusing on the need for mutual respect, shared experience, and open dialogue.

Wednesday Chapel Talk – High Holy Days

Wednesday Chapel Talk – High Holy Days 

 

A conversation with Wendy Goldberg, Augsburg Interfaith Fellow 2017-19 and adjunct religion instructor, and Holly Farber, Director of the Speakers Bureau at Jewish Community Relations Council and volunteer at Interfaith Action, and Fardosa Hassan, Muslim Student Program Associate and Assistant Director of Augsburg Interfaith Institute. Watch this short video where they talk about the Jewish High Holy Days season, which runs for the entire lunar month of Tishrei, this year from Friday evening, September 18 – Sunday, October 11. Rosh Hashannah begins Friday evening at sundown.

The Chapel Talk is available on YouTube.

A Prayer for Graduates

For the past forty-three days, Pastor Babette Chatman, Pastoral Intern Sarah Swindall, and I have offered “A Prayer for…” as a prayer ministry for the Augsburg University community and beyond. This Campus Ministry Office prayer journey was intended to provide support, hope, healing, and courage through the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year, a time significantly altered due to the global pandemic. Our personal prayers for you and the world will continue as we hold fast to the promises of God in Christ Jesus in these trying days. But today, we complete “A Prayer for…” on May 4 – the day the Augsburg community was slated to gather at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for the 2020 Commencement Ceremony. A live viewing of Augsburg’s virtual graduation will happen at the end of the month with the hope of an in-person graduation at a later date. To mark the day Augsburg’s graduation was originally scheduled, we offer A PRAYER FOR GRADUATES as graduation season begins for colleges, universities, and high schools across our country. We name the sadness that comes with alternative and somewhat muted celebrations with our inability to gather in our normal ways. But in the same breath, we celebrate the achievements of all the graduates among us as they journey forth into a future that needs their skills, gifts, compassion, stewardship, ingenuity, and loving service. So, we offer this prayer, this blessing for graduates.      

2 Corinthians 9:8:

“God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” 

Let us pray:

Gracious God of every abundant blessing: we rejoice in the achievements of this year’s graduates. We celebrate your presence in their lives through the love and support of parents, siblings, partners, family, dear friends, mentors, teachers, professors, coaches, and other community partners. We are grateful for all who have made this moment possible. Support and strengthen the graduates as they journey into unknown futures complicated by coronavirus. As they journey into these unprecedented times, may they know your guidance. In their acts of justice, may they share in every good work to which you have led them. In their concerns and fears, may they know your peace. In their faithful witness, may they know your steadfast love. Bless them and sustain them as they go forth called to serve the neighbor in your mercy. This we pray in hope and thanksgiving. Amen. 

 

Rev. Justin Lind-Ayres

A Prayer for Faith

On this last Sunday of the 2019-2020 school year, many from Augsburg Community would have been gathering together for a baccalaureate celebration. As this semester and school year comes to a close, we honor all the accomplishments of all students and especially those graduating. This has been a semester that asked a lot of students, faculty, staff and administrators: dedication, perseverance, grace and faith. By faith we have walked these past few months and together we have endured surprising challenges. We continue on with assurance in things that are hoped for.

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Let us Pray,

Gracious God, strengthener of our faith and restorer of our souls, we give thanks for the many ways you work in this world to sustain our hearts. We give thanks for spiritual leaders, family, friends, strangers, fellow students and teachers, and all through whom you work to bring faith to your children. You have never failed us, O God. Though we travel strange paths and cannot know what is ahead of us, you accompany us, ever faithful and true. God, let your spirit rest on each of us this day and all the days ahead, so that we may be strengthened in spirit to live with conviction. All this in your holy name we pray. Amen. 

 

Pastoral Intern Sarah Swindall

A Prayer for All Dreamers

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream, the parents of young undocumented immigrants children who are impacted by DACA and the DREAM called dreamers, had a dream of a better life. Insomnia and vivid dreams are on the rise because of the covid-virus.  Dream time and dream recall is possibly on the increase during this Pandemic. Spending time at home has changed your schedule. As we complete the end of this academic year, during the worst Virus outbreak of all  times, living during the Covid-virus Pandemic completing your study via virtual class time is an accomplishment and one to be celebrated. As we look to the future, consider your dream time as conversations and encounters with God. May this time of uncertainty give you new visions for what you hope your future world would be. As you envision-dream what this new normal post-pandemic will be. Imagine God’s wildest dream is your vision for tomorrow. We offer this scripture and A PRAYER FOR… all DREAMERS.

Jeremiah 29:11  (NRSV)

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

Habakkuk 2:2-3  (NRSV)

Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;  make it plain on tablets,  so that a runner may read it.

For there is still a vision for the appointed time;  it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;  it will surely come, it will not delay.

Let us pray,

Dear Lord God, Creator of the Universe, thank you for all that you  do for us. Thank you for providing us with the strength needed to make it  through this academic year in spite of all the barriers caused by the  COVID-virus. Lord just as you visited Joseph in his dreams, you gave him a vision of a coat with many colors. You also gave him the gift to understand the meaning. We ask that you also bless us with dreams and vision that redefine our destiny.  At your appointed time, all wise God, help us to see your kingdom building work in the midst of these challenging times caused by the Pandemic.  Praising the name of the Lord, with thanksgiving and gratitude for all you have done. For giving your Angels watch over us. Your Word to the Prophet Joel, that we shall dream dreams and our young shall see visions. We pray for a vision where all humanity walks in solidarity with each other. That you oh Generous one will tear down walls, build beloved community, and that we will live as one with all of your Creation and creatures. Bless us, oh God, with sweet, heavenly dreams of your kingdom, your Kin-dom come. Now and to you, oh God, be all the glory, honor and praise for your New Day. Amen

Rev. Babette Chatman, University Pastor

 

A Prayer for Little Joys

Coronavirus-vision: it’s a thing. We see or experience most everything now through the lens of this disease as our local and global communities seek safety and communal wellbeing in our collective efforts. Constantly seeing the world and our lives through this virus, though necessary, can be frightful and downright exhausting. A change in perspective or a reorientation is welcome, however, so that our tunnel vision does not define the whole of our lives. Today I invite you to sneak a peek at the little joys emerging in your midst despite this pandemic. Reveling in moments of joy does not minimize the virus and the work before us to bring restoration and healing; rather, the little joys can provide sustenance for the journey ahead as they themselves can heal and restore. Please add your moments of gladness to this litany as we offer “A PRAYER FOR…LITTLE JOYS.”    

Isaiah 35:10:

“Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

Let us pray:

God of the giver of everlasting joy, open our hearts to the glimmers of glee that remain before us even in these days of hardship. Reorient us, if but for a moment, to notice the small things that give hope, provide inspiration, thrill the soul, and generate smirks and smiles. Hear the litany of little joys we are called to notice now, in a moment of quiet reflection with our bodies attuned to gladness: flowers breaking through dirt; a fresh cup of brewed coffee or tea; turning in a final paper or finishing a project; discovering a new Netflix series to watch; the unexpected (fury or wiggly) visitor in a Zoom call; aromas of baked items filling the apartment; children playing and laughing (while social distancing) in the street; a cardinal chirping in the tree overhead; an overdue video-chat with a family member; a long walk in the morning sun; rediscovering your neighbors and neighborhood; a favorite song on the radio; a word of encouragement from a friend; acts of kindness doled out by strangers; and all our own little joys that cause sorrow and sighing to flee away. This we pray in gratitude to God. Amen.   

 

Pastor Justin Lind-Ayres   

A Prayer for Our Bodies

As the stay at home order in Minnesota has officially been in place for over a month, our nation, our people are suffering. Though necessary to protect ourselves and the most vulnerable of our population in this time of global pandemic, staying at home can be hard on our bodies. We hold our stress and anxiety in our bodies – causing muscle aches, pain, lowered immune systems and many other issues. Our emotional health and our physical health are affected by one another. Our activities are restricted and our moods are suffering, making it even harder to be active. Studies are being done on the impact that stay at home orders are having on the mental, emotional and physical health of people who are sheltering in place (link: https://connect.uclahealth.org/2020/03/23/as-stay-at-home-orders-increase-so-do-feelings-of-loneliness-and-depression/). Today, we will pray for our bodies, fearfully and wonderfully made. Made to move, to be active, and to be out of doors.

Psalm 139:13-14

For it was you who formed my inward parts;

    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

    Wonderful are your works;

that I know very well.

Let us pray. 

Good and Loving Creator – you tenderly formed all of creation. Your fingerprints are on each place and creature, including your human children. We give you thanks for how you have fearfully and wonderfully made each of us, each of our bodies. Our bodies are capable of doing amazing things, of bearing children, of exploring the most isolated places on the earth, of dancing. Your creativity and power are reflected in each one of us. God, our bodies are suffering and sick. Many of your children are fighting against the sickness of the coronavirus, some are experiencing other health concerns that are not able to be properly tended to because of the stress on our medical system. And many are in pain and feeling sick because our bodies are not able to move and be active in the ways that they have been in the past. God, our hearts are hurting and so are our bodies. Lay your healing hands on your people, O God. Bless them with peaceful spirits and outlets of healthy stress release; comfort all those in pain and those who are sick. All this we pray in your name. Amen. 

A Prayer for Perseverance

The crisis of the Coronavirus has had a negative impact throughout the lives of everyday ordinary people. The shutting down of the economy, social distancing, sheltering-in-place all enforced to slow down and prevent rapid spread of the virus is a decision not taken lightly by public leaders and decision makers. As time continues, the weight of isolation, loneliness, stress, fear, despair is becoming overwhelming heavy. As I sit at my computer with the community in mind, a group of health conscious women gather in the parking lot below to exercise as a group practicing social distance, because they cannot safely gather indoors. Social distance does not mean emotional distance and health and exercise is crucial to staying healthy.  The crisis calls all of us to be creative and innovative with how we practice selfcare, care for our neighbor, community, the world and to address a broken system. Today we offer a scripture and a Prayer for…PERSEVERANCE  

Colossians 1:11-12 (NRSV)

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Let us pray…

Good and eternal God, you are our strength and our joy. We invite you to bless us by your glorious power with the ability  to endure these difficult times.  Lord, pour out your love into our hearts through your Holy Spirit.  Grant us wisdom that instructs us to trust you with our whole heart and to not lean on our understanding. We are acknowledging oh God, that you  are our motivational force directing us. Lord, in your infinite wisdom, you guide us through this crisis to turn our attention to you. Draw us closer to you and to each other. Help us to be patient and kind with one another. We ask that you continue to bless all the first responders and essential workers with the tenacity and determination to continue to be steadfast in the battle combating this disease.  Repairing God, we pray for perseverance in our advocacy to repair a broken system that exploits the marginalized and working poor. Lord we also pray that those who are forced back into the workforce out of economic pressure needs be met. And oh Lord, those public leaders who are attempting to force their state to reopen putting vulnerable and marginalized communities at greater risk, we pray for your justice and mercy. Righteous God, keep watch over those who fall victim to systems that oppress, be the gate to their freedom. Lord, all these things we ask trusting in your mercy. In Christ name we pray. Amen

Rev. Babette Chatman 

 

 

A Prayer for Celebrations

In 1980, the soul-funk band Kool & the Gang released their song “Celebration.” It hit number one on the Billboard chart in 1981, and has since become an iconic song at parties, major sporting events, and wedding dances. The original music video is worth viewing here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GwjfUFyY6M. This repetitive lyric is an ear-worm that can follow you all day long: “Celebrate good times, come on! (Let’s celebrate.)” 

Celebrations are cause and call to gather as people. And we know in this season of coronavirus, we have not been able to gather normally with the heaviness of the pandemic naturally muting many of our celebrations. Yet, the celebratory spirit remains alive among us! Despite the hardships we are enduring, there are good times to mark and celebrations to be had. People have creatively and inspirationally celebrated all sorts of glad-worthy events virtually or with responsible social-distancing: birthdays, proms, happy hours, holidays (Easter, Passover, Ramadan), anniversaries, even virtual weddings (!), and other numerous causes for celebrating together! Today we offer “A PRAYER FOR…CELEBRATIONS” and the spirit we share to be community and rejoice—even in hard times.

Psalm 118:24:

“This is the day that God has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Let us pray:

Your creation, O God, is a celebration of your goodness. We praise you for this day that continues to unfold before us by your creative will. May we rejoice and be glad as creatures of your own imagination and work. Though the hardships surround us and challenges have beset us, we still find cause and reason to celebrate—for you are with us! Thank you for the witness of drive-by birthday parades, wedding vows proclaimed to a virtual crowd, worship and prayer serves with Facebook Live watch parties, clanked glasses via Zoom, and other ways that testify to the spirit of celebrating good times. Bless our celebrations as we revel in the gift of life and power of socially connected community. In joy and in gladness we pray: Amen. 

Rev. Justin Lind-Ayres, University Pastor