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A Call for Action

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” As Americans, we must reflect on these words all the time. And especially at this moment, when we are dealing with one of the worst health pandemics and finally the awareness to a systematic long-existing pandemic of injustice. This is also a difficult time because, for the first time in America, we have realized that the hate movement in America is alive and growing.

Dr. King and many of the civil rights leaders understood the power of a single conversation. And the power of continuing to be in conversation with our fellow Americans about the most important things, about who we are and what we strive for. And how we live out our values. America is challenged with experimenting with inclusion. Yet, America fails to recognize this challenge. And every time, we fail to realize this challenge, we continue to create communities that don’t know one another, organizations that don’t understand one another, and communities vulnerable to hate and darkness. And so at this moment, at the same time, we have a new president. And it seems like an end to the cycle of hate. Yet this hate can’t be projected to a past president who used it and fueled it to have created it. That hate still exists and if not directly addressed, it will manifest once again in new ways. 

It finally took a health pandemic to finally see the injustice and brutality of the killing of George Floyd and countless others not filmed or known. Injustice in America is legislated by both public and private actors. The time is now to do what is right and see the darkness in the injustice actions that lead us to this moment. It’s time to stand up against state violence here in our own city and corporate greed that manifests economic inequalities and threatens our lives and our planet.  Dr. King’s legacy and dream and call to action are reminders to all us to act now. We must not stop our efforts to make a change but instead lean forward in every effort to start to heal our nation. And we can do that by reflecting on the call and words of Dr. King that only light can drive out darkness, and only love can stamp out hate. As the young poet Laurent Amanda Gorman said, “’Not broken but simply unfinished,” it’s time for us to work towards the work that is unfinished. 


Fardosa Hassan

Muslim Student Program Associate

Assistant Director, Augsburg Interfaith Institute


Welcome to “A Prayer For…,” a prayer ministry of the Campus Ministry Office of Augsburg University. We believe prayer is efficacious, a holy conversation with God that enables us to share our struggles and joys, lamentations and celebrations, blessings and hopes for ourselves, our neighbors, the world, and the whole of God’s creation. We plead, we prod, we protest, we praise – with lift all our prayers onto God trusting that they are received in divine mercy and love. It is in prayer we are freed to speak the truth of our hearts onto God so that we may abound in hope together through the power of the Holy Spirit—the very breath of God, the breath that makes all things new.

In these days of the COVID-19 pandemic fraught with anxiety, isolation, suffering, and discombobulation, the Campus Ministry team is offering daily prayers for our Augsburg community and beyond. We recognize that there is so much to pray for in this unprecedented time. “A Prayer For…” is one way we can collectively share in the holy conversation with our God as each day we lift up one specific concern or people or need or situation or hope in prayer. The prayers will run the gamut in tone and topic varying each day as together as a community we hold before God “A Prayer for…” Over the course of the days and weeks ahead, we will contribute to an on-going catalog of prayers we can use at any time throughout this challenging journey we share together.

The authors of these prayers – Rev. Babette Chatman, Pastoral Intern Sarah Swindall, and Rev. Justin Lind-Ayres – welcome you to share your prayer topics with us. You can send them onto us by emailing Campus Ministry team member, Janice Dames ( We will seek to incorporate your ideas into our communal prayers. As we enter into prayer together from afar through this simple yet profound ministry, may God in Christ Jesus strengthen us and keep us united together in peace and love.


So much has radically changed in such a short time. College students at Augsburg University, at our sibling Evangelical Lutheran Church in America colleges and universities, and at all other institutions of higher learning in the US are bearing the stressors of COVID-19 while also striving to move on-line in course work and continue the educational process. We offer this scripture text and prayer for all COLLEGE STUDENTS navigating new realities.

Proverbs 8:1: “Does not Wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice?”

Let us pray:

God of all wisdom and understanding, we thank you for Augsburg University and other centers of learning seeking to educate leaders for work and witness in your world. In these days of upheaval, uphold college students adapting to the real consequences of the coronavirus. Living arrangements have shifted, coursework is taking on new forms, jobs and internships have retracted, study abroad programs cancelled or postponed, and the scramble to adapt to the ever-changing situation is maddening. And all the while, health risks loom. Into this chaos, holy One, reveal your steady presence and empower all students engaged in higher education: calm anxious hearts and minds; ease the burdens of isolation; bolster community through social media; give focus to the coursework that needs tending; and give your peace, the peace that passes all understanding made known through your Spirit of Wisdom and her ways. Amen.


Rev. Justin Lind-Ayres

Prayer for March 23, 2020

Providing Care & Fostering Community amid Covid-19

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:

  1. When public worship happens, we will record or live-stream the services and make them available on that same day.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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)

Blessings for the Journey

We offer you these words from our Friday, March 13, chapel service as we begin the spring break week. Blessings to you during spring break whether you are traveling or will be staying here in the Twin Cities.


Grace and peace to you, pilgrims on the journey following in the way of Christ.

Today, our liturgy was going to be focused on prayers of blessing for travelers heading out on Spring Break journeys. We were going to offer special prayers for travel groups, sports teams, and classes all striking out on various adventure. Then, Covid-19. And plans changed. Travel cancelled. Hopes delayed.

Yet, here we are gathering around a word of promise that no matter our journeys ahead – changed or unchanged, near or far – It is God who goes with us, it is God who leads us in right paths for God’s name sake…it is God who is our rod, our staff, our comfort. It is God walks alongside us as we disperse from Augsburg amid uncertainty in the world; yet, we are certain that the goodness and mercy of God will follow us each and every day of the journey.

So we gather now to sing, to hear the promise of God’s presence, to pray for those who are traveling as some trips headed out, and bless us all as we prepare to leave, that we may go out with good courage knowing that God in Christ Jesus goes with us.


Let us pray.

God of the journey, you kept Abraham and Sarah in safety throughout the days of their pilgrimage; you led the children of Israel through the midst of the sea; and by a star you led the Magi to the infant Jesus. Protect and guide those who set out to travel; make their ways safe and their homecomings joyful.

We pray in this time of uncertainty and health crisis around the world for hospitals, nursing homes, and other health facilities seeking to provide care;

for the leaders responding and making difficult decisions, especially at the World Health Organization, the CDC, and the Minnesota Health Department;

calm fears among us and others on college campuses and in elementary, middle and high schools give patience to us all, grant guidance for administrators making decisions;

strengthen local governments, officials, and politicians – that their decisions for public safety also recognize the humanity and beloved-ness of us all.

Tend, O God, to those who are ill, who are quarantined,

whose lives are upended by the corona virus.

Bring healing, bring restoration, bring wholeness to communities.

Help us to realize that you are with us at all times and in all things;

that your loving grace in Christ Jesus enfolds us today, tomorrow, and always.



Deuteronomy 31:8
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Proverb 3:5-6,
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

Jeremiah 29:11
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.



As many prepare for their Spring Break Journey:
we pray for safe travel in cars, buses, plane or boat. We pray for caution and no one driving distracted

The only work you are required now to do is to give your most intense attention to God’s still, small voice within.

May god bless us with strength for the journey.

Protection and guidance from all hurt, harm or danger.

May we experience renewal, rest, peace, joy, and self-care in God’s love.

May God bless the earth beneath our feet,
Bless the path whereon we may go;
Bless the space we rest our head.

We pray that everyone will be able to make it where they need to go safely. In your name, we pray. Amen.


May Christ be the power and wisdom of God to you.
And may the Holy Spirit keep your, thoughts and words,

in God’s good grace.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,

In the name of Christ. Amen.


Lenten Thoughts – Sophie Bauer ’16 Senior Chapel Homily

Sophie Bauer ’16 shares her Senior Chapel Homily, from March 10, 2016:

The light shines in the darkness…
Minnesota, we know the dark well in the shortest days of winter.
Fifteen hours of the day dedicated to darkness.
Seasonal affective disorder.
January blues.
Cold. Cold. Cold.
Then comes the thaw.
And the light shines.

Continue reading “Lenten Thoughts – Sophie Bauer ’16 Senior Chapel Homily”

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

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 for more information and an application.

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.

“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″