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2022 Vocation of a Lutheran Higher Education Conference Registration

The Vocation of Lutheran Higher Education Conference:

Why All This Talk about Understanding the Mission of NECU Member Institutions as a Vocation?

Augsburg University, Minneapolis, Minnesota

July 18 – 20, 2022


The 2022 Vocation of Lutheran Higher Education Conference for the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities will convene at Augsburg University, Minneapolis, Minnesota from July 18-20, 2022.

Each year, members of Lutheran colleges gather to explore the distinctive roles we play in higher education.The theme of the 2022 conference is “Why All This Talk about Understanding the Mission of NECU Member Institutions as a Vocation?” 

The conference is open to all persons from ELCA colleges and universities, but persons should attend who have a campus responsibility for or interest in the mission of their institution and its place within the Lutheran intellectual tradition in higher education. Each college or university is urged to send a campus delegation, composed of a mix of administrators and faculty. 

A more detailed schedule and information about presenters is now available.. Contact Melinda Valverde at for more information about the conference or if your college or university has questions. Registration is now closed for the conference.


Register for the 2022 VOLHE Conference


ELCA colleges and universities are invited to send delegations of up to five persons at a subsidized rate of $150 per person. Please register by June 20, 2022.

Note: Those who need any disability-related accommodation to fully participate in this event are encouraged to contact University Events at or 612-330-1104. Remember to have the name, date, and time of the event with you when contacting their office. Please allow for sufficient time to arrange the accommodation.

Contact Janice Dames at for more information about registration.

The Vocation of a Lutheran Higher Education Conference is supported by the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities.

Campus Ministry Student Leaders

Introducing our Campus Ministry Student Leaders – Augsburg University Student Ministry Deacons, Minnesota Hillel- Augsburg, and Muslim Student Association


Augsburg University Student Ministry Deacons


Hi! My name is Renee Christensen. I use she/her pronouns. I’m a third year majoring in Clinical Psychology and Theology and Public Leadership, which is a long way of saying that I want to work with mental health and religion! This year, I have the honor to work as the co-president with our Student Deacons! Outside of Augsburg, I love reading books and being outside with my cats! I am super excited to be back on campus and can’t wait to see you all at our events! Let me know if you want to get coffee and chat!


Hi, my name is Bethany Dart. I use she/her pronouns and am a sophomore at Augsburg.  I am majoring in women’s gender studies. In my free time I like to read, write, cook, and be outside by the Mpls lakes. I decided to become a deacon because I care about faith and Leadership. I hope I can be someone the Augsburg community can trust and go to for support and questions. 


My name Is Nadine Miller (she/hers) and I am a junior double majoring in communications and political science. I am from Hancock, Minnesota and I love dogs. I also like playing video games, hanging out with friends, and dancing.


My name is Grace Porter (she/her) and I am a senior! I am majoring in Theology and Public Leadership with a concentration in youth studies and a minor in music. This is my third year as a co-president of Student Ministries because I love the community here! I also love traveling, working with kids and young people, and the magic of a good book. Let me know if you want to get a coffee and chat!


My name is Toby Reinsma, I am a 3rd year here at Augsburg University studying elementary education. I play on the Men’s Soccer team here, I am from Grand Rapids, Michigan and I love the color blue. 


I’m Emma Scherrer (she/her/hers). I am a third year majoring in Music Therapy.  I love music a lot- listening to it, singing, dancing, and playing instruments, especially piano. I love to spend time outside and explore my surroundings. My other interests include chess, drawing, poetry, cats, and anime. I’m very empathetic, a good listener, and love to give hugs. 


My name is Carson Vincent (they/them/theirs). I am a second-year majoring in biochemistry and minoring in math. This year I am the treasurer for student ministries. I am also a RA in Urness this year. If you see me around campus feel free to stop and say “Hi.”


Minnesota Hillel – Augsburg leaders


My name is Rivka Buchbinder, I am a senior, my major is elementary education, my minors are film and religion. I love photography and film and love taking pictures/videos of the world around me. I love spending time with friends and family. I love meeting new people and learning about what they are passionate about. 

I am also a part of Hillel and have really enjoyed paring Jewish life to campus.


Hi everyone, I am Hannah Gold and I am from Wisconsin. I am on the Women’s Hockey team here at Augsburg. When I am not playing hockey I am outside or making art. I joined Hillel because I wanted to be closer to my culture and heritage. I am a senior majoring in marketing with a minor in graphic design.


Muslim Student Association Executive Board


Name: Sharmarke Omar

Position: President 

Grade: Junior 

Major: Finance & Management 

Hobbies: Traveling, learning new things, reading and spending quality time with family & friends!

My hope for MSA this year is: To provide a platform through which Muslim students on campus can practice their faith and help fellow students become familiar with resources at their disposal in the broader Augsburg community.


Name : Yahye Farah

Position: Vice President

Grade: Senior

Major: MIS

Hobbies: I like to go out with my friends, and watch a lot of shows

My hope for MSA this year is: My goal for MSA this year  is to be there for the muslim students here at Augsburg. Hear the voices of the student body we’re representing and make this a welcoming place that everyone is included.


Name: Fathumo Mohamed 

Position: Secretary

Grade: Junior 

Major: Biology 

Hobbies: I like to read comics, I like to try variety of different food every time (halal)

My hope for MSA this year is: To unify all Muslim students from different backgrounds and culture to feel safe and be welcomed at MSA. Also to be a resource organization for Muslim student that need help on campus whether is to get them connected to someone or just to seek an advice. 


Name: Hafsa Abdi

Position: Public Relations

Grade: Second Year

Major: Biochemistry

Hobbies: Going on adventures, exploring new cultures, traveling, getting boba & hanging out with friends!

My hope for MSA this year is: My hope for MSA this year is to advocate and be available for the muslim students on campus; and to create an open and welcoming space where students can come and enjoy what we have to offer. Inshallah you can join us! 


Name: Anzal Sahal

Position: Co-Event Planner

Grade: Second Year

Major: Biochemistry

Hobbies: Watching movies/shows, reading, and trying new things!

My hope for MSA this year is: To create a space for all students to deepen their knowledge of Islam, while also establishing friendly connections with like-minded individuals! 


Name:Salma Aden

Position: Co-event Planner

Grade: Second year

Major: Biochemistry

Hobbies: cooking, traveling and exploring new places (mainly restaurants) and binge watching shows.

My hope for MSA this year is: I hope that MSA will be able to be there for our fellow students and to guide them through when they need us and just become the muslim community they wish/hope for InshaAllah.


Name: Hamza Hassan

Position: Treasurer

Grade: Second Year

Major: Management Info Systems

Hobbies: Traveling, basketball, soccer

My hope for MSA this year is: To create a welcoming environment for Muslim students on campus, and to help students develop their spirituality and growth as Muslims.

A Prayer for the People of Haiti and Afghanistan

In this hour, prayers are needed. Though separated by region, circumstance, and cause, the people of Afghanistan and Haiti share in the commonality of deep and painful suffering. As our news feeds are filled with images and statistics from these countries depicting the heartache and turmoil felt by our global siblings, we are called to prayer: for mercy among those grieving the loss of loved ones, for safety amid war and chaos, for the healing of those injured in body or soul, for peace, and for the restoration of all God’s beloved. Thousands of miles away yet yoked in our common humanity, we lift our prayers for the Haitian and the Afghani peoples.  

For the people most affected by the crisis created by the US withdrawing military troops from Afghanistan:

And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

We pray to you Merciful God, in this time of great sorrow, pain, and confusion. You are our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Reveal your presence in the midst of the people of Afghanistan. Protect them, so that the feelings of forsakenness and desperation will not overtake them. Hold them amid their fear and pain. Give them liberty and freedom. Come quickly to their aid that they may know, peace and joy again.

And for those affected by natural disasters from the recent earthquake impacting Haiti and the surrounding areas as well as the tropical storms affecting the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, U.S minor outlying Islands and Cuba. We pray for all the lives lost, being mindful of the 1,941 (and rising) Haitian people killed and over 6,000 injured leaving some 30,000 plus homeless.

We offer prayers:

O holy God, whose name is above all names. We share in Jesus’ cry from the cross amid loss and the feeling of abandonment. As creation groans, the earth rumbles and the skies darken. Hear our cries and hold your peoples caught in the throes of creation’s turmoil. Do not forsake your peoples in Haiti and the surrounding areas. Surround them in mercy and strengthen them in love. Stir people, agencies, governments, and ourselves to give gifts of support to heal and rebuild. Empower the global community to stand in solidarity and seek a way forward and a path that leads to abundant life. This we pray with Jesus’ words on our lips and hope in our hearts. Amen.    

Babette Chatman & Justin Lind-Ayres

Co-University Pastors 

2021 Vocation of Lutheran Higher Education Conference Registration

Called to Place: Community Responsive Education

A virtual conference hosted by Augsburg University

July 12 – 15, 2021

The 2021 Vocation of Lutheran Higher Education Conference (formerly, the Vocation of a Lutheran College Conference) for the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities will convene daily, July 12 – 15, 2021, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Eastern Time, except the session on July 13th, which will meet 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern Time.

The theme of the 2021 conference is “Called to Place: Community Responsive Education.” Participants will consider how local landscapes, neighborhoods, events, and people influence the missions, identities, and institutional vocations of our colleges and universities, along with our individual callings related to antiracism in our particular communities.

For more information on each of the sessions and speakers, please see the conference program.

Registration requires two steps. The first step is registering to receive the two Zoom links that will give you access to the conference. These links are included in the registration form. The second step is to complete daily session registration information below on this form.  Both steps are necessary for registration. There is no registration fee for the 2021 conference. Registration deadline is July 2, 2021. Registration is closed for this conference.


Register for 2021 VOLHE Conference


Conference participants are strongly encouraged to attend all four sessions of the conference.

Note: Those who need any disability-related accommodation to fully participate in this event are encouraged to contact University Events at or 612-330-1104. Remember to have the name, date, and time of the event with you when contacting their office. Please allow for sufficient time to arrange the accommodation.

Contact Janice Dames at for more information about registration.

The Vocation of a Lutheran Higher Education Conference is supported by the Network of ECLA Colleges and Universities.


Reference Information for Conference Attendees


Plenary 1:

Advance readings for Plenary 1.

Belonging: A Culture of Place, by bell hooks

Learning to Bloom Where You are Planted: Adapting Vocation to the Specifics of Place, by Mary Henold

Plenary 1 Bibliography:  Bibliography from Jason Mahn


Plenary 4:

Working documents for the closing plenary session.

Campus Team Reflection and Planning Document 

Planning Session Template


Day of Epiphany

Protesters pushing through the barriers of the Capitol Building;
The sacred American task of the peaceful transition of power interrupted;
Our elected officials scrambling for their safety amid the chaos;
The floor of the Senate invaded;
Shock and dismay sweeping across the country…
All of this today, on the day of the Epiphany:
the day the Christian church celebrates the magi’s encounter with the Christ-child,
the revelation of God coming to earth to dwell among us, to breathe among us,
to bring peace, to bring divine light and love to all peoples, to all nations….

In these hours, we offer our prayers for the safety of our elected officials and for those seeking to restore peace, for leaders speaking truth in the face of falsities espoused by the President of the United States, for the courage for us all to find common ground amid division and disagreement, and for healing for our nation beset by the pandemics of COVID-19 and racism. On this day of the Epiphany, may we light a candle to shine the light of love in our dorms and homes, the light of healing in our neighborhood and communities, the light of hope for our country and the world. May we, together, be light.

My prayer on this shocking day comes from the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. He spoke these words in a speech in 1956, but I have found they have become my prayer on this Epiphany Day.

I pray:

“The urgency of the hour calls for leaders of wise judgment and sound integrity – leaders not in love with money, but in love with justice; leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with humanity.” (MLK)

And I add: May we be such leaders sharing the light of such love in our thoughts, words, and deeds as an Augsburg community, for the sake of each other and for the sake of the world. Amen.

Justin Lind-Ayres
University Pastor
January 6, 2021 – The Epiphany of Our Lord

Remembering the Future

Remember the future? Is this another great Lutheran paradox? Is this some sort of reference to psychic ability? Or biblical prophecy? Is it some out there New Age idea? 

Yes. It could be all of those abstract, subjective ideas; but it has a more practical meaning in the world right now. 

In his 1997 book, Not Yet, Vincent Geoghegan uses the term ‘remember the future’ in reference to humanity’s ability to imagine and capacity to create a more desirable environment. Geoghegan’s definition takes the idea from the abstract into the practical. It gives us a sense that we can go beyond what we have been conditioned to believe is possible.  We can achieve more than we ever thought plausible. How? How do we achieve what is beyond our imagination? 

We look to the past to build the future.

Today in Augsburg’s chapel service, we commemorate All Saint’s Day. We give thanks for the lives of the saints who are no longer physically present with us on Earth. As we remember the lives of the saints who have gone this year, let us also remember that we are living in a time beyond the imagination of so many of them. We are living in the future they remembered and we are doing so thanks to the struggles, the imagination, and the hope of these and so many other saints. 

Rep. John Lewis, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, C.T. Vivian, Katherine Johnson (NASA engineer, Hidden Figures) and so many saints from our own lives. 

We pray this prayer of remembrance and gratitude:

Today O God, we remember all those saints who have gone before us. Their faithful lives and ideas form the foundation for our own lives of faith. We stand on their shoulders as we look at our present, knowing it is the future they remembered. 

Today we remember those whom we cannot name: the homeless, the abused, the refugees. 

Today we remember the names of those we know very well, those close to us, those we touched and held, those who touched and held our lives, those we loved and continue to love. 

Our lives are an accumulation of memory, growing, evolving, and shifting. At times the memory slips away entirely, at times it catches up, taking our breath away. Today, we pause with thoughtful intention to hold the memory of those who have gone before us. We remember and we pray, we tend our memories of those whose lives make each of us what we are today. 

We ask you to guide our lives in the way only you can, help us be the saints for the generations to come. May we be shoulders they can stand upon as they remember the future. 

May it be so.

-Jenn Luong

Pastoral Intern

Campus Ministry Election Week Support

Monday, November 2 –  A mindful meditation video by musician Michael Morris, a calm before election day.

Tuesday, November 3: With no classes on this day due to the election, Pastor Babette Chatman and Pastor Justin Lind-Ayres offer recorded words of hope and prayer on Election Day. 

Wednesday, November 4: Open space for prayer, reflection, silence, and conversation (if needed) in Hoversten throughout morning – 10:00 am – noon. Following ADSG’s event from 6 – 8 pm, folks are welcome to join our Zoom Multicultural Worship at 8 pm along with conversation on “God and Politics” followed by holding space if needed. 

Thursday, November 5 at 11:30 am: Join us in Hoversten Chapel for in-person worship with a service of Healing for the Nation. The service will be live streamed on Zoom. 

Friday, November 6 at 10:40: An All Saints Commemoration service combined with time to hold silence at 10:40 am for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. We remember all saints that have shaped our lives as we continue to remember George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, (and others) and our call for racial justice in God’s world. The Friday service will be streamed on Zoom. Check the Campus Ministry blog page for the weekly prayer. 


A Prayer for Those Who Seek Justice

53 years today, October 2nd 1967, The Honorable Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The first Black person to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Since the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, just two weeks ago, there has been much talk of the Supreme Court. 

53 years have passed since our first Black Justice was sworn in, America has had a Black president. Yet, Black Americans, Indigenous peoples, and other People of Color, still do not know justice. 

Both Justice Marshall and Justice Ginsberg spent their careers fighting for equality for people forced to the margins and those suffering under the weight of unjust systems and institutions. Justice Ginsberg and Justice Marshall both recognized that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. 

Let us pause today in prayer, giving thanks for the life and work of these prophetic voices and pray for the strength, wisdom, and guidance to honor their legacies and continue their work.


Deuteronomy 16:20 

Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.


God of this and all nations, we claim to be a nation where all are created equal, yet we continue to entertain the violence of inequity. We turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to those who have been denied equal treatment. Under the law of the land, all people are created equal and free. We know this is not lived out in reality. Under God’s law, all are created in the divine image, we know this Truth is not lived out in reality. Open our hearts, eyes and ears to see, hear and believe the Truth of the lives lived by People of Color. 

Source of life, hear our confession and grant us mercy. We fear change and discomfort, call us to new patterns of living and even though they may be difficult. We work out of our own power and pursue our own agenda, that benefits us and keeps us comfortable. We fail to see your transforming vision for ourselves and all of creation. Empower our lives with the Holy Spirit to take concrete steps toward healing, restoration, and ultimately reconciliation. 

God of promise, we give you thanks for the lives and work of Justice Marshall and Justice Ginsberg. May their memory be a blessing, a blessing that fills our hearts and minds with the desire to continue their work in pursuit of equality, equity, and justice. Help us to find ways to live fully in your promises of grace, mercy, allowing all to be free from racism, sexism, and all the ‘isms’ that oppress. Let us not be content with the way things are. Push us and pull us into making this world into a new world, one where your desires for full life for all are lived out. Shalom and Amen.

Jenn Luong

Pastoral Intern


“I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust…We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.” – Justice Thurgood Marshall

A Prayer for Justice

On Wednesday September 23, A grand jury indicted a former Louisville police detective on Wednesday for endangering Breonna Taylor’s neighbors with reckless gunfire during a raid on her apartment in March, but the two officers who shot Ms. Taylor were not charged in her death. 

The decision came after more than 100 days of protests and a months long investigation into the death of Ms. Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician who was shot six times in the hallway of her apartment by officers executing a search warrant. 

The city erupted in angry demonstrations after a grand jury decided not to bring charges against the police officers who shot and killed Breonna during a botched nighttime raid on her apartment in March. The grand jury instead indicted another officer involved in the raid for recklessly firing shots that entered a neighboring apartment. 

Innocent marginalized people suffer the most in a broken world. The system fails those who are the most vulnerable who experience injustice perpetrated on them. This week we witnessed first hand how a broken Justice System failed its citizens, namely Brianna Taylor. The world is broken, and there is an experiencing a lessening of the value of people, specifically BIPOC. 


Today we offer this scripture and a Prayer for Justice: 

Luke 18: 1-8 

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.  He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people.  In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” 


Pray for the repairing of a broken judicial system. Pray, and do not lose hope. Just like the persistent widow, we can’t lose heart. We must continue to advocate for justice for all people. We pray with confidence that our petitions will be answered because our request is the right thing to ask for and expect. The United States judicial, law enforcement, criminal justice and policing are broken, and we pray oh God, that you will bring justice and reform. That BIPOC will experience the same Justice as it White counterparts.

We pray for the healing of all nations. We pray against the false narrative the BIPOC are violent and therefore deserving of violence perpetrated against them. We pray for Law Enforcement to be reformed and retrained. 

Lord, we also pray for unity and peace amongst all people. We pray that as people gather and march in peaceful protest that the officers sworn to protect and serve will cease to antagonize and dehumanize citizens of the state. Lord, in your example of the persistent widow, you counsel your people to pray and not lose heart. May we put our prayers and partitions into action, we pray with our feet as we walk in solidarity, we pray with our voices as we cry out for justice, equity and protection for all, we pray our God with our actions by exercising our God given right to vote by mail, in person, early and on time. We pray with our hearts. God of our silent tears, God of our weary years, be close to us, be our comfort and our guide. Give us wisdom and courage to continue to fight the good fight of faith. That at your appointed time you will act on behalf of the disinherited, disenfranchised, marginalized, dehumanized, the hungry, naked and homeless. 

We thank you in advance and will be mindful to give you all the glory.

In your son’s name we pray.

Amen and may it be so.


Rev. Babette Chatman

University Pastor

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.