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Announcing the 2021 AYTI Theme and Instructor

2021 AYTI BannerAND IT WAS VERY GOOD: Affirming and Advocating for Gender and sexual diversity in God’s Creation

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

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.

We are excited to go on this journey of learning with our 2021 instructor, Ross Murray. Ross 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 holds a BA from Augsburg in 2000, an MA from Luther Seminary in 2003, and an MBA from Augsburg in 2009.

Headshot of Ross Murray, the 2021 AYTI Instructor
Ross Murray, 2021 AYTI Instructor

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 specialty 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.”

We invite you to follow the AYTI Facebook page for updates about the theme, instructor, applications, and more. We are planning a live stream interview with Ross, so look out for that!

Also, if you are a pastor, youth leader, or mentor who would like to nominate a young person for AYTI, the nomination forms are open. Youth who are interested in attending the 2021 institute can apply now. Nominations and applications will be due April 30th, 2021 on our website here. We are excited for what this year will bring, won’t you consider joining us?