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Starting the Year Together

Eight Augsburg University students, both AYTI mentors and participants, gather together for chapel in September 2021.
Eight Augsburg University students, both AYTI mentors and participants, gather together for chapel in September 2021.

The Augsburg University community is in its first few weeks of in-person classes after a year and a half of being apart from one another due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. The last two summers the participants, mentors, and staff of the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute (AYTI) have gathered for our annual event virtually. This means that some people had not been able to meet each other in-person. This week however, we got to meet one another in person, some for the first time ever, and others for the first time in a long time. AYTI mentors and participants, who are current Auggies, gathered to connect as the semester begins. We ate donuts, told stories, attended chapel together, and celebrated the AYTI community.

AYTI often encourages high school students to consider attending Augsburg for their college years. Of the current students pictured here, five out of eight of them were participants at AYTI first and then came to Augsburg University in part because of their experience at AYTI. To learn more about undergraduate admissions, we invite you to sign up to visit campus and reach out to CCV staff Adrienne Kuchler Eldridge at for a personalized visit.

We are excited to celebrate that two students from the summer 2020 and summer 2021 institutes are now first year students at Augsburg University.


As we start the year together, we are also celebrating that the 2021 participants from this year’s institute “And It Was Very Good: Affirming and Advocating for Gender and Sexual Diversity in God’s Creation” have recently submitted their drafts of essays from this summer. We are excited to be editing and preparing for the journal release later this fall. In the meantime, you can read submissions from past journals on our website here.


The Augsburg Youth Theology Institute is one of the many initiatives of the Christensen Center for Vocation. AYTI inspires emerging high school theologians to observe, interpret, and engage their world through Christ for the sake of their neighbor. Our participants learn how to reflect theologically on culture and find meaningful ways to respond to the call from God that happens in this process of reflection. Following their week at the institute, students write a theological paper on the theme that is compiled into a journal and shared with congregations and the wider community.