Bing tracking

“You are Invited”

Facilitator Reflection

Written by Brenna Zeimet

A collage of photos from the learning event. Kristina speaking to the group at the podium, Pastor Marty smiling at the camera, post-it work from a team, and the Roseville team gathered at their table. As I reflect on this event, I am awash with a sense of expectant hope. As I wandered the tables and listened to conversations and sat one to one talking with folks, I was struck by how much has changed in such a short time. 

The conversations have changed from questioning what we’re doing here and what this is all about, to finding deep connection with the neighbor’s story and searching for a place in the narrative of the community. Where do we fit? What should we be paying attention to? Who do we need to be to meet our neighbor where they are today? It was no longer a skeptical questioning of this process or a planning session for new programs, this community has begun to fall in love with the people around them and that love is driving change in our worldview and our identity as the Church. We are changing as we adapt to the heartbeat of God for people.

I am excited about what this season of Interpretation will bring as we dig deep into the beliefs and assumptions that drive our actions. We will examine how our worldview brings hope and where it causes harm or puts up barriers to authentic and vulnerable relationship. These teams are ready to engage this intense and transformative work, and the health that will flow from this time will bring change to our churches and our neighborhoods.


At our last learning event Kristina Fruge shared a letter with our RIH community to open our space both online and in person. It was written with inspiration from her friend Lauren out in Spokane, WA. It was a beautiful way to open and close our event and there are invitations she names that are good reminders on how we can create places of belonging for all our neighbors. We share it with you in hopes that it will continue to nourish your soul as you embark on this work of being neighbor in the world in the midst of all the feelings of being human.  Continue reading ““You are Invited””

Identifying Your Key Theological Claims

Written by Jeremy Myers

When teaching college students how to think theologically, I often hear them say, “I don’t know if I can think theologically because I’m not really even sure what my key beliefs are.” What follows is a process I have used many times when helping high school students, college students, and adults become more aware of the key theological claims that shape how they understand and interpret life. You can go through this process on your own, with a partner, or with a group. If doing with others, find moments when you can share what you are writing with one another and offer feedback to each other. 


Candle on a table in the sun with a group of people and a small table blurred out in the background. Brainstorming Your Core Beliefs

  1. Using index cards, post-its, or small slips of paper, write down all the biblical stories and lessons that are important to you. Write one per piece of paper. Leave room on each piece of paper to add more later.
  2. Continue to use index cards, post-its, or slips of paper and now write all the things you have been taught about God that are most important to you – attributes of God, things God does, things God doesn’t do, how God does things, why God does things, etc. Again, write only one on each piece of paper and leave room on each piece for more writing later.
  3. On each piece of paper write a brief description of why that particular biblical story, biblical lesson, or belief about God is important to you.

Continue reading “Identifying Your Key Theological Claims”

Faith in Action: Reflecting God’s Relational Essence

A round table of a team during our last learning community looking down at their prayer walk. "I have been trying to figure out this whole time what our project would be at the end of this, but I’m realizing…Relationships are The Project... Alice in our RIH Learning Community"In between our learning events, our facilitators Geoffrey and Brenna spend time with the congregations in cohorts. We asked Brenna and Geoffrey to reflect what they are hearing and experiencing with their learning cohorts.

Brenna’s Reflection

As we journey together through our season of accompaniment, our teams are learning a lot about their neighbors and what it means to be a public church. In our March cohort meeting we heard stories of engaging with schools, local police, members in our congregations, and local pastors from other churches. Our teams have begun to explore their neighborhoods on prayer walks and they’ve been meeting in local coffee shops and restaurants to listen and learn. They’ve engaged in public forums and local events and even attended Iftar dinners with their Muslim neighbors. Their curiosity and love for their neighbors is growing and it culminated in an exciting moment at our March cohort meeting where one of our team members interrupted the sharing time with an epiphany, “I have been trying to figure out this whole time what out project would be at the end of this, but I’m realizing…Relationships Are The Project”. They’re starting to catch it, knowing and loving your neighbor is the whole goal.

Geoffrey’s Reflection

Continue reading “Faith in Action: Reflecting God’s Relational Essence”

Look Around!

Uncovering Vocation Series

Uncovering Vocation is a partnership between Campus Ministry and the Christensen Center for Vocation at Augsburg University. Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, a member of the Augsburg community is invited to share a component of their vocation story. It has become a way of building community, becoming reacquainted with one another, and celebrating the diversity of people and vocations that make Augsburg University the beautiful place it is.


Our most recent Uncovering Vocation talk was given on Tuesday April 9, 2024 by Dr. Kristen Chamberlain from our department of Communication Studies, Film, and New Media. Kristen earned her PhD in Communication Studies from North Dakota State University in 2007. She has been teaching a variety of classes as part of the Department of Communication Studies, Film, and New Media since the fall of 2007. Kristen is particularly passionate about environmental communication and has identified as an environmentalist since 9th grade. She is also always ready to talk about the media, favorite books, and cats.


A reading from The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker

“‘Pay attention,’ Susan Sontag once advised a young audience; she was speaking of the creative process, but also of living. ‘It’s all about paying attention. It’s all about taking in as much of what’s out there as you can, and not letting the excuses and the dreariness of some of the obligations you’ll soon be incurring narrow your lives. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.’

To stay eager, to connect, to find interest in the everyday, to notice what everybody else overlooks—these are vital skills and noble goals. They speak to the difference between looking and seeing, between hearing and listening, between accepting what the world presents and noticing what matters to you.”

Is anyone else in here familiar with the movie masterpiece “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”?

In the movie, Ferris famously says:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Of course, he then skips school, picks up his bestie, and then forces said bestie to commit an act of fraud so that they can get Ferris’ girlfriend out of school. The fraud includes borrowing his bestie’s dad’s Ferrari, which they proceed to take into downtown Chicago for an adventure.

The story of my vocation journey doesn’t include any of those things… sorry to disappoint. But it does include the importance of stopping, looking around, and thinking about the ways that you choose to spend your time.

I always knew that I was interested in communication and media. I have always loved visual media – especially television and movies. I’ve also always enjoyed speaking in front of others. I gave my first public speech when I was in 7th grade. I joined the speech team in 8th grade and even won a state championship when I was in 11th grade. When I started college I thought I was going to be the next Katie Couric. Shortly after starting my first class on media writing I realized that having to interview people for a living was a special kind of nightmare for me. The desire to be a journalist was born from passion, but it was the passion of an analyst, an observer, not the passion of a professional. I already had passion for my profession, but I had not yet noticed it.

In fact, I have only recently realized that my vocation has been a common thread throughout my life. When my kids were old enough to start Sunday School, I volunteered to teach my daughter’s Sunday School class. I did that for several years. Then, right before the pandemic, the person who had been the director of the Sunday School stepped down. No one else volunteered to step into the role, so I said I would do it. For awhile, I told myself that I did it because no one else would. But when I stopped to think about it, I realized that I very happily avoid volunteering for all sorts of things.

Continue reading “Look Around!”

We Invite YOU to join us on the Riverside Collaborative!

Written by Ellen Weber

Screenshot of google maps image of Ellen's street growing up with houses on each side of the road.
A google map screenshot of Ellen’s street growing up.

Growing up in my Highland Park neighborhood in Saint Paul, we knew our neighbors. We knew which grass to not ride our bike on, which house had the best candy, which yard had the best hide & seek spots. We knew who to go to if we wanted to learn how to knit, which driveway we could build our chalk city in, and who gave out the best Halloween candy (It was the nuns. They loved to give out full-sized candy bars.) It was a neighborhood where I felt alive, nourished, cared for and connected. Us kids, resourced each other. We welcomed each other with open arms and ran up and down the block until the street lights came on and we had to head home.  Continue reading “We Invite YOU to join us on the Riverside Collaborative!”

The Intersection of Passion and Purpose: A Vocation Story

Uncovering Vocation Series

Uncovering Vocation is a partnership between Campus Ministry and the Christensen Center for Vocation at Augsburg University. Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, a member of the Augsburg community is invited to share a component of their vocation story. It has become a way of building community, becoming reacquainted with one another, and celebrating the diversity of people and vocations that make Augsburg University the beautiful place it is.


This week’s Uncovering Vocation talk is given by Jennifer Butler, Augsburg University’s Director of Multicultural Life. Jennifer is a lifelong collector of stories, an advocate for inclusive excellence and equity, and an educator. For years, Jennifer has worked with students to help sharpen their ideas and advocacy skills. Jennifer recognizes that success as a student comes both inside and outside of the classroom and purposefully works to support underrepresented communities as they navigate higher education. Trained as a social scientist, Jennifer strongly believes in empowering through the framework of self-efficacy and hopes to instill in those around her a steadfast belief in their capability to succeed. She is committed to practicing humility, developing understanding, and promoting an inclusive campus. She received her Ph.D. in Asia Pacific Studies from National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan, where she focused on financial behaviors, financial literacy, and self-efficacy. Jennifer is passionate about the role of student services and the unique levels and layers of support students need.


Good morning, when I was emailed about potentially speaking in one of Jeremy’s vocation chapels, I thought there were so many unique and great stories to share here at Augsburg that the odds of me speaking anytime soon were quite slim.

Jokes on me, he asked in December and here we are in March!
I’ll be honest, when I started thinking about this chapel, I googled “what is vocation”

And while the results of my Google search didn’t really clarify things, I remembered from my time working at the College of Business and Analytics at Southern Illinois University this concept of “ikigai” that expresses

  1. Find what you’re good at.
  2. Find what you love to do.
  3. Find what you can get paid for.
  4. Find what the world needs.

So today, I’m going to hurry us through my journey of finding. Continue reading “The Intersection of Passion and Purpose: A Vocation Story”

One to Ones: Overcoming Barriers

Written by Geoffrey Gill

We wall ourselves to protect ourselves. Let’s take a look at a few things that have held me mentally and physically back from really connecting to others and being in community.

These Barriers or walls are things that keep me(us) from experiencing another person’s heart, soul, mind, and strength.

*The Heart (passions, hurts, motivations, dreams), 

*Soul ( personality, how they think, communicate, problem solve), 

*Mind (what they believe, worldview, values, sense of self, sense of humor, what they find sacred

*Strength (how they help, skills they bring to the table, the unique beauty they add to the world)


Chain link fence with cars on the highway in the backgroundKey Barriers to One to Ones:

When we do scary and uncomfortable things, our bodies and emotions may react in order to protect ourselves from what our bodies perceive as danger. 

We do this in many ways, here are some examples: 

  • Allowing nervousness or fear of rejection to prevent you from engaging with others can limit opportunities to form meaningful relationships. 
  • Taking the power of someone’s opinion out of the equation
  • Closed-Off Attitude: Not showing genuine interest or curiosity about others can create a barrier to forming deep connections.
  • Poor Nonverbal Engagement: Lack of eye contact and closed body language can signal disinterest, hindering the development of trust and rapport. (80%+ communication)
  • Negative Mindset: Approaching interactions with negativity or skepticism can make conversations strained and uninviting. **Being honest about something that was wrong- and acknowledging it. 
  • Anxiety and self protective responses that protect us from others (If I keep it cool then people won’t know what I really have going on and they cant use it against me)
  • Superficial Sympathy: Focusing only on surface-level sympathy instead of striving for deeper empathy and understanding can lead to shallow connections.
  • Ignoring Personal Boundaries: Pushing too hard for personal information or not respecting someone’s comfort zone can damage trust and discourage further interaction.
  • Overlooking Small Achievements: Not recognizing the importance of small steps in relationship building can lead to missed opportunities for growth and connection.
  • Unprepared Conversations: Entering into interactions without any thought or preparation can result in unproductive and awkward exchanges.
  • Self-Centered Approach: Focusing solely on what you can get out of a relationship, instead of also considering what you can contribute, can create imbalance and hinder genuine connection.
  • Lack of Presence: Being distracted or not fully engaged in conversations can make others feel undervalued and disrespected.

Continue reading “One to Ones: Overcoming Barriers”

One to Ones: Tool for Deep Conversations

 

Two alum smiling while hugging at the table

The Riverside Innovation Hub is a learning community made of local congregations who gather together to learn how to be and become public church in their neighborhood contexts. We convene congregations over two years together, shaped by learning and practicing the artforms of the Public Church Framework in each congregation’s unique context.

Accompaniment is the first artform of the Public Church Framework. It is the movement out into the neighborhood to hear the neighbors’ stories. In this movement, we learn to engage and listen to the neighbor for the neighbor’s sake. We’ve simplified and categorized accompaniment into four different practices that help us hear our neighbors’ stories. This blog post dives into the last layer of accompaniment, one to ones.

You can also read more about the other three layers – Understanding Demographic Data, Prayer Walk in the Neighborhood, and Engaging Listening Posts.

Tools for Deep Conversations

Written by Brenna Zeimet 

The desire to know and be known is at the core of our being as humans. Our compassion, our actions, and our hearts are driven by the relationships and stories of the people around us. When we understand others deeply and connect their experience to our own, we are compelled to love them, it is how we are wired.

Most of us navigate the world as the star of our own story, we spend our days running our errands, chasing our goals and interacting with the friends and family that complete our story’s cast of characters. Every single day we pass dozens of other humans, on the road, in our schools, in the grocery store, even on our own block. Like extras on a movie set, those people wander through the scenes that make up our days and for the most part, we are oblivious to their existence.

What if we got curious about the characters that pass us everyday? What if when we thought about the people who we share space with we saw human beings with stories and dreams and value. What if we began to investigate the depth and beauty and friendships that we are missing out on each day?

Any good story hinges on character development, we connect with the characters when we understand their essence. We want to know their backstory, their motivation, their strengths, their goals, how they think, what they love, what breaks their heart. Knowing your neighbor involves getting to know their essence, moving beyond surface conversation about the weather and sports, and having real, deep, curious conversations – conversations that result in knowing and being known. Continue reading “One to Ones: Tool for Deep Conversations”

Accompaniment – Listening Posts

The Riverside Innovation Hub is a learning community made of local congregations who gather together to learn how to be and become public church in their neighborhood contexts. We convene congregations over two years together, shaped by learning and practicing the artforms of the Public Church Framework in each congregation’s unique context.

Accompaniment is the first artform of the Public Church Framework. It is the movement out into the neighborhood to hear the neighbors’ stories. In this movement, we learn to engage and listen to the neighbor for the neighbor’s sake. We’ve simplified and categorized accompaniment into four different practices that help us hear our neighbors’ stories. This blog post dives into the third layer accompaniment, engaging listening posts. 

You can also read more about the other three layers – Understanding Demographic Data and Prayer Walks in the Neighborhood


Listening Posts

Written by Kristina Fruge

Listening posts might just be my favorite element of accompaniment. As someone who is an introvert at heart, but who also prefers to spend the energy I do have on relationships, listening posts offer a soft landing for accompaniment to begin. Listening posts provide an invitation to be fully present and curious about new surroundings while also creating the potential of connections with neighbors in big and small ways. 

A listening post is the term we use to describe the locations that people naturally convene or gather in a neighborhood. This might include the local coffee shop, the ball fields during the summer, a local YMCA, neighborhood association meetings, the local community garden, the town grocery store, the dog park, or even a neighborhood gas station. Your particular context likely has other types of listening posts not on this list, but the common thread is that they function as a sort of hub for people who live, work, worship, pass through or play in that neighborhood to gather and connect. AND, they are great places for listening. Listening posts blend together opportunities for noticing desolation and consolation, as we do in the prayer walks, but also can open doors for one-to-one conversations with neighbors. 

Here is some advice to help you explore the listening posts in your neighborhood. Here is a pdf version of the listening post information that you can print out to share! 

Continue reading “Accompaniment – Listening Posts”

Apply Now! Invite Your Youth to Join Us at The Confluence, June 23rd-28th, 2024

Mentors and Confluence staff at the end of the week celebration

Apply Now! Invite your youth to join us at The Confluence, June 23rd-28th, 2024

Written by Gretchen Roeck

Do you know a high school student who is trying to figure out who they are and what kind of life they want to live? Invite them to attend The Confluence

The Confluence at Augsburg University is a week where high schoolers are invited to explore their vocation — that space where their personal story, God’s story and the world’s story converge. 

Invite the youth you know to our weeklong, on-campus, summer program for high school students who have completed 9th-12th grades. 

Students will learn through:

– vocational discernment

– meaningful peer relationships  

– experiential learning with local leaders and organizations in the TwinCities

– personal reflection and discernment

– small group conversation led by current Augsburg student mentors

– spiritual practices and daily worship

– theological inquiry and study with Augsburg professor, Dr. Jeremy Myers. 

The group at the overlook over the Mississippi River.We hope to reach curious youth who want to live purposefully in relationship with their neighbors, orientated to God’s vision of a just and sustainable world for all. Questions and doubts are welcome. 

Cost: $400/participant. Participants are responsible for transportation to and from Augsburg University. 

Apply now at: https://www.augsburg.edu/confluence/join-us-this-summer/

Application Deadline: May 15th

Augsburg Scholarship Opportunity:  Students who attend The Confluence and decide to attend Augsburg University as a full-time student will receive a minimum of $20,000 applied to their financial aid package for up to four years.

 

Questions? 

Please contact Gretchen Roeck, Program Director

roeck@augsburg.edu

612-330-1412

augsburg.edu/confluence