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You are invited: “From Nowhere to Now Here” Christensen Symposium 2022

Jeremy Myers in front of a group of people in the chapel teaching. FROM NOWHERE TO NOW HERE

Jeremy Myers, PhD, Bernhard M. Christensen Professor of Religion and Vocation, Augsburg University

Join us for this year’s Christensen Symposium where we will dig deeper into the topics of vocation and public church.

Thursday, September 22
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Foss Center, Hoversten Chapel

The pandemic, rampant racism, unfettered injustices, environmental degradation, inflation – these are a few sources of the overwhelming sense of despair in our lives. We are anxious about our future. We desperately seek meaning, purpose, justice, and the common good but they seem to be nowhere in sight. Nowhere. But there is hope and potential for change if we can focus on the here and now. All we are promised is the here and now, and it is where we are called to live our lives. Now. Here.

Jeremy Myers is the Bernhard M. Christensen Professor of Religion and Vocation and the Executive Director of the Christensen Center for Vocation at Augsburg University. Myers earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota and his master’s and PhD from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He researches, writes, teaches, and organizes around the topics of vocation and public church. In addition to many articles and chapters, he is the author of Liberating Youth from Adolescence published by Fortress Press and is also a sought-after speaker. He has secured millions of dollars in grants to support the work of the Christensen Center for Vocation at Augsburg.

A Month for Reconnection: It’s Amanda and Geoffrey!

While summers can be hectic, they also can be a time to feel more grounded and to reconnect to our bodies and the earth. If we are quiet and listen, we can hear our bodies calling us to connect with the earth, which in turn is calling us back to each other. It can be a time to push back on the myth that we need to be always producing. Always checking the tasks of the list and making “progress”. 

With more people out and about rather than nestled inside, we are given the opportunity to meet those around us with our presence in new ways. This month we will be inviting you to reconnect in a variety of ways, with yourself, with your neighbor, with our initiatives, and even our CCV Staff! We have some recent changes with two of our staff members now in new roles and we would love for you to celebrate them with us! 

In case you haven’t met these two lovely individuals, it is a pleasure to introduce you to two amazing humans who are on our CCV staff. Amanda Vetsch and Geoffrey Gill. 

If you have the chance, please send them a congratulations via email or the next chance you see them!

Continue reading “A Month for Reconnection: It’s Amanda and Geoffrey!”

“Today” by Kristina Frugé

I was asked to write a blog post this week for the Riverside Innovation Hub that would introduce a series we are calling “Front Porch Stories.” This series will highlight stories from neighborhoods near and far where congregations are creating, cultivating or entering into front porch places where neighbors meet neighbors. Places where curiosity can be nurtured, stories can be shared, and simple connections can spark new relationships. Places where new life and new hope might have some room to take root.  

However, I’m struggling to have imagination for new life and hope today. Instead, death and hopelessness are crowding my heart and my mind, just as they are saturating our communities near and far – our schools, our corner grocery stores, our city blocks… 

A tree with a small number of leaves on the edge of a cliff by the water. The tree has branches like an L with one toward the sky and one branch out toward the water. In the background is a dark forest and fog.Today, as I write, marks the 2 year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder in the neighborhood of Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis, MN. His sacred life – like countless black and brown bodies before and after him – senselessly taken by uninhibited police violence.

Today, as I write, dozens of parents in the neighborhood of Uvalde, Texas have woken up to the first morning of the rest of their lives without their children. Young, beautiful, holy lives whose bodies and futures were destroyed with bullets and brutality.

Today, as I write, families and loved ones in Buffalo, New York prepare to bury their beloved elders, family members and friends. Ten cherished human beings who were targeted, terrorized and massacred by a young man embodying the violent evil lies of white supremacy ideology. 

 

Today, my heart fears that the front porches are too few and that their power to overcome the constant waves of violence and grief are insufficient. 

 

We talk about sowing seeds of love, connection, justice, mercy, and hope. Yet the seeds of violence, evil, hatred and fear have been nurtured far too well for far too long in our places. The two young 18 year old men and their evil ambitious destruction, reflect an ugly truth about the state of our humanity today. The systems tasked with stewarding our public safety reveal the deep roots of a harmful belief that some lives don’t matter. The seeds we have sown are breeding unimaginable violence and yet it’s completely imaginable because of how regularly it visits us. 

Continue reading ““Today” by Kristina Frugé”

Augsburg Youth Theology Institute: A Place for Curiosity in the Public Square

In the Christensen Center for Vocation, our staff team equips and accompanies students, staff, faculty, and ministry leaders as they engage in place-based vocational discernment in the public square for the common good. One of the initiatives that lives this mission is the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute (AYTI). 

THE BEGINNING…

The first version of what is known now as AYTI, began in 2009 when Augsburg University received its first Youth Theology Network grant from the Lilly Endowment. With over 100 schools across the country leading theological education and vocational discernment experiences for high school students, we are grateful to hold this history of commitment to vocational discernment with young people. 

TODAY…

And today, the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute (AYTI) is an annual summer program for high school students (9th-12th grades). This experience aims to offer young leaders an opportunity for place-based vocational discernment around a theological and leadership focused theme. Students who attend AYTI take their questions and curiosity to the public square to learn, listen, pray, and play on the Augsburg campus, in the neighborhood, and in the city. Participants engage in daily reflection with a theologian, community based learning, small group relationship building, and worship. This commitment to wonder about how God is calling us to the common good for the sake of the world, is the reason why high school students leave AYTI inspired to be God’s hands and feet in the world. 

THE INSTITUTE…

On the ground, AYTI is a place where staff and college mentors work diligently to create an inclusive and welcoming space for high school students to get really curious about all their big questions about God. And these days, and especially in these last few pandemic filled years, our young people have had a lot of big questions about God, the church and our call to be neighbor, racial injustice and how they should respond, mental health needs and the struggle to connect, a sense that they don’t belong, death and dying, health and living.  Continue reading “Augsburg Youth Theology Institute: A Place for Curiosity in the Public Square”

Jim Wallis visit on September 20, 2016

This year’s Bernhard Christensen Symposium on September 20 features three opportunities to engage with Jim Wallis, a bestselling author, public theologian, and social activist.

Wallis-MugWallis is president and founder of Sojourners, a nonprofit, faith-based organization whose mission statement calls for “putting faith into action for social justice.” He has written for major newspapers and authors regular columns for Huffington Post and TIME.com. Wallis teaches at Georgetown University and has taught at Harvard University. He served on President Obama’s first White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.


Christensen Symposium Convocation Address: The Bridge to a New America with Jim Wallis (poster PDF)
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center
Listen to the 2016 Convocation Address

 


Community Panel- The Bridge Toward More Just Communities: What Needs to Happen
4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. in Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center.
The panel will be moderated by former ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson, and will include:
Pastor Kelly Chatman, Redeemer Lutheran Church, North Minneapolis
Nora Barr: Augsburg Alumna
Devin Wiggs: Augsburg Student
Fardosa Hassan: Muslim Student Advisor to Campus Ministry
Plus, a response from Jim Wallis.

 


Kick-off address for North Minneapolis Forum on Faith and Race
8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1800 Glenwood Ave, Minneapolis, MN  55405
Note: The evening address is preceded by live entertainment from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

 

 

Fall Book Group – America’s Original Sin

CCV Fall Book Group – America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America

UPDATE: The book group is now full, and there are no more free books available.

In connection to the September 20 Bernhard M. Christensen Symposium, faculty and staff are invited to participate in a book group discussion of America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis. The group will be co-led by Martha E. Stortz, Bernhard M. Christensen Professor of Religion and Vocation, and David Hamilton, Director of Operations and Global Inclusion, CGEE.

The Book Group will meet for brown bag lunch discussion in the Riverside Room from 11:30am-12:30pm on Sept. 7 and Sept. 28.

To receive a free copy of the book, please be sure the dates work for your schedule. Sign up by emailing ccv@augsburg.edu. Once registered, you may pick up the book in Oren Gateway 106.

Advance Screening – Morgan Freeman’s Story of God

Please join us Wednesday, March 30 from 7pm-8:30pm.

In addition to viewing one episode of the upcoming National Geographic series, there will be a panel discussion featuring Augsburg leaders of different faith traditions: Dr. Phil Quanbeck II, Dr. Maheen Zaman, and Julian Kritz (Interfaith Scholar). The panel will be moderated by Rev. Mark Hanson, the new executive director of the Christensen Center for Vocation.

Event Schedule:
6:30 P.M. Doors Open
7:00 P.M. Screening Starts
8:00 P.M. Interfaith Panel Discussion with Dr. Phil Quanbeck II, Dr. Maheen Zaman, and Julian Kritz
8:30 P.M. Event Concludes with Light Refreshments in the Foss Atrium

The event is free and open to the public. As space is limited, please register online ahead of time to ensure a spot. Seating is first come, first-served.

Continue reading “Advance Screening – Morgan Freeman’s Story of God”

Called to Scholarship with Joan Kunz

On October 19, join the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the Christensen Center for Vocation (CCV) for a time of reflection and recognition of professor Joan Kunz‘s call to scholarship.

The Seasons of a Scholar’s Calling: Reflections at Mid-Career

Monday, October 19
3:45 to 5pm
Marshall Room

Refreshments will be served.

2015 Urban VBS

On June 9-10, over 40 middle school and high school youth from Lutheran congregations in Minneapolis will be at Augsburg to explore faith, community, and vocation. This Collaborative Urban Vacation Bible School also provides meaningful college exposure to the diverse group of students, and utilizes a leadership track for high school students.

 

The theme for the 2015 Collaborative Urban VBS is “Walk the Neighborhood.” Drawing from both John 1 and Colossians 1 (texts below), we understand that God took on human form in Jesus and walked the neighborhood. As disciples of God, and out of abundant gratitude for God’s gifts of love, grace, and forgiveness, we also walk our neighborhoods. During this year’s VBS at Augsburg College, young people will walk the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, work to identify their roles as being the visible image of an invisible God, and have fun participating in interactive workshops, games, and worship experiences!

Two specific Bible passages will help guide the “Walk the Neighborhood” theme. The bolded passages are added for extra emphasis. Both passages are taken from “The Message” translation of the bible.

John 1: 1-2, 14

“The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one. The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own yes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”

Colossians 1: 15-21

“We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes tot he church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. He was supreme in the beginning and— leading the resurrection parade— he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe— people and things, animals and atoms— get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured from the cross. You yourselves are a case study of what he does.”

2015 Vocation of a Lutheran College Pre-Conference

Women’s Way of Leading: Exploring the Call to Lead

Monday, July 20, 12pm – 5pm at Augsburg College

Led by Kathi Tunheim (Gustavus Adolphus College) and Susan Hasseler (Augustana University, Sioux Falls, SD)

As we look forward to significant turnover in executive leadership in higher education in the next few years, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen gender diversity in leadership in Lutheran colleges and universities. Considering the ways in which we can support women’s success in higher education leadership at all levels, from department and division heads to the presidency, is one of our essential tasks as we explore the vocation of a Lutheran college.

The objective of this VOALC 2015 pre-conference session is to promote women’s leadership development at ELCA colleges and universities.  In this session the participants will:

  •     Explore state-of-the-art leadership development strategies for women in higher education.
  •     Engage with current ELCA women in leadership, including a president, vice-president, and a division leader, in an interactive panel discussion.
  •     Create an individual development plan for your own career.

Schedule 
12:00-1:30pm  Lunch Introductions.  (Table Conversations)
1:30-2:15 pm   Recent Research on Women in Leadership in higher education (Short presentation)
2:15-2:30 p.m.  Break
2:30-3:30 p.m.  ELCA Women Leader Panel including question and answer session
3:30-4:15 p.m.   Professional Development plan writing time for the participants; discuss in small groups
4:30 p.m.          Closing and adjourn
4:30-5:00pm      Break

Pre-conference registration

Registration for ELCA faculty and staff for the VOALC Pre-Conference is handled by the ELCA Churchwide Office. Questions about registration may be directed to Vivian Chen, 612-330-1334 or voalc@augsburg.edu
Vocation of a Lutheran College Conference information