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Experience & Study Religion at Augsburg

An Augsburg education is “guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church.” We believe relationships are so important for building a community where all students can practice their faith. That is why we are committed to connecting with students even before they come to campus. Therefore, we invite faculty, staff, students, alumni, and partners to share this prospective student event with high school students interested in attending Augsburg.

We are hosting an event that will allow students the opportunity to learn what studying and practicing your faith will look like as a student at Augsburg. This is your chance to hear from our Religion department, the Christensen Center for Vocation, Augsburg Campus Ministry, and so much more! All within 90 minutes and from the comfort of your own home.

Check out the Admissions Virtual Events page and sign up for the Tuesday, March 2nd event to learn more about experiencing and studying religion at Augsburg! We can’t wait for you to join us.


Senior Kali Kadelbach Preaches in Chapel About Her Call to Ministry

We have so much to be grateful for, including students and celebrating their journey at Augsburg University. Senior Theology and Public Leadership major, Kali Kadelbach, preached in chapel on Thursday, November 19th about her journey and call to ministry. Kali says, “I am called into ministry to proclaim God’s call in the world through youth ministry and creation care.” Kali is graduating in December 2020, discerning a call to attend seminary, and currently living out her vocation through youth ministry and eco-theology as the Director of Youth and Families at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Princeton, Minnesota.

Watch Kali’s chapel talk here on the Augsburg University Campus Ministry YouTube Channel.

Augsburg & LSTC Partner for 5 Year Ministry Pathway

The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) and Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minn., are partnering on a five-year BA/MDiv degree called the Public Church Scholars. Students in this program will complete two degrees in five years: a bachelor of arts in Theology and Public Leadership from Augsburg and a master of divinity from LSTC. This pilot program is supported by a grant focused on increasing the opportunities for students to study pastoral leadership in the church.

Amber Kalina, an Augsburg 2016 Youth & Family Ministry graduate, is now an MDiv student at LSTC in her pastoral internship year. She says that “both Augsburg and LSTC form leaders who make a difference inside and outside the walls of the church by being deeply rooted in their communities. From attending Augsburg as an undergrad and LSTC as a graduate student, I feel that I have been equipped for ministry that is deeply relational, grounded in the gospel, and geared toward making a difference in the lives of people and the world God made.”

Do you know a young person called to ministry? If so, nominate them today!

Professor Lori Brandt Hale Preaches – It Is All Too Hard

Professor Lori Brandt Hale is the Chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Augsburg University. She teaches the Religion Keystone class for graduating seniors, works with Augsburg Christensen Scholars, and is a writer and author including the 2020 publication of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Theology, and Political Resistance (Faith and Politics: Political Theology in a New Key).

Preaching this week in chapel are some of the Augsburg Religion Faculty. The weekly schedule on the Campus Ministry website and we encourage you to follow the Augsburg Campus Ministry YouTube channel for chapel services every week.

On Tuesday, Professor Lori Brandt Hale preached using the text from Micah 6:8 and Romans 12:4-8, focusing on the idea that right now in the world, “It Is All Too Hard.” Lori says, “we are living at a time that requires us to pay attention, all the time. And it is full of messes. This is such an understatement, where do we even start?” There is a global pandemic, climate devastation, racial injustice, systemic racism, and police brutality to name just a few of the things going on in the world.

She also asked, in the midst of all of these things, “is there hope?” While many students come to mind, the current Religion and TPL seniors in the Religion Keystone class are creating projects and reading books in search of their next faithful step. How is God is calling them to respond to the world and their neighbor? Given the vocational discernment and theological reflection our students are engaging in, we can confidently say, yes there is hope!

Do you know a young person interested in studying religion, going into professional ministry, or becoming a pastor? Email Adrienne Kuchler Eldridge at to talk more about ministry programs and how God might be calling you to study at Augsburg! #WeAreCalled #AugsburgUniversity #AuggiePride

Alumni Spotlight – Jon Bates ’16

Jon Bates is a 2016 Augsburg University graduate with a BA in Youth and Family Ministry. He is currently working as the Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Roseville, MN.

Growing up my family went to a Jon Bates '16Presbyterian church on Sunday mornings, we ate lumpia and pancit at Thanksgiving, and we sang karaoke when we had guests over. So I always knew that having a Filipino mother made me a little bit different compared to my peers. But honestly, I sometimes wonder what actually made me different. Was it being Filipino? Was it my height? Was it having a call to ministry? Or was it something else? I decided to push those questions to the side and I began college with plans to become a math teacher.

It wasn’t until my second year of college when a friend asked me to join them for a campus tour at Augsburg University. I was expecting a t-shirt. I ended up having my life plan upended. In fact, it was during that campus tour that I explored a vibrant neighborhood of Minneapolis for the first time. I fell in love with the campus. Pursuing ministry made more sense. It was then that I found a new home.

I transferred to Augsburg for the Youth and Family Ministry as a third-year college student. Through my time at Augsburg, I learned how much I actually did not know about the Bible, I understood how important it is to incorporate diverse voices in the Church, and I gained a stronger awareness of the significance and harms of the Christian Church when I studied abroad in El Salvador. All in all, it was through my experience at Augsburg that I learned more about myself, I leaned into my leadership skills, my faith deepened, and I owned my story more. It was also through Augsburg, that I learned that my gifts are affirmed, my voice carries weight, and that ultimately I have a home in youth ministry.

“…it was through my experience at Augsburg that I learned more about myself, I leaned into my leadership skills, my faith deepened, and I owned my story more.”

Jon and Youth GroupI would have never thought that I would have been working in a Lutheran church mere minutes away from my childhood home.  As a queer and mixed Filipino-American youth ministry leader in the ELCA, it can sometimes feel daunting to have a leadership role at times. But like Augsburg made me remember, there is always a place for me. It is my hope, that I can extend that invitation to the young people of the church today.  An invitation that welcomes their whole bodies, their questions, and their differences.

If you know a student who is discerning a call to ministry, please invite them to check out the ministry degree opportunities at Augsburg University: Theology & Public Leadership undergraduate degree or the Public Church Scholars 5 year BA/MDiv degree pathway.

New 5 Year BA/MDiv Program

Do you know a student called to be a pastor? Then we have the program for you!

After a year of development, listening, and learning, we are relaunching the Public Church Scholars degree pathway. With full institutional leadership support, on behalf of both presidents and leadership staff, we are excited to announce a partnership between Augsburg University and Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) for the pilot degree pathway called Public Church Scholars (PCS). In this 5 year pathway students earn a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Public Leadership (TPL) from Augsburg University and a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

This pilot program is supported by a grant focused on increasing the opportunities for students to study pastoral leadership in the church. We are committed to offering a pathway to young leaders called to ministry who may not otherwise have access to this kind of higher educational opportunity, specifically we are committed to increasing access for minoritized students. We believe that the shared values of our institutions support this pathway.

We are focused on creating a pathway that is grounded in theological education for pastoral leadership. It is a gift that both institutions already have degree programs focused on developing leaders who are committed to serving the public church for the common good. In the coming weeks, you will read stories from Augsburg and LSTC graduates who will share their call story, you will learn about each of the four tracks in the PCS pathway, and find out more about candidacy for PCS students. Check back for more information!

Do you know an emerging young leader who is discerning a call to ministry?

Getting Ready for Fall Semester!

Moodle Grid for a 16-Week Semester, with Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” as background.
Moodle Grid for a 16-Week Semester, with Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” as background.

We are eager to meet and welcome you this fall! By “we” we mean the 18 faculty who are scheduled to teach RLN (Religion) courses in the upcoming term. By “you” we mean the 600+ new and returning students signed up in one or more RLN courses this fall.

Department members are currently hard at work getting your course Moodle sites set-up for the various learning modalities being offered: face-to-face, hybrid, or fully online.

Watch this space for posts featuring individual faculty and students. Also, watch this space for information announcing our partnership with Augsburg’s Philosophy Department!

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

Under normal circumstances, the members of the department gather at commencement to celebrate graduation. Since 2020 is not “normal circumstances,” we tried our hand at something our colleagues in other departments had tried their hand at: a video.

To make the video, members of the department (1) gathered together on ZOOM, (2) reviewed the script that our esteemed department chair had prepared, and (3) clicked record.

Did you know that putting together a slick-looking “Congratulations” video is not as easy as 1-2-3?

Anyway, here’s the result, complete with bloopers, for all to see:

Meet Our New RLN Alum, Sarah Hanson


Sarah HansonMeet Sarah Hanson, class of 2020

Sarah joins a talented group of new Augsburg University alumni with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Political Science.

Throughout her time on campus, Sarah was involved in Student Ministries and the Augsburg Choir and held jobs in the Admissions Office, Religion Department, Division for Mission and Identity, and the tutoring program. Her favorite memory from her time at Augsburg was being invited to join an Interfaith trip to Palestine in her junior year. She loved every religion class she ever took, but especially liked Contemporary Theology with Professor Mary Lowe. She would like to thank all her professors, advisors, and mentors for all of their guidance throughout her time at Augsburg. #auggiepride

Sarah will be attending Luther Seminary starting in June 2020, as a part of an accelerated Master of Divinity (MDiv) cohort. She hopes to work towards ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). #WeAreCalled

Learn more about our Religion Degree (major or minor).

Meet Our Newest TPL Alum, Matt Svestka

Matt SvestkaMeet Matt Svestka, class of 2020

Matt came to Augsburg with the goal of completing a degree in youth ministry and four years later that’s exactly what he’s taking with him. But in truth, he says it is so much more than that.

Matt says about his experience that he is leaving with a diverse experience of people, both through class and through various interactions on campus. Matt graduated with honors and is a fine arts scholar. He says, “I’m leaving with knowledge gifted to me from some incredible professors. These past four years I have been impacted by people who have truly seen the best in me, and a God who knows my capabilities to be a leader in this new and strange world. Even though this is not the end of my education, what I have learned here has been key in my development as a minister.” #WeAreCalled

Matt says that Augsburg is an established community of grace and an understanding of vocation that allows me to shape and create my own. “This is an opportunity that only this small little private school in the Cedar-Riverside community could give me.”

We are so proud of Matt and look forward to celebrating him as an Auggie Alumni! #auggiepride

Learn more about our degree in Theology and Public Leadership.

Learn more about our new BA/ MDiv Public Church Scholars program.