This story first appeared in the fall 2019 issue of the Arbor Light, the official magazine of Concordia University Ann Arbor.

The 2019–20 academic year is underway, guided by the theme “Embrace(d).”

This year’s theme is based on Luke 15:20, the parable of the prodigal son, where Jesus tells of a sinful son who returns home to his father. While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, ran and embraced him.

Together with Campus Pastor Randy Duncan, seven students made up what Rev. Duncan called his “theme team.” The team met throughout the spring 2019 semester to discuss various chapters, verses, or parables that could be suitable for the upcoming theme.

In between meetings, the team prayed about their choices. When they came back together, they talked about what they felt would tie their ideas together the best.

“We thought that having just the single word ‘Embrace(d)’ helps to create a powerful reminder that it all comes back to the fact that we are so loved by God,” shared Alex Elliott (’22), a member of the theme team.

Elliott shared that after a few meetings they narrowed their top choices down to four. The group went their separate ways again and prayed about the top options.

“When we all came back together, we all had chosen the same one! Now that’s God,” said Elliott.

The theme team chose “Embrace(d)” not only because it is a daily reminder of how our God embraces us and loves us, but it’s also a reminder to embrace one another and be a powerful witness of His love.

The fall 2019 Arbor Light hit mailboxes the beginning of October. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, call 734-995-7317 or send us an email.

— This story is written by Allie Milot, social media manager for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 734-995-7403.

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