Christian Union Faculty Transitions to Online Ministry During Pandemic
by tom campisi, managing editor
In the blink of an eye, the collegiate academic year was relegated to online courses due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March. No campus life. No spring sports or activities. No May commencement.
In the midst of the chaos, Christian Union Universities transitioned to an online ministry—Bible courses, Leadership Lecture Series, and mentoring sessions were hosted online via Zoom and other portals. Ministry Fellows were there to provide continuity by shepherding students and offering counsel to those grieving over what was lost.
Seniors Help Launch Program for Homeless
by anne kerhoulas, staff writer
Becoming a follower of Christ during college was not part of the plan. But for Penn senior Steffen Cornwell, finding community in Christian Union Martas reoriented his vision for his future. Part of the prestigious Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology,Cornwell has taken a newfound interest in social entrepreneurship and spearheaded a program that allows individuals experiencing homelessness to store important personal identification documents in a secure website.
May 16, 2020Christian Union Martus, Christian Union's ministry at Penn hosted a virtual reunion on May 16, 2020 at 4:00 PM EST.
Christian Union Martus invited participants from all classes, all denominations, and all Christian ministries to this annual event. Participants had the opportunity to connect with other Christian alumni, visit with current students, and meet the Christian Union ministry faculty and staff.
Thanks for joining us for a time to connect and encourage one another during this unique time in our nation's history.
Students Warm Locust Walk with Cider Outreach
by eileen scott, contributing writer
Christian Union at the University of Pennsylvania put “campus kindness” into action this fall by giving away hot cider to students on their way to class on Locust Walk, a centrally located pathway. There were no strings attached to receive the hot beverage. Yet, if students chose to sip their drink and discuss faith, leaders were there to engage. The outreach was part of the ministry’s on-going campus kindness effort, which also includes book giveaways and welcoming bags for freshmen.
Ministry Leaders Seek to Foster Hope, Community
By Catherine Elvy, Staff Writer
In the wake of the suicide of Gregory Eells, the University of Pennsylvania’s Executive Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, local campus ministry leaders pledged to actively support students battling depression.
Christians with ties to Penn also expressed a desire to help foster a better sense of community and to emulate the hope of Christ to their collegiate peers.
“Community is a big help. Welcoming people in and being especially attentive to those who are struggling is important,” said Patrick Travers, a director with the Penn Catholic Newman Community (newman.upenn.edu). In light of eternal matters, “the good news of the Gospel and the new life that Christ invites us to is quite different from the ‘successful life’ that Penn preaches.”
Penn for Jesus Hosts Edifying Event
By Avery Johnston, Penn ’23
Colossians 3:16 proclaims the fullness of joy and wisdom that can be gleaned from worshiping with other followers of the Lord: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (ESV)
The Scriptures make it clear how worship and fellowship will be used for building up one another. The All-Campus Worship Night at the University of Pennsylvania on September 28, 2019, certainly worked to rejuvenate the local community of Christians. The event, held at beautiful Christ Community Church, was hosted by Penn for Jesus, an organization with a mission of connecting and unifying all Christians on campus, irrespective of denomination, participation in any specific on-campus ministry, and church background.
Summer Trip Is a Blessing for StudentsWinston Churchill once called the East African nation of Uganda a fairytale, saying, “You climb up a railway instead of a beanstalk, and at the end there is a wonderful new world.” However, with the insurgence of the despotic regime of Idi Amin in the 1970s, the fairytale turned into a nightmare, and decades later, the region is still recovering from the aftermath of war and the devastation of HIV/AIDS.
Penn Students Volunteer at Emmanuel Ministry
By Emily Solomon, Penn ’22
Most students cherish Saturday mornings as a precious time to sleep in. However, for some underclassmen at Penn, it’s a wonderful time to venture into Center City to prepare and serve meals for the Emmanuel Ministry at Liberti Church Center City.
Every week, Liberti Church opens its doors for volunteers to serve over 100 individuals who are experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. On a recent Saturday, some Penn students arrived at Liberti Church and were immediately greeted by head chef Matt Soldano, who gave marching orders. The instructions to “divide and conquer” ensures that the meal is ready to be served by noon when the dining hall is filled with guests. At about 11:30 a.m., volunteers from various churches and organizations gather to pray over the meal, make any urgent announcements, and decide who will prep plates and who will wait tables.
Chef Matt Solano (center) and volunteers in the kitchen at Emmanuel Ministry
Dierkes ’20 Is a Leader with Newman Center
By Lou Baldwin
The following article originally appeared at www.CatholicPhilly.com. Reprinted with permission.
University of Pennsylvania student Theresa Dierkes, center, received the John and Harriet Stanton Award at the annual dinner hosted by the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia.
There are almost 22,000 students at the University of Pennsylvania, of which more than 10,000 are undergrads. The university’s pro-life group, Quakers for Life, formerly Penn for Life, has maybe 15-20 core active members, according to a group leader, Theresa Dierkes, a senior majoring in nursing.
If that can be somewhat like John the Baptist, a voice crying out in the wilderness, Dierkes could take comfort in being one of three honorees at the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia’s annual Stand Up For Life Dinner last winter.
There were more than 1,200 committed pro-lifers in attendance. Her award was the John and Harriet Stanton Award, named for the Pro-Life Union pioneers.
Ministry Director Mentors Penn Football Players
by catherine elvy, staff writer
Since fall 2017, Christian Union Ministry Director Tucker Else has been steadily gaining ground in his outreach to Quaker athletes, especially to members of the football team. Given their hectic training and academic schedules, Else offers flexible discipleship sessions to players.
“Time is such a commodity,” said Else. “It’s pretty easy for these guys to live and sleep football and academics.”
Your Gift by June 30 Will Share Gospel and Change LivesPlease consider a special gift to Christian Union by June 30 to support the next Freshman Campaign. The Class of 2023 will be here before we know it!
The ministry will connect with freshmen before they even set foot on campus to welcome and warmly invite them into biblical studies, Christian community, and spiritual and leadership growth.
Your gift helps set lives on a new course!
Christian Union Ministry Director
University of pennsylvania
One of the most popular games of the 1980s was Trivial Pursuit, a trivia game that people found either wildly entertaining or inexpressibly dull. My family would often gather around the table and play — yes, we did have occasional Normal Rockwell moments — and while my Mom would be hoping for Entertainment or Literature categories to come up, my brothers and I would bank on Sports, and little else.
The questions were sometimes manageable, but oftentimes nearly impossible: “What was the name of the Douglas family’s dog on My Three Sons?” Which would inevitably be answered with “Chip,” as he was really the only Son (let alone dog) that could be remembered from the show.
What was always most vexing to me were the Sports questions that had absolutely nothing to do with sports: “What do Las Vegas blackjack dealers stand on?” First of all, who cares?
Q and A with Lisa Schultz
Lisa Schultz is the Chief of Staff for United States Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black. She directs all of Chaplain Black’s programs and outreach to Senators, their families, and hundreds of Senate staff. Schultz has spent 15 years overseeing Capitol Hill-focused ministries, first as Director of Outreach for the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship and the last 11 years for the Senate Chaplain. Prior to her time serving on Capitol Hill, she lived as a missionary in Schladming, Austria, for seven years under the umbrella of Torchbearers International.
At Christian Union’s Nexus Student Conference in February, Schultz was a member of the law and government panel during the vocational breakout sessions.
Susan Stover and Arthur Stella
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
- 2 Corinthians 9:10
Early in Susan Stover’s life, her parents, Bob and Joan Stover, sowed the seeds of generosity. “My parents’ faith journey had a tremendous impact on me,” Susan noted.
“My father became a Christian as a young man after serving in the Navy during World War II. His life reflected his personal belief that he needed to use his talents and resources in the Lord’s service.” After the war, Bob Stover began a temporary employment agency in San Francisco.
Nexus Attendees Challenged to Be Salt and Light in Marketplace
by tom campisi, managing editor
Have the courage to say yes—even when you are unsure of where it may lead.
That was one word of advice given to students by television and film producer D.T. Slouffman during the media and communications vocational panel at Christian Union’s Nexus Conference in February. The theme of the conference was “Courageous in the Ways of the Lord.”
Nexus Conference Inspires Students to Put Faith into Action
by catherine elvy, staff writer
The devotion and courage of King Jehoshaphat was remarkable. Although he had his flaws, the ancient leader worshipped God, readily obeyed spiritual commands, and boldly compelled the nation of Judah to seek the Lord.
Such practices dovetail with some of the key missions of Christian Union, a leadership development organization that encourages college students to honor the Lord, step out in faith, and change the world.
In February, Christian Union Founder and Chief Executive Officer Matt Bennett kicked off the ministry’s 2019 Nexus Conference by asking students to consider the dedication and leadership of Jehoshaphat, a descendent of King David.
Students Glorify God in Off-Campus Community
By Cassandra Jobman, Penn ’21
There are certainly plenty of groups of college men who choose to live together. But the men of the “ManS1on” at the 20 South 39th Street apartments in Philadelphia are not bonded by a love of FIFA or beer, or even a major or club they have in common. They are bonded by a commitment to serve God in community—and by a constitution.
Members of Penn’s ManS1on are committed to live in community, serve one another, and challenge each other to faithfully follow Christ.
In 2010, six University of Pennsylvania students involved with Penn Cru founded an off-campus community specifically for Christian men. Since then, the group has doubled in size and now includes Penn students who are involved in various ministries on campus and churches.
Croston ’81 Is a National Director for Lifeway Resources
By Catherine Elvy, Staff Writer
University of Pennsylvania alumnus is using his dynamic ministerial skills to help pastors thrive as they meet the needs of African-American congregants.
Mark Croston ’81 serves as national director for Black and Western Church Partnerships of LifeWay Christian Resources. The Tennessee-based organization ranks among the world’s top Christian resource providers, though it recently announced plans to shift from brick and mortar stores to online operations. LifeWay, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, continues to stock major retailers with inspirational materials.'
In 2013, Croston left a lengthy pastoral career to join the LifeWay team, where he heads efforts to support and resource African-American churches.
Loo ’18 Enjoys Working for Philanthropic Foundation
by tom campisi, managing editor
A student at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Stephanie Loo was ideally positioned for a career on Wall Street. A 2017 summer internship with Goldman Sachs led to the promise of a job offer with the prestigious financial firm post-graduation.
In addition to valuable field experience, the summer internship in New York also provided Loo ’18 with a networking opportunity that would alter her vocational path. Loo was involved in the Goldman Sachs Fellowship, which met weekly to read the Bible and Christian books, such as Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods. The “Just Show Up” concept, which requires no prior reading or homework, was introduced to the Goldman Sachs Fellowship by The Grace and Mercy Foundation, a private family foundation that makes investments through grants and hosts Public Reading of Scripture and Just Show Up events on a weekly basis.
Thankful for Son's Engagement with Christian Union"My wife, Miryan, and I met at Penn (many more years ago than either of us would care to admit). Miryan found the Lord there. Our oldest, Matthew, is a sophomore transfer (from Rice) who just finished his first semester as a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics major at Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences.
When he left our home in Los Angeles last year and headed to school, one of our most fervent prayers for Matthew was that he might find a committed community of faith, willing and able to confirm, strengthen, and encourage him in his walk.