My name is James Fields and it is with great joy and humility that I bring you greetings as Christian Union’s Interim Ministry Director at Princeton University. If my name sounds familiar, it is because I have been working as a ministry fellow at Princeton University for the past four years. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the Princeton community, at-large, and the students & staff at Princeton, specifically, by assuming this new role.
As I reminisce upon this past year, I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving and gratitude for God’s continued faithfulness to our ministry. James 1:17 says: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change”. By God’s grace, the ministry continues to grow—this year alone, we had at least 6-8 students commit their lives to Jesus Christ through the means of salvation and/or through the means of baptism; Bible course enrollment continues to expand. God’s faithfulness was most recently seen through His gracious provision of a brand-new ministry center, The Robert L. Melrose Center for Christian Leadership.
On Friday, June 2, 2017, we celebrated with 40-50 Princeton alumnis, financial partners, students, and other friends of the ministry with a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony. The opening of the Melrose Center was the culmination of countless hours of seeking God through prayer as well as the generosity of over 170 ministry partners who saw the strategic need for the Center and helped turn it into a reality. The Melrose Center is named after Robert L. Melrose, an alumnus of Princeton University, class of 1954. His brother, Ken Melrose ’62, graciously provided the foundational gift for the ministry center; thus, he named it after his brother, Robert, who died, along with his wife, in a tragic accident. Robert was a strong Christian and involved in ministry as a student at Princeton. At the time of his death, Robert was teaching English at the University of Florida, but his goal was to return to teach at Princeton.
On behalf of the Princeton team, we sincerely thank the many financial partners who have funded this work and for those who have helped with the purchasing, planning and renovation of the Melrose Center. The fruition of the Melrose Center was a team effort—for many, this is the result of two years’ effort of acquiring, renovating and fundraising for the building. The Melrose Center allows us the opportunity to enhance the proclamation of the Gospel and continue to advance the Kingdom of God here at Princeton. For instance, with the new Melrose Center, we can now host five Bible courses, totaling 50 students (this year we had more than 400 students in Bible courses each week), simultaneously; we even have access to a private office, which will be used for mentoring opportunities; we have office space for every ministry fellow; and we have a space for students to gather each week to host various events, such as: all-night prayer sessions, fellowship activities, etc. The new center not only has the space we need for this thriving ministry, it is even more accessible to students—just one block from Firestone Library.
During the summer months, we ask for your partnership in prayer in some of the specific ways:
- Princeton Ministry Fellows Kevin Antlitz & Lisa Jeffrey helped lead an overseas trip of 84 Christian Union students to the Holy Land. For many it was their first time to visit Israel. Please pray for Kevin and Lisa as they seek to recover from leading this trip—pray for our God to sustain and replenish Kevin’s and Lisa’s energy during the remaining summer months. Also, please pray that the time spent over in Israel would both deepen and strengthen relationships within Princeton Faith & Action (PFA) and among other Christian Union students.
- On Princeton’s campus, the students from our ministry who are researching and working locally are taking part in a weekly inter-fellowship Bible study on Tuesday nights. I am leading at least 2-3 of these gatherings, which have been drawing 30-50 students each week. I covet your prayers as I prepare to lead my first Bible Study, this Tuesday, June 27 at 8:00 PM. Please pray that our time in God’s Word, would bear much fruit in the knowledge of Christ, the deepening of relationships, and result in the growth of unity in Christ among the Christians on Princeton’s campus.
- Please pray for Kyle Lang, who is a rising junior at Princeton; he is running 2,967 miles across the country to support three nonprofits: Great Rivers United Way, Every Hand Joined, and Special Olympics New Jersey. Read his story here. In addition to Kyle, would you join us in praying for safety for all PFA students who are traveling this summer, as well as growth in godliness, prayer, and courage for Jesus Christ? We are praying for God’s consistent guiding hand in their lives and hearts, as He calls them into deeper relationship with His Son.
- Finally, will you join us in praying for revival & awakening to happen on the campus of Princeton University? James 5:16b says, “…The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working”. With the addition of the Melrose Center, we have an opportunity to see even many more lives transformed on Princeton’s campus, by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Let’s not be found as ones who don’t ask God for His provision in this way—I pray that our success will be rooted within the prayer request of His people.
Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and financial support of the ministry. We will continue to move forward by God’s grace, with the conviction that ministry for Jesus in this strategic context will be used by Him powerfully for many years to come — for His glory, for the good of Princeton, & ultimately, this world.
Christian Union Ministry Director