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Brothers and sisters in Christ,

As the summer has progressed, we have been hard at work preparing for the Fall semester. We are planning events for Freshmen Campaign, and have been meeting with our Exec team through Skype, about our teams and retreats at the beginning of the academic year. Along with this, there have been a lot of transition for us here. Geoff Sackett has moved onto other ministry opportunities, and I am now filling his position as we look for a new Ministry Director. We have also hired two new women’s ministry fellows: Liz Thomforde and Lisa Cooper.

As long as serving God fit into Jonah’s goals for Israel, he was fine with God. As soon as he had to choose between the true God and the god he actually worshiped, he turned on the true God in anger. Jonah’s particular national identity was more foundational to his self-worth than his role as a servant of the God of all nations. The real God had been just a means to an end. He was using God to serve his real god.
-Tim Keller, The Prodigal Prophet

Greetings from Cambridge,

Jonah is a fascinating read to say the least. This summer, over twenty students have immersed themselves in a Wednesday night bible study as staff and alumni have passed the teaching baton and led some interesting and challenging discussions. The prophet’s identity and idolatry issues at first seemed foreign and obtuse to us; but as we have lingered over the text we have begun to see ourselves and recognize our own distorted proclivities. Thankfully, the true protagonist emerges, and God’s very person and character takes center stage.

“And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city...” Jonah 4:11.

We’ve been studying the great little book of Jonah this summer in Cambridge. You know Jonah, right? It’s the little, little book between Obadiah and Micah that chronicles a season in the life of a very reluctant prophet by the same name. When you think about the story, it doesn’t reflect well upon its supposed author. But those four short chapters hold great insight into so many great themes: the character of God, justice and mercy, missions, calling, and so on.

In the past six weeks more than 630 students graduated from our university ministries to pursue graduate school or enter the workplace. From our first ministry at Princeton to our most recent at Stanford, and including our graduate ministry at Harvard Law school these young men and women are in the midst of exciting transitions - most of them into the workplace.

Dear Friends and Partners of Christian Union at Penn,

“The joy of the Lord is your strength” - Nehemiah 8:10

There is much to be thankful for during these summer months, and many reasons to rejoice. But our greatest joy is the Gospel of grace - God’s Kingdom coming in power through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. July is a sweet season of small group studies with students, professional development, and opportunities for retreat. We have already begun planning for our (fast) approaching Freshmen Welcome at the University of Pennsylvania. Our students have been intentional in developing a strategy for the fall campaign, even as our 4 executive leaders are meeting via Skype from Botswana, San Francisco, New York, and Philadelphia! Would you please pray with us for the following:

June 19 - 20, 2020

Christian Union will host the CU Cities Conference in New York City from June 19 - 20, 2020. Graduate students, young professionals, seasoned professionals are invited from across industries, to explore compelling ideas about faith and its relevance to every facet of our lives.

Christian Union Cities Podcast

Christian Union Cities is a ministry to professionals in the nation's most influential cities, beginning with New York and Washington, DC. The institutions and networks that most shape our cultural values and norms are centered in just a handful of cities—and a similarly small group of professional spheres play a key role.

How do we engage redemptively in our vocations and communities to the end that they more fully reflect the intent God has for them rather than reflecting the brokenness of the world? How do we build the kind of thriving networks of thoughtful, proactive Christians toward this end?

These podcasts will explore these questions with a range of guests who can illuminate them from a variety of industries and disciplines.

Click here to learn more about Christian Union New York.
Click here to learn more about Christian Union DC.

Listen Here

*Soon to be launched on iTunes and Spotify

About the Hosts

Engaging the City is co-hosted by Scott Crosby, Ministry Director, Christian Union New York City and Christian Union Washington DC, and Kate Farrar, Director of Development and Donor Relations.

Christian Union New York

What a great time two weekends ago - most of two days...with amazing speakers on compelling ideas...engaged in prayer and worship...about being courageous in the ways of the Lord...in our city. 

One of our persistent longings, as Christians in the contemporary world, is for our own transformation to what we know we were made to be. We know, both intuitively and from scripture that we are made in the image of God and to be complete in Christ - not just theologically but experientially as well. And yet…the reality leaves us wanting so much more. 

Miroslav Volf and Michael Croasmun, in their new book, For the Life of the Worldput it this way: “Flourishing requires the transformative presence of the true life in the midst of the false…”. What we long for is flourishing. We long to live fully in the life of the true rather than in the midst of the false. 

Check out the plenary talks and breakout sessions from the Cities Conference to explore this more from different vantage points - but especially the talks on Sanctified Ambition, and Engaging the City

- Scott Crosby, Ministry Director at Christian Union New York

We recently concluded our annual Christian Union Cities Conference. Held here in New York, June 21-22, the conference theme was taken from 2 Chronicles 17:6, Courageous in the Ways of the Lord. The church in America lives as “exiles in a strange land” as the apostle Peter describes in his first letter to the church in Asia Minor. Therefore, how we engage our city, community, vocation, and relationships becomes a matter of understanding both the culture and our faith, and our courage in stepping forward in engagement.

Dear Friends and Partners of Christian Union at Penn,
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15.13, ESV).

By God’s grace, we are entering a season of rest for our staff. Immediately after Penn’s graduation, I joined with other Christian Union staff in visiting Fiji for a time of learning and fellowship with the Fijian church. Kelly led a team to Uganda to serve with ROWAN (Rural Orphan and Widow Aids Network). We returned to Philadelphia tired but excited about sharing with our students all that we experienced. As we re-convene and begin planning for next fall, would you please pray for the following:

  • rest (both spiritual and physical) for our team as we return to work and professional development. Pray that Penn’s staff would be further equipped to bring the Gospel to our students with boldness and grace.
  • wisdom as we plan for NSO (New Student Orientation), which will begin in mid-August.
  • Penn’s incoming class of 2023. Pray for hearts and minds, that the students would be prepared to meet Jesus Christ in a powerful way upon entering Penn.
  • Penn’s returning CU students, that they will grow in leadership as they serve in churches this summer. It is incredibly easy for our students to struggle spiritually when they are out of the semester routine. Pray for discipleship, service, and care for them this summer.

Thank you for your continued partnership in the Gospel here at Penn. We are grateful for you!

in Christ our King,

Tucker Else

Ministry Director

Christian Union at Penn