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Peter and Linda Cline are partners, advocates, and great friends of Christian Union. Most recently, the Clines have helped to facilitate a generous $700,000 matching gift through the BridgeHead Foundation, where Peter serves as a trustee. This gift is supporting the ministry’s campaign to acquire a permanent ministry center at Columbia University in the heart of New York City. The BridgeHead Foundation exists “to assist Christian organizations in fulfilling the redemptive mission of the Gospel in bringing restoration of life to people and their communities through the thoughtful and strategic application of Christian values.” 

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The missions of these organizations align beautifully. “At the BridgeHead Foundation, we are looking to support organizations that are facilitating holistic transformation, strategic effectiveness, thoughtful leadership, and responsible stewardship,” Peter Cline said. “Christian Union reflects these values through its ministry and services by helping students and professionals discover and strengthen the intellectual validity of their Christian faith, and develop practical skills that will enable them to make a significant cultural impact for the common good. To this end, both Christian Union and BridgeHead share a common desire to enable Christians to impact the leading cultural centers of influence.”

The Clines developed a heart for Christian Union after direct experience with the ministry. “Having had a son as a student and athlete at Columbia, we experienced firsthand the value of Christian Union’s program. We also saw the difficulty of not having a physical location affecting the consistency with which the ministry could impact students. This has been heightened as the university’s free meeting spaces seem to be at capacity.”

To Peter and Linda, a bricks and mortar campaign has deep significance. “This building is a generational change opportunity for Christian Union at Columbia. The mission of Christian Union—to provide Christian worldview training at such an influential campus in arguably one of the most important cities in the world—would have a forever presence. A permanent ministry center would be a foundational cornerstone for building the network of Christian leaders in the city as they are equipped and encouraged in the practical application of their faith to change the world.” They go on to explain that having this building “sends an important signal that the Christian faith is vital and relevant to student life in a time when the academic community has largely relegated the Christian faith community to the margins.”

Christian Union at Columbia

Launched in 2011, Christian Union at Columbia has grown to 199 students (as of Spring 2017) and is growing at a faster rate than the ministry’s flagship ministry at Princeton, which is the largest student organization on campus, religious or otherwise. During the recent freshman welcoming campaign, ministry faculty at Columbia have brought in over 77 new students to participate in Bible courses. The ability to find space to host these Bible courses is one of the greatest obstacles at this campus.

For the first time since Christian Union started a Columbia ministry, a building has come on the market ideally situated near the campus for a Christian Union ministry center. The opportunity to purchase this property will not last long. Columbia University owns most of the buildings in close proximity to campus and routinely buys any that come on the market. The proposed property is one of only three privately owned buildings suitable for a Christian Union ministry center; the other two are not for sale.

Christian Union is profoundly grateful to Peter and Linda Cline and the BridgeHead Foundation, along with co-trustees Bob Rankin and Dr. Rand Unger, for their investment in men and women on Columbia’s campus. To learn more about the Columbia Ministry Center Campaign, and for ways to leverage the BridgeHead matching gift, visit www.christianunion.org/columbiacenter.