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Christian Union at Brown Hosts Block Party

BY TOM CAMPISI, MANAGING EDITOR

Strategic planning, prayer, and a huge order of Chipotle helped Christian Union at Brown pull off one of its most successful outreaches to date.

On Friday, September 7, the leadership development ministry hosted approximately 80 freshmen for a block party at the Judson Center. At the beginning of the semester, student leaders and Christian Union ministry fellows coordinated a wide range of freshmen welcoming events to let new students know about a vibrant Christian community on campus and its Bible courses, lecture series, and conferences.

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At the block party, burritos were served in the backyard of the Judson Center, which was buzzing with conversations and music under the night sky and strings of hanging bulbs. 

“The block party was very inviting,” said Tucker Ziegler ’19, a student leader with Christian Union at Brown. “There were clusters of people all around and conversations between upperclassmen and freshmen.”

Justin Doyle, a Christian Union ministry fellow at Brown, said the block party was a big success and will produce lasting fruit. 

“The freshmen could have grabbed a burrito and run, but almost all of them stuck around and were having a great time,” Doyle said. “Sure, there were some who were not interested in Christian Union, but it was such a great opportunity to bless, nonetheless. In all, we probably had about 80 students come out and many of them have decided to get involved with the ministry in some way.”

Planning for the block party began at a retreat before the semester when student leaders and Christian Union faculty came together for prayer, Bible teaching, and vision casting for the upcoming academic year. Student leaders assembled 800 bags with candy, granola bars, crackers, information on Christian Union, and an invitation to the Chipotle Block Party. Three days before the event, they delivered those bags to the freshmen dorms, praying over the students’ names as they dropped each one at a door.

On the evening of the block party, anticipation was high before the freshmen arrived. Student leaders, dressed in Christian Union T-shirts, received some last-minute coaching from Ministry Fellow Laurel Copp on how to welcome and engage the guests. The first wave of freshmen came 10 minutes early, and the party was under way. Over the next hour, about 50 or 60 more arrived as ministry fellows distributed burritos at a frantic pace. It was exactly the kind of atmosphere that Doyle, Copp, and Ministry Director Matt Woodard hoped to see. 

“I smiled as I saw all the upperclassmen in our ministry making their way around to talk to the freshmen,” Doyle recalled. 

Ziegler is thankful to be part of a campus ministry that trains young people how to serve. 

“I think the leadership training we got this year was highlighted in the block party,” he said. “There, you could see the members of Christian Union engaged with the freshmen at Brown. Listening to the conversations, you could tell that the freshmen really enjoyed an outlet where they could come and talk and let out some emotions.”

Meagan Peters ’18, another student leader with Christian Union at Brown, was proud of the way the team rose to the occasion and embraced freshmen.

“The upperclassmen brought such great energy to greeting, making connections, and engaging the freshmen who attended in conversations about Christian Union and campus life in general,” she said. “While there were some inevitable awkward interactions, being outside on a warm summer evening, having an abundance of good food and a great turn-out really helped things run smoothly.”

Christian Union’s fall semester welcoming events included a brunch for students and parents on move-in weekend, a pancake party, worship on the main Green, a ladies’ brunch, a guys’ BBQ, a movie night, and a grub crawl where upperclassmen who live off campus cooked for freshmen.

The block party was definitely one of the highlights and a night to remember for the team. 

“Overall, it was a great way to engage with the community and a great opportunity for people to come together and meet,” Ziegler said.

“I think we all went into the block party with a mix of excitement and apprehension, but felt prepared to put ourselves out there and serve the freshmen to the best of our ability,” noted Peters. “The block party helped Christian Union gain exposure on campus and let people know that we’re here as a generous and loving Christian community.”