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December 21, 2017

Friends,

I pray this Advent season has been full of Christ’s presence, joy and peace!

It’s hard to believe, but this semester has already come and gone! It’s been a semester full of God’s goodness and faithfulness meeting students in their everyday lives – the highs and lows and every place in between. I could share many stories of God’s work on campus over the course of the Fall Semester, but I’d like to tell you about a large outreach event we organized earlier this month.

On December 4, we co-sponsored an event on campus titled, “Are We More Than Our Genes?” in which we invited Praveen Sethupathy, Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cornell University, and Richard Middleton, Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary, Rochester, NY, to discuss what it means to be human. We did this mainly by exploring the intersection of science and faith, particularly within the field of genetics. Our hope was that this event would not only encourage Christian students on campus, but provide a space for not-yet believers in Jesus to consider the real possibility that Christianity is intellectually viable. Praveen’s focus was on the science, while Richard labored to provide a way forward in navigating emerging science with the study of Scripture. To help facilitate the conversation we invited Brown’s own Senior Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Richard Bungiro, himself a self-described atheist, to moderate the event. In all, we had roughly 200 students turn out for the event, most of whom had no prior connection to our ministry, other than the fact that they had a friend(s) involved in our community. Several students indicated that they would be interested in continuing the conversation through future events and/or a book discussion next semester. A handful of students indicated that they’d like to learn more about the Christian faith and we continue to follow-up with them. I’ve heard from numerous students since December 4 that the “buzz” from the event continued over the course of the following week, with several of them describing conversations they overheard or were a part of that pressed further into the relationship between faith and science.

I was beyond impressed with the way several students stepped up to lead this event in a big way. They did such a fantastic job that the night went off without a hitch. I also loved seeing members of the various Christian fellowships on campus joining together in this event to reach the lost for Christ. We’ve been praying for a real “coming together” of the different fellowships, and this event not only made that possible but, I think, showed us a real, tangible way forward as the body of Christ across Brown’s campus.

Pray with us that the Spirit of God brings many students to faith through the event, whether that’s due to the actual event or the conversations that have ensued since that night. No matter the results we see with our own eyes, we give praise and glory to our Father in Heaven who, we know, used this event to reach students with the hope of the gospel that wouldn’t have otherwise been reached!

Please also pray for students as they spend the next few weeks back home, continue studies and research on campus or travel abroad. Pray that God meets them in this season in a powerful way, and that they return to campus committed to giving faithful witness to the gospel of Christ at Brown.

In this new year, may we know the realities of the gospel in deeper and more profound ways such that we might more faithfully obey the call to follow King Jesus! 


Grace and Peace,

Justin Doyle
Ministry Fellow
Christian Union at Brown University

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