Carreon Is New Christian Union Ministry Fellow
by tom campisi, managing editor
Abigail Carreon has a passion to help some of the nation’s brightest young minds explore questions of faith and grow deeper in their walk with Jesus Christ.
A new ministry fellow at Stanford University with Caritas, Christian Union’s ministry on that campus, Carreon also serves as leader with the Veritas Forum at Stanford and the University of California-Berkeley. With Caritas, she leads Bible courses and mentors students with one-on-one discipleship and life coaching. In her role as Veritas Host, she focuses on organizing teams and supporting forums, discussions, and long-term projects.
“While there is a heavier emphasis on discipleship and deep Christian conversations happening all the time with Christian Union Bible Courses, and Veritas Forum entails dealing with the gritty questions of faith and doubt with believers and non-believers, the heart of the work in both ministries remains the same,” she said. “I genuinely care for each of the students I have the honor of getting to know, so walking alongside them while they wrestle with how to live life, and why and how to trust Jesus Christ, and experience all of the complexities of life is the whole point.”
Formerly the West Coast Regional Director for The Veritas Forum, Carreon’s resume and work experiences are extensive. She graduated with a BA in English, Psychology, and Political Science from Purdue University, with further visiting studies at Oxford University. She earned an MA in Apologetics and MA in Counseling from Luther Rice University and Seminary, specializing in the Problem of Evil and Suffering. Currently, she’s studying for a Master’s of Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in Pepperdine University’s School of Law. In the past decade, she worked in a wide range of capacities, from humanitarian project management, social work, crisis counseling, and human rights research, to itinerant speaking, academy moderation, and organizational liaisonship.
In 2015, Carreon developed and co-facilitated a comparative worldviews course, “Faith and Reasons,” at Berkeley. For three years, she worked with students across academic disciplines, and across the faith spectrum, to start an accredited course through the college’s Democratic Education Program.
“Students were crazy about having content presented that challenged them to think about what they believe and why they believe it, and to hear from professors and peers and ministers who demonstrated the balance, rather than contradiction, between faith and reasoning,” she said.
Carreon is currently working with some students to re-launch the course in fall 2020 at Berkeley. Additionally, she designs and leads workshops addressing philosophies of human flourishing and mental health at Stanford alongside her husband, Dr. David Carreon.
With Caritas, Abigail Carreon served as a volunteer last spring before being hired as a ministry fellow in the summer. She has enjoyed the opportunity to develop relationships with students. “Being able to delve into weekly coffee sessions and Bible study, going on pre-retreat and Freshmen Fall retreat, and grabbing deep dish pizza with everyone with CU Caritas has been amazing!” she said.
One of the highlights of the fall semester, she said, was a four-hour discussion after a Bible course.
“Four of us examined the nuances of sovereignty and free will, and searched the Scriptures along the way,” she said.
Carreon pointed out the progress of two young women in her Bible courses. Rachel, a sophomore who serves as an assistant Bible course leader, credited Caritas with empowering her as a leader.
“Rachel has a way of making everyone feel welcome, has a heart eager to learn the Word, and encourages the focus to be on spiritual topics, while doing so humbly and naturally,” Carreon said. “She’s growing in boldness and demonstrates faithfulness.”
Bailey, a freshman who is studying theatre, has impressed Carreon with her engaging nature.
“Many of her friends outside of Caritas are not believers, so she’s working alongside me, through through Caritas and Veritas Forum projects, to lead and launch conversations among friends about faith and art,” she said.
Garrett Brown, Christian Union Caritas’ ministry director, said Carreon’s natural exuberance, mixed with her depth of knowledge, “has already made a great impact on our ministry at Stanford.”
“With Abigail joining our team part-time, we have been able to double our efforts meeting with and serving female students. For the past couple of years, my wife Susan has done an above-and-beyond job as a volunteer, but with Abigail and Susan working together, we’ve been able to add more Bible courses, and give the women the same amount of individual discipling effort that the guys get.”
Additionally, having someone on the Caritas faculty with Carreon’s background with Veritas “gives us a natural partnership with a very vital ministry on campus and great opportunity for us to look ahead at some joint outreach events,” Brown said.
Whether it is with Caritas or Veritas, or joint efforts of the two ministries, Carreon is poised to lead with a listening ear.
“Interestingly, many of the hardest questions overlap between groups of believers and nonbelievers,” she said. “There’s never a lack of need for patience, intellectual preparedness and humility, and a heart of compassion to serve students in the formative years in which we get to have an impact.”