Semester Brings Joy, Challenges to Christian Union Gloria Law
by catherine elvy, staff writer
Christian Union’s ministry at Harvard Law School celebrated a major milestone in December, just before a spring semester that would require students to maintain their faith and fellowship under difficult circumstances.
After concentrated work from a group of student leaders, Harvard Law School recognized Christian Union Gloria Law as an official organization, six years after it was launched. With recognition status, the ministry can reserve space on campus and gain better access to students while providing strategic leadership training.
“We are growing in community, reach, and impact,” said Justin Yim, Christian Union’s ministry director at Harvard Law School (HLS).
In a Bible study for married couples, Harvard Law students examined Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth.
Yim noted how the thirty-five participating students were thankful for the long-awaited recognition. But Yim knows the work at HLS has just begun. He is excited about helping to transform the lives of some of the nation’s brightest young legal minds via Bible courses, lectures, and mentoring.
The longtime pastor is helping students to establish relationships that will endure beyond commencement and form the backbone of spiritual and professional networks. “I want to lay down the foundation of prayer, personal discipleship, and rigorous Bible study,” he said. “A core aspect of this year is making sure the relationships remain strong.”
Likewise, Yim encouraged students to remain firm in their faith in the midst of the tumultuous COVID-19 outbreak. The father of four pointed them to the powerful words of James 1:2, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
Yim exhorted students to sustain their spiritual composure even as Harvard University abruptly halted on-campus activity and sent students home in March to complete coursework via online instruction. Yim exhorted the students to trust in an extraordinary God during unprecedented times, a practice that is applicable for both a pandemic and life’s trials.
Yim encouraged law school students to serve as carriers of contagious faith, hope, and love among their peers during this season of uncertainty. Indeed, the spring semester was memorable for Christians for both its challenges, as well as its opportunities.
During the early part of the semester, Yim established regular mentoring sessions with individual students, a practice he continued via video conferencing options after the COVID-19 flare-up. Previously, Christian Union’s ministry to law students hosted a Bible course on 1 Corinthians in Hauser Hall on Wednesday evenings. The gatherings also featured dinners and prayer sessions focused upon revival for the campus. After students departed campus in mid-March, the ministry shifted the study to virtual gatherings.
Yim led a discussion on the foundational insights of 1 Corinthians with the aim of teaching students to conduct lives consistent with Christ’s Gospel. The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth addresses topics including the resurrection of Jesus Christ, observance of the Lord’s Supper, and issues related to immorality and division, was a rich time of study for students as they grappled with everything from foundational theology to addressing conflict in the church.
Among other activities, a law student and his wife continued with their Bible course for married couples affiliated with Harvard Law School. Julian and Kianna Nunally led a study focused on Colossians during the autumn semester, and they dove into theologian Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth during the spring semester.
Julian Nunally, Harvard ’17, Law ’20, and Kianna Goldsberry Nunally, Harvard ’18, wanted to minister together and connect with other couples. Kianna Nunally, an aspiring orthopedic surgeon, also spent part of the academic year ministering to female law students.
After the transition to online courses, Yim created virtual prayer sessions for scattered students, who met on Monday mornings and Thursday nights to seek God for spiritual awakening at their historic campus and in the lives of classmates. For some students, the abrupt departure from campus brought sadness and loss.
“A lot of them are reaching out and making sure they are connected to one another,” said Yim.
On March 26, law students joined with students involved with Christian Union’s ministry to Harvard College undergraduates and Columbia University graduate students to participate in a virtual leadership lecture. Christian Union Teaching Fellow Nick Nowalk delivered a talk centered around the theme of waiting on God when things fall apart.
During the trying days of the pandemic associated with the disease known for its crown-like spikes, Yim pointed to James 1:12 to encourage students to remain steadfast in their faith.
After all, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”