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Reaching out to Young Professionals

by catherine elvy, staff writer


The COVID-19 pandemic did not prevent Christian Union’s ministry to professionals from sharing its core mission with recent college graduates.

In May, Christian Union New York coordinated virtual introductory meetings with graduating seniors at top universities. During the spring, the ministry typically reaches out to seniors involved in Christian Union Universities to help facilitate connections for graduates within certain professional and geographic networks in various cities. In New York City, the ministry offers emerging and established leaders an array of community groups, mentoring and networking opportunities, as well as enriching events including forums, lectures, and conferences.

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Young professionals associated with Christian Union New York took a cruise around Manhattan last year.

 

Young professionals associated with Christian Union New York took a cruise around Manhattan last year.


Given the need for required social distancing, Christian Union New York partnered with Christian Union’s new vice president of alumni engagement to stage webinars with the seniors and campus-based ministry fellows.

Participants also learned more about Christian Union New York and its efforts to impact culture. Crosby and his team provided online support, resources, and connections to leaders abruptly beset by stay-at-home orders in the U.S. epicenter of the virus.

“During these crazy, coronavirus times when we’re all separated and cannot really see each other face to face, it has been really great to meet virtually every week,” said Taylor Becker, an associate at The Blackstone Group.

Becker is especially thankful for the bonding opportunities that Christian Union New York provided after his bustling metropolis suddenly shifted into isolation mode. He is also grateful for how his community group took advantage of extended time at home to peruse C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce.

“I really appreciate that Christian Union New York has been such an influential part of my life,” said Becker, Penn ’17.

The ministry also shifted its popular forum programming to an online format. A regular forum participant, Brent Blonkvist, said he missed the ability to attend such events in person, but welcomed opportunities to share the compelling material with family members.

“The content continues to be as enriching and engaging as always,” said Blonkvist, president of Odyssey, a media and information services firm. “I’m really grateful for the continued creative ways to impact Christian professionals.”

In other news, Ministry Associate Karen Hetzler hosted Christian Union New York’s first women’s conference at a Midtown Manhattan residence in late January.

“It was an incredible time of drawing some Christian women who are in leadership positions here in the city into the Lord’s presence together,” said Hetzler. “We sought the Lord together.”

During the retreat, the women spent much of their time focused upon prayer, fasting, and worship. In addition, participants pored over Scriptures with an emphasis on learning about the nature of God. Hetzler also is a member of the ministry team at Bethesda Grace Church in Manhattan, where her husband Chuck Hetlzer is the pastor.

 Since the shutdown, the women have remained in touch. “We meet weekly, pray for one another, and share what the Lord is teaching each one of us during this time,” said Karen Hetzler.

Participants in the retreat described themselves as “blessed beyond measure,” especially by the ways they experienced the presence of the Lord. “An outcome of our two-and-a-half-day retreat, and the prayers of all who went before, is that I am fired up to bring the same message to other communities in which I participate,” said one attendee.