Christian Union Celebrates Five Years at Brown
At the Christian Union Staff Conference this summer, the organization celebrated a major milestone—five years of ministry at Brown University.
A few weeks later, Ministry Director Matt Woodard and Ministry Fellows Laurel Copp and Ben Pascut began earnestly to prepare for year six and the annual Freshmen Welcoming Campaign.
“Five years at Brown is a remarkable milestone,” said Doyle Dunn, vice president of Christian Union Universities. “We celebrate the many ways God has changed students’ lives through these years. We also celebrate the faculty and staff who have devoted their time and energy to make this ministry such a joyful success.”
As he looked back on the last five years, Woodard was “filled with gratitude for all the hard work done by ministry faculty and student leaders who have worked tirelessly and energetically to make this ministry what it is today.”
He expressed thanks for growing from a core group of eleven students in the ministry’s first year to graduating its first class of seniors to having 100 young men and women in Bible courses last year.
“However, what we as a staff will remember most,” Woodard said, “are the hours we were fortunate to spend with them, hearing life updates over coffee, studying Scripture together in Bible courses, and watching as they grew into young adults ready to live on mission as they enter the next phase of their lives.”
“The Lord is doing amazing things on campus and in the city of Providence!”
Copp said walking alongside students as they learn and grow in their relationship with God, their love for their fellow students, and in their studies has been “a joy and a great adventure.”
“We have sought to help students integrate their faith and learning, to love Brown the way that Jesus loves, and to develop the fruit of the Spirit as they look towards their future lives, vocations, and families,” she said.
At the beginning of the fall semester, Christian Union at Brown welcomed freshmen to campus, signed up students for Bible courses, and hosted “Anchor,” the ministry’s weekly leadership lecture series. During the Freshmen Welcoming Campaign, staff and student leaders delivered over 600 welcome bags to freshmen dorm rooms and hosted events such as Lawn Games and Chick-fil-A, Sunday Pancake Dinners at the Judson Center, and the fall conference at Lakeside Christian Camp in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
“The current Freshmen Welcoming Campaign has been a beautiful picture of our students in a busy and stressful time reaching out and caring about the freshmen,” Copp said. “We have had several fun events, several bonding events, and a lot of meetings with freshmen as they figure out what being a part of the Christian community at Brown will look like for them.”
One of the highlights was a Do-It-Yourself Dorm Décor Night, which was held as an alternative to the Friday party scene.
“It was a sweet mix of girls from all four years tie-dying and painting and chatting together,” Copp said. “By the end of the night, I saw so many girls making plans to meet up for brunch or dinner the next day.”
“It looks like we will have a solid class of guys and girls this year.”
Woodard is also expecting great things in 2019-20 as the Christian Union faculty, student leaders, and students seek God and look to impact their campus for Christ. Prayer and evangelism will be a focus. The leadership lecture series will focus on the book of John and the tenets of Christianity.
By God’s grace, these kinds of initiatives will help develop Christian leaders to transform culture, according to Doyle: “Brown University describes the impact of their academic work as ‘deploying knowledge to address critical and complex problems in the world.’ Christian Union at Brown helps students understand and address those ‘critical and complex problems’ through the lens of faith in God, who created the world and shows His love and compassion for humanity through His Son, Jesus Christ.”
Thanks to a labor of love for the last five years, Christian Union at Brown has a strong foundation on which to build.
“It’s a special privilege to have spent five years participating in His work here,” Woodard said. “Nationally, there’s a perception that Brown is an especially difficult place to minister. To an extent, that is true. Historically, we’ve found that a very small percentage of students enter campus with any kind of commitment to Christ. But, the students here are exceptionally bright, creative, and passionate. They are a joy to work with and they deeply love one another.”
“There’s still so much work to be done here! I’m excited to see what’s in store for the ministry over the next five years and beyond.”