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Christian Union
July 5, 2017

Addenbrooke ’17 Has Burden for the Lost, for Yale

by Tom Campisi, Managing Editor 
As the editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News, Stephanie Addenbrooke often worked until 4 a.m. to oversee the production of the next edition of the newspaper. It was an exhausting, trying time for Addenbrooke, who had to attend classes later in the day and balance other responsibilities while assuming the helm of “The Oldest College Daily” in the United States.

On campus, things were tumultuous. She noted how headlines often focused on “racism, sexual assault, crime, discrimination, depression, injustice, and overwhelming dissatisfaction.” 

aldenbrookeAddenbrooke ’17, a native of the United Kingdom and a leader with Christian Union’s ministry on campus, recalled the peace she found reading her Bible early in the morning in the Yale Daily News office after publication had ceased. And she is confident that God placed her there during her junior year to be a witness, even as the events at Yale “broke my heart for our world’s university campuses.”

“On many nights, I was so overwhelmed with distress by the events that covered our front pages that I lamented with the Psalmists,” she said. “I learned how to be humble, to accept that being obedient in God’s calling doesn’t make you instantly perfect at the job you’ve been given; and it made me recognize more and more that God needs us to be out in our communities, and not just involved in church.”

Addenbrooke sensed that same passion to be salt and light with great urgency as her senior year unfolded. Although no longer editor-in-chief, she still longed to publish news—“Good News”—especially to the fellow members of her senior class who may not have ever heard the Gospel message. 

The leader of the Engagement Team with Christian Union’s ministry at Yale, she had an idea to reach the entire senior class. All during the 2016-17 academic year, the ministry, known as Yale Faith and Action: An Undergraduate Organization, was seeking to be more intentional in evangelism. After discussing the burden with members of the team and Clay Cromer, Christian Union’s ministry director at Yale, the consensus was to e-mail every member of the Class of 2017 with a message of hope and an invitation.  

“As Clay and I prayed over it with the rest of the Engagement Team, my fears that the project was too big were replaced with a renewed understanding of how big God is,” she said. “There is nothing beyond the scope of His power. There is nothing that He cannot handle, and there is nothing we cannot do if we put our trust in Him.” 

“Our prayer time together was driven with beautiful purpose.”

The e-mail, sent in February, implored seniors “to consider the claims of a 1st century Jewish man named Jesus of Nazareth, whom many worship and see as their greatest treasure.” Short testimonies of senior class members were also included, along with invitations to outreach events, the ministry’s leadership lecture series, and a chance to meet for prayer or follow-up.

The outreach to seniors sought to examine some of the most important questions of life, learning and discipline, and inquiry.

Addenbrooke explained, “We wanted to provide an opportunity for them to read the words of the Gospel and have those words saved in their inboxes, for if and when God prompts them to revisit the words. Paired with our campus kindness initiatives (book giveaways) and intentionally inviting more people to our weekly leadership lecture series, we aimed to make our presence more visible on campus and be fearless in our execution.”

Although it’s impossible to measure the full effect of the outreach, Addenbrooke pointed to some early results and a new zeal within the ministry related to sharing boldly the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“The greatest testimony is that people are talking about God in a new way. We’ve heard from roommates/friends of YFA-ers to complete strangers who have questions or were just intrigued by the e-mail,” she said. 

Cromer agreed that the senior outreach and other evangelism efforts have emboldened Yale Faith and Action to proclaim the Gospel to as many students as many times as possible during their time on campus. He was impressed with Addenbrooke’s desire to emulate the Apostles in Acts, the book her Bible course studied this year, and cited her “willingness to obey God’s leading, her deep reflection, and vision casting.”

And Addenbrooke was likewise thankful for the encouragement and support she received from Christian Union’s faculty members Cromer, Jane Hendrickson, and Chitra Kovoor. 

“Christian Union has helped me in so many ways, almost innumerable ways,” she recalled. “Some of the greatest people and friends I have ever met came through Christian Union (including my fiancé) and especially through my Bible courses. The ministry fellows have developed me and helped me discern God’s purpose on my life, and our weekly lecture series has allowed me to consistently delve deeper with the Word.”

Addenbrooke, a pastor’s daughter, will stay in New Haven, Connecticut following graduation and attend Yale Divinity School. Seeing the brokenness at the university as a member of the media and being part of Yale Faith and Action has given her a desire to serve as a campus minister in the future. 

“On many nights, I was so overwhelmed with distress by the events that covered our front pages that I lamented with the Psalmists…” 

A dyslexic student, Addenbrooke is thankful for the grace that enabled her to come from a “low-income background” back home and hold such a prestigious position at Yale Daily News

“If God can use me in that way at 21, I cannot begin to fathom how tremendous and surprising His plans for me and my peers will continue to be,” she said.

Addenbrooke is also thankful for the incredible opportunity to share a message of hope with her entire senior class.

“God gave us a big vision,” she said. “In many ways, I see the senior project as a small seed that will grow into a culture of radical faith in God, and by radical, I mean having such a strong trust in God and willingness to serve Him, that we will take any calling and any vision and be able to live it out.”