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Christian Union
June 26, 2017

Green '84 is the Christian Leader of the Year

By Catherine Elvy, Staff Writer

MomandmentorSince graduating from Princeton University in 1984, Elizabeth Stevenson Green has gained recognition for her remarkable efforts to homeschool her 12 children, including a girl adopted from China and sibling groups of four and two from Ethiopia.

The former campus minister with Cru also serves as a Christian role model by hosting Bible studies and mentoring young women. As well, Elizabeth and Howard Green have directed youth and young adult fellowship groups and guided engaged and married couples through pre- and post-marital counseling. 

“The Lord has given me the gift of teaching and somewhat of evangelism,” Green said. 

The native of Western New York has devoted her adult life to investing in others, especially in grounding young people and women in the wealth of life-giving principles found in the Scriptures. 

Given such a commitment, Christian Union presented Green with its Christian Leader of the Year Award at this spring’s Nexus Conference in Stamford, Connecticut. During Green’s stint on Cru’s ministry team at Cornell University, she served as a spiritual role model for Christian Union Founder Matthew Bennett, Cornell ’88, MBA ’89. Bennett presented the award to Green, recalling her passion for serving Jesus Christ and teaching the Word of God.

Green said imparting a commitment to God’s Word produces a harvest of tangible stability, especially for those desiring leadership roles. 

“It just makes so much difference to their lives down the road,” said Green, who now resides in Virginia’s picturesque Shenandoah Valley. “When our lives are grounded in the Lord, He gives a lot of peace and stability that you minster to others.”

Likewise, Green is thankful her diverse children, including some who entered her family with emotional, developmental, and physical challenges, have been able to witness the abiding unity at the heart of her marriage to Howard Green, an anesthesiologist and former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot.

Today, the couple’s children range from 16 to 25, including two in college and five in high school. Two daughters are married. 

The politics major prizes the countless hours she has poured into her six sons and six daughters, including the opportunities to model stability. 

“It’s been a real privilege to be so up-close and personal in each of their lives,” she said.

Rather than feeling she might have missed out on opportunities to propel a Princeton degree into a career in government, Green noted she readily uses her skill sets and intelligence to rear her children. Through homeschooling, Green has seized extra moments to shape each child’s character, an endlessly rewarding, and occasionally frustrating quest.

As well, Green likes to remind her kids, especially the younger ones, they indeed have reaped the fruit of her Princeton training. “It was really worth me getting the education I did because you know you have a smart mom,” Green tells her crew, with a smile.

More seriously, the Lord “puts everybody in spots and spheres to influence particular people,” Green said. “Every sphere needs Christians to relate the truth of the Christian life.”

Green is especially thankful for the discipleship she received from the team with Princeton Evangelical Fellowship (princeton.edu/~pef) during her collegiate days, particularly for the hands-on guidance from Carol Wever.

After graduating from Princeton, Green’s career plans shifted when an opportunity arose to serve as an assistant to Bud and Shirley Hinkson, former directors of Cru’s outreach in Eastern Europe. In the fall of 1986, Green shifted to Cru’s ministry team at Cornell University, where she also directed summer missionary trips to Romania. In 1990, Green moved to a position with Cru’s team at Dartmouth College. 

As the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, Green marvels at her trajectory into full-time ministry. “I felt like the Lord had got me in through the backdoor,” she said.

While attending church in the Hanover, New Hampshire community, the former Elizabeth Stevenson met Howard Green, who was pursuing a medical residency program at Dartmouth. The couple married in 1991, relocated to Central New York in 1993, and celebrated the births of three daughters and two sons between 1993 and 2000. 

In 2002, after prayerfully probing the challenges of adoption, the couple brought home a malnourished, tearful toddler from China. 

As the girl began to thrive and bond with her family, the successful adoption prompted the Greens to consider enlarging their family. In 2003, with a desire to aid orphaned children, the couple welcomed a sibling set. In 2005, Elizabeth and Howard also brought home a pair of boys. 

“We love them to pieces,” Green said of her children. “It’s been such a great adventure.”

Green was delighted and humbled when Princeton Alumni Weekly featured a cover story about the couple’s decision to add to their bunch via foreign adoptions. The feature, which captured Green’s well-choreographed efforts to homeschool her brood on family property outside Syracuse, appeared on her 44th birthday.

“I’ve had numerous times along the way where I’ve read my alumni magazine and people are doing very famous and important things,” Green said. “I’ve read about all of these people being CEOs and neurosurgeons in charge of important discoveries, and here I am on the cover with all of my children.”

The 2006 article sparked additional coverage in Redbook, USAA Magazine, and other publications. 

As for today, Green remains committed to cultivating the wonders and ways of the Word of God, both inside and outside her family. She also is grateful her children have become part of a fruitful legacy, a testament to the power of Christian shepherding.

“That’s the kingdom of God,” she said. “It just multiplies and multiplies.”
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