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Christian Union
February 11, 2014

Christian Union Will Host Triennial Event in New Haven, Connecticut

At first glance, Baroness Caroline Cox appears an unlikely candidate to traverse the globe as a tireless campaigner for human rights and advocate for persecuted Christians.

However, the former deputy speaker of the House of Lords and grandmother has crisscrossed jungles, deserts, and mountains in her quests to investigate oppression and alert the political elite of the United Kingdom and beyond to the neglected casualties of far-flung war zones.

In March, Baroness Cox will serve as a keynote speaker for the Ivy League Congress on Faith and Action. Christian Union is hosting the triennial event from March 28 to 30 at the Omni New Haven Hotel in New Haven, Connecticut.

Since 2008, the Ivy League Congress on Faith and Action (ILCFA) has attracted students from across the Ancient Eight for a weekend of world-class speakers, dynamic prayer and worship, and peer interaction.

"Good things happen when Christians from the Ivy League set aside a weekend to seek God collectively," said Don Weiss, Christian Union's ministry director at Harvard.

"Over the years, we've seen students deeply challenged and strengthened in their faith, inspired to radical, true discipleship, and grateful for the opportunity to network with peers and professionals."

A highlight of the event will center on an appearance by Cox.

The founder of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust has endured a steady diet of danger in the pursuit of advocacy for the world's traumatized and hungry. In particular, Cox champions the causes of persecuted Christians, whose plight often is neglected by the mainstream media.

The globetrotter's missions have taken her to myriad battlegrounds, including ones in Sudan, Nigeria, and Uganda. As well, the unconventional baroness has visited North Korea to help to promote parliamentary initiatives and medical programs. She also has pushed to revamp policies for orphaned and abandoned children in the former Soviet Union.

Other keynote ILCFA speakers include Charles Gilmer (Penn '81), president of The Impact Movement, Inc.; author Ken Eldred; and Nick Nowalk, a Christian Union teaching fellow at Harvard University.

Gilmer and his wife Rebecca Gilmer, Penn '80, launched Impact, Cru's sister ministry for African-American students, in 2002. Reaching African-American college students has been the passion of Charles Gilmer since his undergraduate days at Penn, where he studied applied science. After graduation, he joined Cru over an offer from IBM. Today, Impact has touched more than 20,000 African-American participants, and has a presence on about 70 college campuses.

The 2011 Ivy League Congress on Faith and Action in Cambridge, Massachusetts, featured keynote speakers, ministry leaders, and panelists who challenged 380 students to serve God wholeheartedly in college and in their future vocations.


Eldred, an author, philanthropist, and founder of Ariba Technologies and Inmac Corp., has researched the impact of business leaders around the world on the economic, social, and spiritual fronts of developing nations. He also established Living Stones Foundation, and he serves as chairman of the advisory board to Parakletos Ventures.

Congress organizers say past gatherings have galvanized students to consider their faith as they contemplate career decisions and options for Christian service.

"What has been particularly meaningful at congresses in the past has been the oppor­tunity for students to interact with Christians who are accomplished in their fields of study," Weiss said. "The Apostle Paul encouraged first-century churches to find men and women worthy of imitation as they faithfully imitated Christ."

The ILCFA will feature panel discussions involving believers who labor in the arts, business, and education sectors. It also will spotlight professionals from the academy, finance, government, law, and medicine as well as figures from the media, ministry, science, and other arenas.

"We're trying to be as comprehensive as we can be. College is a launching pad. Eventually, the students will leave us. We want them to think about who they are going to be in the future," said Teal McGarvey, a Christian Union ministry fellow at Harvard.

In addition, the congress will showcase performances from a gospel choir, prayer gatherings and seminars on the seeking-God lifestyle, pro-life causes, and cultural transformation.

Ryan Anderson (Princeton '04), a social commentator, will lead a presentation on traditional views of marriage. The Heritage Foundation fellow is the co-author of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense and a doctoral candidate at University of Notre Dame.

Likewise, John Paul Jackson, an international minister and author from Texas, will give a talk on modern supernatural manifestations.

Ultimately, congress organizers say they want to equip and motivate students to transform the cultures of their campuses and future vocational spheres.

"The point is essentially that we would be casting a vision for what God is doing and wants to do in and through students who graduate from the Ivy League," said McGarvey.

"We want them to think about the next step – how they will operate in their vocations as Christians."
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