Learn About/Subscribe:
Christian Union
Christian Union: The Magazine
March 16, 2021

CU Gloria Provides Vital Resources During Harvard Break

By Anne Kerhoulas, Staff Writer

As Harvard transitioned from the fall semester into a long break, CU Gloria provided spiritual encouragement and community for students through “Winter Workshops” and book groups. Though winter break is a welcome change of pace after a semester of long days and intense studying, this time away from community that often lacks structure can also become a lonely time in which students struggle in their faith.

CU Gloria would typically offer a book study during the five-week break, but in light of the pandemic, ministry faculty and student leaders wanted to provide ongoing community touchpoints for students. Ministry Fellow Tyler Parker noted, “We wanted to explore winter workshops because the pandemic has robbed our students of many of the aspects of community that they would be able to experience in a normal year. We wanted to help our students remain connected to each other over winter break.”

HCFA zoom 3 8 21

This desire spawned two different offerings: book groups reading Relationship Goals, by Michael Todd, and The Screwtape Letters, by CS Lewis, and Winter Workshop seminars on “Hearing from God,” “Spiritual Warfare,” and “Leadership in the Image of God.” 

Katherine Wang ’23, who helped lead the discussion of Screwtape Letters, commented that the book provided a creative way to discuss the reality of spiritual warfare as well as other foundational elements of following Christ. 

“We covered a range of topics, from God's hiddenness to the importance of the mundane to what it means to live in the present. In the 28th letter, CS Lewis stated that when one tries to find their place in the world, the world is actually finding its place in them. This fostered a lot of discussion on what it means to be in this world but not of this world, and whether or not we have been more knit to the world or to God in certain areas of our lives,” Wang said. 

The workshops were a great success, hosting 20-50 students for each seminar on topics that resonated deeply with students. The workshops featured both teaching and discussion, but also time for students to engage with one another by practicing prophecy and listening to the Lord’s voice as well as praying together. These activities served to encourage and deepen community and led to conversations among students about committing to serve on CU Gloria ministry teams in more significant capacities. 

Book discussions were student-led, with a recently engaged couple, who also serve on the CU Gloria executive team, leading the study on Relationship Goals and ministry team leaders Douglass Bryant ’22 and Katherine Wang ’23 leading Screwtape Letters. Though every leadership opportunity within Christian Union provides unique challenges, leading a book discussion pushed Wang to become more attentive to her peers while keeping in mind how to guide the discussion. 

“Leading this book discussion has taught me to anticipate the questions and needs of my peers in terms of writing discussion questions that would apply to their circumstances,” said Wang. “During discussions, I've noticed that I am starting to become more aware of all the participants and the signals they're giving off— whether they seem engaged, distant, or uncomfortable, among many others, and how I can include them in the discussion. Through this experience, CU has challenged me to be more other-focused and to have a bigger heart for God's people.”

Ministry Fellow Fady Ghobrial led a session on spiritual warfare, teaching students “ten ways to fight the enemy.” Springboarding off of the book study on Screwtape Letters, Ghobrial helped students parse out what scripture does and does not say about demons and the supernatural, how Christians should be prepared to stand against Satan, and how to anticipate and defend ourselves from spiritual attack while standing in our identity as saved and protected children of God.

Ministry Director Don Weiss and Parker spoke about how we are called to lead as people who are made in the image of God. Parker delivered a theology of leadership examining the unique Christian story of leadership, and Weiss followed up with a talk about the fruit of Christian leadership and how leadership transforms us.

Teal Wojcicki, a former ministry fellow and current volunteer with Christian Union, spoke on how we hear from God, delivering both a Biblical theology of how God chooses to speak to his creation as well as practicing basics about how we personally begin to know and recognize God’s voice.

Though the past year has been intensely challenging both for students and ministry faculty, the Lord continues to open doors for creatively developing and nurturing the faith of these CU Gloria students.

To learn more about Christian Union's ministry at some of the nation's most influential universities, please click here.