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December 22, 2021

Mott Center Christmas Party Is One of Many Highlights

By Tom Campisi, Managing Editor

Christian Union Vita enjoyed a warm, festive Christmas celebration at the John R. Mott Center in December. Students decorated Christian Union’s ministry home at Cornell, complete with a hand-cut Christmas tree. They wore ugly sweaters, built gingerbread houses, and exchanged gifts through a white elephant.


1 Cycle 8 Vita 1Good times at CU Vita's Christmas party; (left to right) Seika Brown, Allison Kerce, Daniela Spies, Emily Fisher, Kelsey Tischler, and Sofia Lorente

“It was a wonderful time of fellowship,” said Liz Thomforde, a Christian Union ministry fellow at Cornell.

In the fall semester the Mott Center served as a prominent place for studying scripture, seeking God, and other student-led events that helped foster leadership development.

“The fall semester was a great success, with Bible courses growing throughout the course of the semester, Mott House constantly buzzing with weekly prayer meetings and social events, and new students coming to faith in Jesus,” said Liz Thomforde.

For Daniela Spies, a senior and co-president of the Cornell Club Swim Team, the Mott Center has been more like a second home. Spies has only been connected with CU Vita since September, but is thankful for the community she has found.

“While I absolutely love all of the events we hold, from worship nights to Christmas tree picking and parties to hiking day trips, I have to say the best part of this semester has truly been finding a second home here at Cornell,” she said. “Some of my favorite days were where I could come to Mott and be able to hang out with some of my closest friends on a Saturday night. I have grown so much in my faith this semester, and it is largely a result of the faith community that has encouraged me each and every day in my walk with Jesus.”

Spies attends a Christian Union Bible course for athletes, is on CU Vita’s socials team, and helped lead the white elephant during the Christmas party.

“Christian Union has really [helped] me recognize my abilities as a leader…Being relatively new to CU Vita, and having found it so late in my time at Cornell, I wanted to be a welcoming and loving person to turn to in the community, especially to the freshman class…If I could sum up what I’ve learned this semester, it is truly to remember to love first.”

Beau Brubaker is another of CU Vita’s student leaders. He started a Wednesday night (11 p.m.) prayer meeting at Mott Center this semester.

Brubaker has enjoyed “having nuanced discussions about the Bible as we read through Philippians in our Bible course this semester.”

“The community and fellowship facilitated by and found within Christian Union has been a great blessing in my life,” he said. “Christian Union has helped to shape me into a leader by first guiding me to seek God in all that I do and every decision I make, and then by drawing me into roles of responsibility that provide opportunities for both organizing and facilitating Christian Union events.”

Jim Thomforde, Christian Union’s ministry director at Cornell said the leadership exhibited by students like Brubaker and Spies is emblematic of an overall desire for students with CU Vita to seek the Lord wholeheartedly.

“We continue to be encouraged by the ways that our students are growing and maturing in Christ, and the ways that they are reaching out with the gospel of Christ at Cornell,” he said.

“We are encouraged that an increasing number of students are feeling led to seek the Lord for personal renewal and wider revival together with their friends. God is working in powerful ways through these students.”

For CU Vita, the annual Christmas party was a wonderful way to gather and celebrate the birth of Christ and also give thanks for an extraordinary semester.

“As we look back on the semester, we are grateful for God’s gracious and powerful work in our midst,” Jim Thomforde said. “He has spoken through His Word, brought new believers to faith, and shined His light on the campus of Cornell through this amazing group of students.”

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