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March 25, 2022

Holsey ’22, a Student of the Word, Starts New Chapter of Life

By Anne Kerhoulas, Staff Writer

Christian Union ministry fellows pour time, love, and energy into the students in their ministries with the hope that when they graduate and move into the next stage of life they will be equipped, spiritually mature, and grounded in Christ. Savannah Holsey, Cornell ’22, is a representation of just that.

1 A Cornell Savannah

Though Holsey didn’t join Christian Union until her sophomore spring when a friend invited her to a Christian Union Vita dinner, she quickly found a home in the ministry, attending Bible courses, making friends, and becoming a leader the following fall. 

Holsey’s spring (2020), of course, ended abruptly as she and every other college student in America were sent home due to the pandemic. But this unexpected twist didn’t deter her. She continued to Zoom in for Bible courses and stay connected to the CU Vita community.  

It was the Christian Union Bible course that spurred Holsey into a stage of growth, as she began to study Scripture more seriously. 

“For me, it was a really unique and nourishing experience. Up until that point, I had never studied the Word so in-depth. To learn and extend my own knowledge and learn from people who knew more than me was amazing,” reflects Holsey. “Even when Bible course went online, it was refreshing; I needed that experience to stay in community while isolated in the pandemic. Bible course really helped me in my own relationship with God. I started studying the Bible on my own that semester.”

But getting into the Word of God regularly and more deeply was only the beginning. A few months later, Holsey started co-leading a Bible course for freshmen.

“Leading a Bible course helped my relationship with God in that I always wanted to make sure I was knowledgeable about what I was teaching. I was studying and diving deeper to answer questions that came up,” she said. 

Truly the gift and the burden of leadership brought much fruit to Holsey’s spiritual life as she was invited to step up her own commitment to the Word for the sake of others. It was then that she began to realize she needed more structure and consistency in her spiritual life. She began to spend time in Scripture and prayer for an hour in the morning and in the evening. She led the freshman Christian Union Bible course entitled “The Seeking God Lifestyle,” which challenges readers to pursue this kind of spiritual discipline. And Holsey took it seriously, incorporating daily time of Bible reading and prayer to her mornings and evenings. 

“Last semester, I realized that my time with God was getting away from me. I would try to wake up early and be in the Bible, but was going to bed late. I needed to change my perspective,” she said. “I thought, ‘What if I committed to a friend that I would meet them every day and then never showed up?’ I applied that to my relationship with God and also reminded myself that God is trying to give me something when I meet with Him.”

As Holsey’s pursuit of God continued, He led her down new paths of seeking and knowing Him, namely into fasting.

“I started off the year with a seven-day fast, which was a really good experience. It was the longest I had ever fasted, and doing it on my own showed me that God is sufficient to do whatever he calls me to,” she said. “After that, I felt led to fast the first few days of each month. It helps me stay grounded and recenter myself on what God has called me to.”

As Holsey prepares to launch into the next phase of life after college—working for Deloitte in New York City—she is already making plans to ensure the transition will be marked by Christian community. Holsey, who hails from the greater New York area, began to look into local churches she could attend as early as last summer.  

“I’m at a transition point in my life. I’m a going to be working full time—it’s the start of my adult life, I’m not dependent on my parents. I want to start that part of my life on the right foot,” Holsey said. “So I’ve been proactive about seeking [a local church community] out, getting immersed in community before I get busy with everyday work pressure.”

Holsey has already joined a small group at the church she will attend after graduation, which happens to be led by a former Christian Union employee, Linnette Pilar. 

“It has been a joy to see the way Savannah has grown in seeking the Lord this past year,” says Liz Thomforde, a ministry fellow at Cornell. “She has been blessed and edified through her times of fasting and prayer and through her dedicated time in the Word.  She is already actively seeking out a church and community of believers in the city she plans to move to this summer.  Savannah is an inspiration to all those around her and she is so grateful for all the ways God has blessed and matured her through her times of seeking Him.”  

So much of the work and life of ministry happens in the small, daily decisions to pursue Jesus, to respond to His invitations, and to slowly grow in maturity. What a shining example of a life set on following Christ. 

RELATED: Want to go deeper in your faith? Click here to receive a free download of Christian Union’s "Seeking God Lifestyle” Bible Course Manual.