Learn About/Subscribe:
Christian Union
Christian Union: The Magazine
January 9, 2024

Columbia Students Emboldened for Christ

By erin conner, writer and communications associate

Craig Holliday and Viviana Hinojosa, the Ministry Director and the Women's Ministry Fellow at Christian Union Lumine, loaded up a bus full of 33 Columbia University students and took them on a trip an hour north of New York City to the Warwick Conference Center for their '23 fall conference. This incredible time of fellowship, worship, Scripture reading, and prayer was built around the theme "Marvelous Light," based on 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (ESV). 

Christian Union Lux at Yale


At the conference, Holliday and Hinojosa spoke about the beauty of being brought out of darkness, what it means to live in the light, and how to bring that light to the world around us. The students spent time in small groups for discussion and prayer, sharing their thoughts and questions with one another. This conference served as a powerful time of seeking God for CU Lumine students and a meaningful time to bond with one another.

"It’s been incredible to see how on fire for the Lord the women of CU Lumine are and to see their desire to create meaningful relationships with one another. We have one freshman girl who very recently gave her life to Christ," Hinojosa shared. This freshman student, like others, got involved with Christian Union through a Freshman Welcoming Campaign event with no prior knowledge of Jesus. 

Hinojosa said, "This student is now one of CU Lumine's most consistent members. She shows up to Bible Course every week, attends Sunday and Wednesday night prayer, goes to Illumina every Thursday, and attends many events held by our Socials Team. She is on fire for God and constantly seeking to learn more about Him. Some of our sophomore and freshman girls have come around her to encourage her as she begins her journey of walking with the Lord."  This kind of support helps to create the type of healthy community that Christian Union works hard to provide freshmen when they arrive at college. 

Since 2011, Christian Union faculty and students at Columbia have invested much time and effort into helping the incoming freshman class know that they are loved and valued by God and that they have an alternative to the destructive choices that college culture holds the potential to promote. 

CU Lumine students currently meet every day of the week for prayer. On Sundays, student leaders host a weekly dinner and prayer night. Each week, members of the Bible Courses take turns cooking dinner for the entire group. Following dinner, they enter into an hour of prayer together. 

Christian Union Lumine students pray at 9 am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. On Wednesdays, they meet at 8 pm for prayer, and on Thursdays, they do a prayer walk around Columbia’s campus at 7:45 am to pray for revival. On Fridays, the students fast together. They break fast together at 3 pm with an hour of prayer for revival at their school. These devoted students are persevering in prayer as they desperately desire to see the Lord's light conquer the darkness of anxiety, fear, anger, and depression, which is prevalent not just at Columbia but at many of our nation's colleges. 

In addition to prayer, the Outreach Team sets up tables in highly visible spaces on campus each Friday, coming up with a different question each week to write on a white board to entice their fellow peers to engage in kind and respectful discussions over coffee and donuts. CU Lumine students "table" for about three hours each week. These outreach events have inspired many wonderful interactions with students, leading all who are involved to be hopeful about how God is working in students' lives at this school.  

Through prayer, fasting, fellowship, outreach, and Bible Courses– the students of CU Lumine are being equipped as leaders to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called them out of darkness and into the marvelous light. 

Let us pray that many more students at Columbia have ears to hear this life-giving proclamation as many search for a way out of personal and cultural darkness. Let us cling to the words recorded in John, "In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:4-5). And let us pray that God receives the glory that is His, and His alone, at one of America's most influential institutions and cities.

Join us in praying for Christian Union Lumine here.

Learn more about the ten strategic academic institutions where Christian Union serves here