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Carrie Sheffield, a Harvard alumna and a member of Christian Union America, is releasing a memoir...
September 26, 2022

 

Given the heightened attention the subject of justice has received in the church and wider society in the last number of years, Christian Union spent months examining the Scriptures, consulting with many inside and outside the organization and seeking the Lord to put into words the ministry’s perspective on this important issue. You may also download this Justice Statement in pdf form.


     Affirming Humanity and Rejecting the Sin of Partiality

  1. We reject racism as totally inconsistent with Christianity and as the sin of partiality, which God detests. God shows no partiality towards people based on their outward appearance and neither should we. He deals with all people according to their conduct. (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11)
  2. We affirm that personal acts of discrimination based on race1 or ethnicity, as well as systems or institutions that discriminate based on race or ethnicity are to be identified, renounced, and reformed. (Deuteronomy 1:17; James 2:1-9)
  3. We affirm that every person is created in the image of God and inherently worthy of respect. (James 2:1-9)
  4. We treat people of every ethnic background with kindness, acceptance, life, grace, forgiveness, and generosity. (Romans 14:8-10)
  5. We refuse to give place to divisive social and broadcast media that separates people of different races and we refuse to believe the worst about people of different ethnicities. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
  6. We are careful to avoid and combat the unforgiving culture of rash and unjustifiable condemnation of others as racist in either a public or private setting. Additionally, we affirm that no person is inherently racist or otherwise sinful just for being a member of a race. (Exodus 20:16; 1 Peter 2:1)
  7. We overlook offenses, and if it’s needed to have a private word with someone, we do it with love and grace. We seek unity and healing, not division. When we fail at any one of these godly aspirations, we repent and receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing through Christ. (Colossians 3:12-17; 1 John 1:9)
  8. We affirm that all nations, ethnicities, and people groups are established by God and redeemed through faith in Christ to persist into eternity. (Revelation 5:7)
  9. We reject the tendency to problematize every circumstance so as to seek out and promote victim/oppressor narratives. In addition to denouncing true victimization and oppression as stated above, we further believe that Christ has given us the power of God’s Spirit and His truth so that, despite human weakness and sin, we can bless, help, heal, overcome, reconcile, and redeem in His name. (Romans 8:18-39)
  10. As Christians, our primary identity is in Christ, even while recognizing that the beautiful racial and ethnic distinctions will continue in Heaven. The New Testament subjugates all identifiers to the Lordship of Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

    Affirming Christian Unity and Rejecting Division
  11. We affirm that the unity of the Body of Christ is founded on repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)
  12. Christian unity entails God’s intentional diversity of gifts and callings. These differences should not lead to disunity or rivalry, but unity in Christ should prevail as we appreciate the Spirit’s work in other Christians while maintaining our own unique work from the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
  13. We affirm the need for each Christian to preserve Christian unity through love, forbearance, forgiveness, wisdom, faith, hope, joy, peace-making, prayer, humility, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. (Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-11)
  14. Christians have the right to follow their own consciences where it does not contradict the Scriptures, and all believers must welcome one another in Christ and refuse to allow secondary convictions to cause division in the church. As Christians, we do not have the right to look down on another Christian or disassociate from another Christian because of differences of opinion on secondary issues. (Romans 14:11-13)
  15. We affirm the need for mature discourse on controversial topics. We recognize that sincere, devout Christians can hold legitimately different views on important societal issues and we do not take offense or react emotionally when hearing differing views. (Romans 14:1-23; James 1:19-20; 3:13-18)
  16. We affirm Christian Union’s value of intellectual orientation. When disparities between populations occur or when anecdotes of mistreatment between races are cited, we investigate all sides of an issue to discover the truth. (Proverbs 18:17; 1 Corinthians 14:20)

    Affirming Christian Union’s Calling and Rejecting Diversions from Our Mission
  17. We reaffirm that the sole basis for Christian Union’s ministry is the Bible and not a social theory or philosophy. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:15-16)
  18. We reaffirm Christian Union’s specific calling from God to develop and connect transformative Christian leaders and to promote national revival and reformation.
  19. God raises up various ministries for various purposes, and CU is focused on its particular mission of Christian leadership development. Each Christian agency cannot do all things and solve every problem. (Galatians 2:7-9; 2 Corinthians 10:13-16)
  20. Christian Union aspires to reflect diversity in personnel, levels of leadership, collateral, student involvement, conferences, programming and everywhere else. Maintaining diversity is a priority at the various levels of the organization. Although the ministry highly values diversity, it does not force diversity with non-qualified candidates, but rather works hard to identify and recruit qualified candidates from all ethnic backgrounds.

. . . .

1. The Bible identifies groups of people by their faith, sex, age, family, clan, tribe, language, and nationality, but never by skin color. The primary New Testament word used to categorize people groups is ethnos, which is translated in English as “nation.” However, “race” is used in this document according to modern common terminology rather than out of concern for language that is most consistent with the Scriptures. 
June 30, 2014

A Note from Founder & President Matt Bennett

The majority of America’s most strategic universities were expressly founded as Christian colleges. But over the years these gradually shed their religious affiliation and became secular institutions. I love these universities (I directed a ministry at Princeton for many years before founding Christian Union), including my alma mater, Cornell. It grieves me to see where they are today, spiritually and intellectually. In addition, these institutions, and the ideologies they promote, will shape American culture for decades to come.

leaders matter screenshot 2Our Leaders Matter video was created to show the remarkably disproportionate impact just a handful of universities have in America.

If we are going to change the world, we need, by God's power, to see these campuses radically changed. The Lord put on my heart to seek an increasing and dramatic spiritual revival at these very schools. So, in 2002, I launched Christian Union at the campus I knew so well by that time, Princeton. The Christian leadership development ministry would take a strategic approach to national culture change; by bringing sweeping spiritual transformation to the nation’s most influential universities and to key cities that shape American culture.

Everything in our university ministry is tailored to the academically intense and secular environments of these schools. The ministry faculty we hire is of a caliber that can teach and train students who are bright and motivated, and who take readily to leadership development, yet often know very little about Scripture. The programs tested and refined at Princeton were rolled out to additional campuses in the years that followed.

We have since launched our first city ministry in New York, to begin developing networks of influential Christian leaders, and more recently a web-based ministry with a much broader scope, Christian Union Day & Night.

What is the long-term goal? Christian Union envisions a country in which the Gospel has penetrated every people group and where Christians, filled with the Holy Spirit, are seeking God as the defining characteristic of their lives. Our desire is that this spiritual vibrancy is ongoing. 

Scripture and more recent history make plain the intimate connection between widespread, heartfelt revival and social reformation. Reformation includes rolling back destructive ideologies and reversing the harm they inflict on a society. Reformation involves men and women embracing and promoting what God loves; there is renewed emphasis on life-giving social norms that benefit all, especially the most vulnerable.

Would you join me seeking the Lord with great energy, asking God to soften our hearts and move us to desire Him more than we do today? Please explore this website to learn more about the ministry. I've unpacked our mission in five parts below. You also might enjoy this interview I did with CBN, which they ran in 2017:


We need partners like you to accelerate this exciting work, and I invite you to join Christian Union to bring God greater glory in the United States, to develop godly leaders, and, God willing, to use a transformed America to truly bless the world. 

mattbennett signature blue
Matthew W. Bennett 
Founder and President

 

Learn More

Christian Union is: (1) developing leaders; (2) with spiritual depth; (3)  in strategic places; (4) for cultural engagement; (5) to change the world.
  
June 30, 2014

Five Crucial Aspects 

Christian Union was founded in 2002 to develop and connect transformative Christian leaders. There are five elements of the Christian Union mission, the fourth is cultural engagement.

Christian Union exists to develop men and women who are prepared and inclined to champion Christ in their positions of leadership. Our country, and the world, need Christians who are ready and able to embody the gospel and pursue cultural change that reflects biblical values. It is the call of all believers to pursue justice, to stand for the oppressed, to govern with humility, and to bring the good news to the ends of the earth. But students at these prestigious colleges are uniquely poised to engage our culture because they will find themselves in significant positions of power and influence. The goal of cultural engagement is nothing less than cultural renewal and national revival.

Inspiring Examples

Working with passionate and gifted students, Christian Union ministry faculty members have coached and developed students to lead in profound ways.

  • Courtney McEachon '15 organized what is now the annual Pro-Life Conference at Yale which aims to make the pro-life vision intelligible on college campuses that rarely hear this position.
  • At Harvard, students involved with Christian Union annually engage the atheist/humanist student group on the nature of God, goodness, and suffering, in debates that attract hundreds of students.
  • At Columbia, some required classes engage Scripture but teach it as mythology or a work of fiction. A ministry fellow was invited to teach from his doctoral thesis on Ecclesiastes in a class. This is a massive opportunity to meet non-Christian students on their turf and directly confront their biases.
  • Owing to the high level of student-athlete involvement in the ministry, Christian Union ministry faculty have served as chaplains to sports teams at Columbia, Cornell, and Stanford.
  • A student at Harvard Law School, Trenton Van Oss, penned an article for Harvard Law Review addressing religious liberty issues.

God is at work at these universities and major cities. Christian Union wants to be there as well, fervently seeking the Lord, equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, sharing the gospel, and giving glory to God.

 

You Can Make a Difference

  1. Pray for the hearts of those poised to lead society would turn to the Lord.
  2. Connect others to the ministry of Christian Union.
  3. Give generously to develop more godly leaders to transform American culture.


LEARN MORE
To Change the World >
June 30, 2014

Seeing an Opportunity, Praying & Working to Bring Change

 In 2002, Christian Union launched its first leadership development ministry at Princeton, one of the nation's foremost universities. The ministry's founder and president, Matt Bennett, had long observed the influence that top secular universities possess when it comes to producing many of the nation’s most prominent leaders. He had a conviction that US culture could and would be changed as these schools were influenced by the Gospel.

As a student member of Cru in the 1980s and later as a staff member and director at Princeton for more than a decade, Bennett (’88, MBA ’89), a Cornell alumnus himself, saw firsthand the impact a campus ministry could have if it were tailored to the spiritual, intellectual, and relational needs of highly intelligent, goal-oriented students.

The ministry launched first at Princeton University with just three students constituting its first Bible course. Today, the ministry at Princeton engages more than 400 students in its weekly Bible courses. 

On each campus where it operates, Christian Union’s highly credentialed ministry and teaching fellows mentor students and lead challenging, academically oriented Bible courses designed to help students develop a robust understanding of Scripture and Christian worldview. The ministries also host conferences, leadership lecture series, and evangelistic outreach events as they seek to change the spiritual climate at very secular institutions.

Thanks to the early lessons learned at schools like Princeton, and God's gracious provision at every step, each campus launched in the years since 2002 has experienced steady, fairly predictable growth patterns.

The natural progression of supporting alumni of the ministry as they transitioned into careers in major cities such as New York, and the strategic impact of such cities, led to the launch of the Cities ministries, which serve alumni as well as professionals.

Christian Union's most recent ministry, Christian Union Day & Night, was launched in 2016. Day & Night's mission is to promote spiritual strengthening in Christians across America, helping them thrive in order to make an impact in an increasingly secular culture by covenanting together for successive spiritual initiatives. Given the spiritual state of the nation, nothing less than the full power and presence of God will enable Christians to glorify him in all his splendor.

To view our partnerships, click here.

Historic Timeline 

Christian Union Founded 2002
Princeton ministry launched 2002
Harvard College ministry launched 2008
Yale ministry launched 2010
Columbia ministry launched 2011
Dartmouth ministry launched 2011
Christian Union New York launched 2012
Cornell ministry launched 2012
Harvard Law ministry launched 2013
Penn ministry launched 2013
Brown ministry launched 2014
Stanford ministry launched 2016
Christian Union Day and Night launched 2016

Learn More

Visiting campus ministry or city ministry pages, signing up to receive campus or city-specific prayer requests, and supporting the ministry financially at a specific campus or in the city.
June 30, 2014

Learn More About Christian Union

nexus 3

We believe in an almighty, holy, and righteous God, who, in His divine mercy and love, provided the complete atonement for sin through Jesus Christ. What an awesome God! We are passionate about pursuing Christ and His kingdom. It is the heart of this ministry effort. We give Him all the glory, for He is worthy.

We believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to transform the lives of men and women who lead American society; and every person, from the mightiest to “the least of these,” are blessed and more apt to flourish as human beings when leaders exhibit and promote biblically shaped, Kingdom-of-God values, here and now.

We believe that, while one person can bring about significant change, systemic change occurs when leaders are connected to one another, coordinating efforts, and challenging and inspiring each other to greater faithfulness and impact.


We believe that the time to develop Christian leaders to transform culture is now.  Will you help by praying or by becoming a ministry partner and donating?
June 30, 2014

Headquarters, IT

Peter Ahlin

Chief Operating Officer

mattRaised in Raleigh, Peter earned his BS in Mathematics/Economics and MBA degrees from Duke University.  After graduate school, he worked for more than fifteen years in financial risk management, founding his firm's continental European office in Krakow, Poland, directing the global analytics practice, and later leading the group responsible for people and organizational development, recruiting, training, employee experience, and core HR functions. He also worked as strategic business advisor to for-profit and non-profit organizations, providing interest rate and currency risk management, analytics, business expansion, benefits optimization, and mission/purpose/values expertise.

 

Peter currently resides in North Carolina with his family.

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Vickie Coonan

Administrative Assistant

vickie coonanVickie joined Christian Union in 2017 to support the VP of Operations and the team in Princeton. She brings to Christian Union more than nine years of administrative experience at Star 99.1 FM, a Christian radio station in the New York metropolitan area. Prior to that, she volunteered at various organizations and Bible studies in the Princeton area in leadership roles,·all while performing her duties as a Domestic Engineer for 17 years.

Vickie grew up in Maryland and earned a BS in business and finance from Mount St. Mary's University. In 1985, she moved to New Jersey to be near her college sweetheart, John, whom she married in 1989. Vickie and John live in Princeton and have three wonderful children, Jimmy, Marykate, and Joe.

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Leslie Baier Muscolo

Executive Assistant

Leslie.MuscoloLeslie joined Christian Union in the beginning of 2013 out of a desire to serve in Christian ministry and currently supports Operations and Christian Union Universities. Led to Christ in her freshman year of college, Leslie has a special affinity for campus ministry.

Receiving a degree in Social Sciences and the Visual Arts from SUNY Purchase in Westchester, NY, Leslie has had a variety of work experience ranging from photography gigs, newspaper and magazine ad layout, leading children’s music and play programs, account executive/photo research work in NYC, and managing a portrait studio.  Outside of Christian Union, Leslie keeps herself busy with her photography and floor plan business which she founded in 2008. Her husband, Patrick, joined the business in 2015 and can often teams up with her on home shoots, measuring and drawing the home’s layout.

In her free time, Leslie teaches in the children’s ministry in her church and enjoys walking or running along the canal, enjoying a mochaccino while listening to local music groups, and working in her garden. She can occasionally be found on the basketball court shooting hoops.

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David Johnson

IT Director 

daveDavid grew up in Southeastern Pennsylvania and graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Marketing. David served with Campus Crusade for Christ for four years, first working in their development office, in major gifts, and then as Director of Development Services. Subsequently, David earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Eastern University. He has worked in the technology sector for EDS in quality assurance and as a marketing manager for Covad Communications. 

Dave was married to his late wife, Jennifer, for 24 years. Dave and Jennifer served in China together in 2002-2003, teaching and sharing their lives and their faith. Dave joined Christian Union in 2008 with Jennifer's loving support until she went home to be the Lord in July of 2020. He and Jennifer have three sons: Andrew, Samuel, and Ben. Dave currently resides in the greater Philadelphia area. 


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Helene Ulrich

Office Manager

heleneHelene grew up in Edison, New Jersey. She taught high school for ten years and then went to work for AT&T in a variety of capacities, including Programmer, Systems Analyst, Project Manager, and Quality Manager.

After twenty years in the telecommunications industry, she joined Christian Union in 2003. She has two daughters, Elaina and Anne.

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Contact the communications staff by email using: Firstname.Lastname@ChristianUnion.org
June 30, 2014

Developing Leaders at Strategic Institutions


NATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Jason Walsh, Vice President, CUU
Adrian Schoonmaker, Director of Ministry Support 
Russ Louk, CUU Ministry Operations Director
View bios >




CHRISTIAN UNION MINISTRY FACULTY / LOCAL LEADERSHIP

Brown University

Sheri Casali, Ministry Fellow 
View bio >

Columbia University

Craig Holliday, Ministry Director
Viviana Hinojosa, Ministry Fellow
Ayomide Tikare, Administrative Assistant and House Manager
View bios >

Cornell University

Marcus Buckley, Ministry Director
Liz Thomforde, Ministry Fellow

Lea Ann Buckley, Administration/Ministry Associate
View bios >

Dartmouth College

Timothy Pillsbury, Ministry Director

View bio >

Harvard College

David Duren, Ministry Director
James Galvin, Ministry Fellow
Fady Ghobrial, Ministry Fellow 
Sadie Sasser, Ministry Fellow
View bios >

Harvard Law School

Justin Yim, Ministry Director
View Bio >

Princeton University

Mike Vincent, Ministry Director
Qwynn Gross, Ministry Fellow
View bios >

Stanford University 

Justin Woyak, Senior Ministry Fellow
Susan Brown, Ministry Fellow
View bios >

University of Pennsylvania

Cory Lotspeich, Ministry Director
Sarah Hickenbotham, Ministry Fellow
Collin Frisch, Ministry Intern
View bios >

Yale University

Jeff Walsh, Ministry Director
Chitra Kovoor, Minstry Fellow
Michael Racine, Ministry Fellow and Writer
Bethany Walsh, Administrative Assistant
View bios >

June 30, 2014

Serving Christian Union's Financial Partners 


Juli Chezem

Director of Development

pattyJuli is the Director of Development for the Western region of the United States. She has a passion for developing long lasting relationships and enjoys connecting financial partners to help advance the mission and vision of Christian Union.

Juli has spent most of her career in various avenues of sales and marketing, responsible for growing and servicing her customer base throughout the U.S. and Europe. She started her development career with XO Marriage, founded by Pastor Jimmy Evans. During that time, the Lord revealed her love for building relationships and working with a Christian non-profit. Juli has lived in Texas all of her life and attended Texas Christian University where she graduated with a B.S. in Business Merchandising. She is blessed to call herself mom to a wonderful daughter, son and daughter-in-law. When Juli is not working, she enjoys spending time with family along with traveling to new places to experience God's beautiful creation.

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David Cole

Director of Technical Services

DavidCole2021David brings over ten years of fundraising operations experience serving organizations across the religious, social service, and education sectors. David specializes in helping non-profits optimize donor databases, streamline processes, and enhance data-driven strategic planning efforts.

David is a native Texan, a devout Catholic, and an Eagle Scout. He lives in Dallas-Ft. Worth area with his wife, Jennifer, and two daughters. He earned a BA in Communications from the University of Texas in San Antonio.


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Landon Eckhardt

Director of Development

LandonE2018Landon represents Christian Union in the Northeast Region, working closely with ministry financial partners, including individuals, churches, and foundations. His role is to steward their participation in developing Christian leaders to impact culture across the country.

Born and raised in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas metroplex, Landon earned a BSBA in finance from Samford University in 2009, an MDiv from Palmer Theological Seminary in 2014, and an MBA from Eastern University in 2017. Prior to joining Christian Union, Landon worked in development at The Bowery Mission in New York City where he managed a team overseeing donor relations, donation processing and receipting, and various data and reporting mechanisms.   

Landon and his wife, Amanda, currently live in New York City and are avid foodies, coffee lovers, and enjoy spending quality time with family and friends.

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Patty Fillman

Administrative Assistant

pattyPatty provides crucial administrative support to the development team. She graduated from Mansfield University with a degree in Early Childhood Education and has worked a variety of secretarial and managerial jobs while fulfilling her primary responsibility of raising her children. 

Patty has three wonderful, grown children: Adam, Rachel, and Hannah. Between them, she and her husband, Jim, have four children and three grandchildren.

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Deborah Oladapo

Data Director

Deborah-OladapoDeborah grew up in Auburn, Alabama. She attended the University of Alabama where she received her BA in International Studies and Spanish and her MBA. She spent eight years working as an IT professional with Rohm and Haas Company, The Dow Chemical Company, and with a non–profit community college before joining Christian Union. 

Deborah is married to Abiola. They have two children and live in Columbus, Indiana. 
 
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Contact the Christian Union development staff by email using: Firstname.Lastname@ChristianUnion.org
June 30, 2014

Sharing Christian Union's Mission and Vision

Patrick Dennis 

Creative Director

Patrick DennisPatrick oversees the design and creative direction of Christian Union's brand communications. He has spent more than twenty years helping for-profit companies and non-profit organizations tell their story well. From 1999 to 2009, he served as the president and creative director of a brand strategy and communication design firm that he co-founded in Northern Virginia. During that time, he had the opportunity to consult with and serve a wide range of companies, as well as organizations ranging from well-funded startups to Fortune 500 companies. Upon selling his share of the firm in 2009, he began consulting with Christian Union and a small number of other clients.

He and Karey live in Northern Virginia and have three children. They enjoy skiing and diving together, and Patrick has been known to be found on the golf course occasionally.

Erin Conner 

 Writer and Communications Associate 

Erin Conner holds two Bachelor’s degrees in Rhetoric and in Political Science from the Pennsylvania State University, as well as a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Maryland. While at Penn State, Erin earned the “Outstanding and Value Service Award” from the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General for her work in mediation for the Bureau of Consumer Protection. 


Erin began her educational career as the Director of the Academy at Mindworks Learning Institute near Washington D.C. that received an award for excellence by Johns Hopkins University. Erin, then, taught in both private and public school settings until starting her own educational service business near Bucknell University where she also served as a Board Member for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce to help support the growth and education of local businesses. Erin founded Telos Educational Ministries, a non-profit organization that empowered under-represented students to gain access to outstanding educational resources to create significant and measurable improvements in their learning and life. 


Erin and her family moved to New Hampshire where she worked as the director of youth and college ministry through her local church. Before working on the communications team at Christian Union, Erin served as a Ministry Fellow for Christian Union Vox at Dartmouth, where she led a Bible Course and mentored young women. 


Erin has published three books: Seek, Seeking God, Finding Life: A Graduate’s Guide to Faith, and Know, a Scripture-based children’s book. She currently lives near Pittsburgh, PA with her husband, Joe, who coaches college men’s lacrosse, and their two youngest children: Gia and Jace.


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June 30, 2014

Serving Alumni of Christian Union Universities' Ministries 

Christine Foster

Director of Alumni Mentoring

Christine2020Christine was raised as an Episcopalian and renewed her faith as a young adult by participating in the Alpha Program at St. Bartholomew's in New York City. A native Californian, she earned a BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania. 
 
Christine's first career was as a newspaper and magazine reporter, including stints at Stanford's alumni magazine, Forbes, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She most recently served as Director of Development for The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale and has also worked in development and alumni relations at two private schools in Connecticut.
 
Christine lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.



Susan Brown

Cornerstone Partner Coordinator

Susan grew up in California and can’t imagine living anywhere else. She came to faith at an early age and has sought out opportunities to grow and serve Jesus in her church and local community ever since. 


Over the past twenty-five years Susan has served in a wide range of ministry and leadership roles, including the nonprofit sector and the local public schools. She previously served as a volunteer Bible Course leader for Christian Union, helping to launch the very first women’s Bible Course at Stanford. She looks forward to being back on campus, spending time with students.


A graduate of Biola University, Susan enjoys travel, gardening, reading, baking and spending time with her three children and friends. 




 
Contact the Christian Union alumni engagement staff by email using: Firstname.Lastname@ChristianUnion.org
June 30, 2014

Developing and Connecting Christian Leaders Across America

Grace Ann Arvey

Director, Christian Union America

Grace Ann brings a lifelong passion for seeing the good news of the gospel transforming people's lives in community. This passion led her to spend her early career years as an elementary educator at an inner city school. She received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Covenant College and her M.Ed. in English Language Learning from Western Governors University.  When the Lord opened the door for her to work alongside her husband's financial company as an executive assistant, she learned that she loved working with adults to transform culture from the top-down.  
 
Grace Ann resides in the scenic city of Chattanooga with her husband and their two toddlers--one who is biological and one who is adopted. During her free time, she loves to be outdoors exploring God's beautiful creation, hiking and boating with her family.



Joseph Blodgett

Project Manager
Christian Union America & Christian Union New York
 
Joseph Blodgett is a dedicated apprentice to Jesus, a devoted husband and father, and a fervent champion of biblical literacy and spiritual formation.
 
With his wife and three children by his side, Joseph has served as an Event Director and Teaching Pastor for both local and national ministries. He graduated summa cum laude from Liberty University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Biblical and Theological Studies. He soon will embark on a new educational (online) journey, deciding between Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and Duke Divinity School.

In addition to his formal ministry roles, he and his wife oversee a house church (The Garden) where they foster others through deep discipleship and genuine Christian community. In his free time, he can often be found engrossed in a good book, savoring quality moments with his family and friends, and frequenting local eateries throughout East Tennessee.


June 30, 2014

Developing Leaders at Strategic Institutions

Jason Walsh

Vice President, Christian Union Universities
Bio coming soon.



Adrian Schoonmaker

Director of Ministry Support, Christian Union Universities

Adrian2021Adrian Schoonmaker began leading in faith-based and non-profit environments in his early 20s. For more than two decades, he has been leading staff and volunteers in universities, NGOs, churches and ministries—even the broadcast journalism newsroom.

 

Just before coming to Christian Union, Adrian served for 10 years as Executive Pastor at Grace Community Church in Orange County, New York, leading as “chief of staff” across nine locations in the Hudson Valley. Adrian led at Grace during years of rapid change, with budgets, attendance, facilities and personnel multiplying at an exponential rate. Grace was named repeatedly among America’s fastest-growing churches, and one of the “Top 400” most influential churches in the United States.

 

Adrian majored in Pastoral Ministry during undergrad, then earned two master’s degrees (M.A., Journalism and M.A., Practical Theology), and soon graduates with a doctorate in “Leadership & Ministry Management” from Trinity (“TEDS”) in Chicago. His dissertation focuses on models of spiritual leadership development among West Point cadets.

 

Adrian and his wife, Jocelyn, live in Holland, Michigan, with their six children—ranging in ages from high school to kindergarten.





Russ Louk

Ministry Operations Director, Christian Union Universities

Russ LBorn and raised in Farmingdale, New Jersey, Russ earned his MA in Christian Ministry Leadership, MDIV in Christian Leadership & Church Ministries, and DMIN in Expository Preaching and Teaching from Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary. Shortly after graduating high school, Russ decided to serve his country and joined the United States Air Force.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Russ ended his 27-year career in the military to pursue the call to full-time ministry. He has worked in a variety of ministry roles such as Ministry Internship Director, Leadership Community Teaching Director, and Pastor of Leadership Development in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Russ joined Christian Union in the Spring of 2023..
September 15, 2012

Five Crucial Aspects 

Christian Union was founded in 2002 to develop and connect transformative Christian leaders. The mission can be unpacked into five aspects. This is the second of the five.

To make a difference in society, Christian leaders must be devout in their faith and able to integrate that faith with boldness and discernment in their various leadership capacities. Christian Union emphasizes in-depth biblical teaching and coaching, with an emphasis on seeking God wholeheartedly.

“I honestly cannot picture my college years without Christian Union. It’s been such a foundational community and really helped me learn what it looks like to pursue a life for God.” - Caroline, Princeton Class of ’22

“All throughout high school, I had placed reason before faith, as if it contained the greater truth….When I joined Christian Union, through the Bible Courses, and ministry fellows and directors, they really taught me to challenge that assumption I had made, as I saw that God is the arbiter of reason.”
- Timothy Kinnamon, Columbia Class of ’20

“I don’t know where I would be without this Bible Course. It has been one of the most important parts of my college experience. I look forward to seeing the girls every single week and gathering together in the Word to study it together.” Maria Siciliano, Cornell Class of ’22

“During this tumultuous period, prayer time was super refreshing for me. I was so grateful to be able to pray with my brothers and sisters in Christ and see how they depend on God in their daily lives.” - Katherine Wang, Harvard Class of ’23

“I really feel Christian Union cultivates – and helps satisfy – spirit hunger. In our Bible course, I’m learning so much I never would have considered before.”  - Josiah Jordan, Brown, Class of 2018

“Approaching the Word of God with academic rigor was really new to me, so I was excited to participate. You come away with a better understanding of what God is saying in His Word.” – Sybil Sam, Yale '13, Harvard Law School '16

“Before attending Christian Union’s Bible courses, I had never encountered the Scriptures in a rigorous, academic way...Now every page is relevant and instructional.” - Barrett Block, Penn, Class of 2016 

“I spend more time in the Word and in prayer and in fellowship than in any other time of my life.” - Rachel McKee, Dartmouth, Class of 2017 

The Spirit is stirring up spiritual hunger at these leading universities and in New York City. Will you help to change lives and US culture for Christ?

You Can Make a Difference

  1. Pray for the hearts of those poised to lead society would turn to the Lord.
  2. Connect others to the ministry of Christian Union.
  3. Give generously to develop more godly leaders to transform American culture.

LEARN MORE
At Strategic Places >
September 15, 2012

Five Crucial Aspects 

Christian Union was founded in 2002 to develop and connect transformative Christian leaders. The mission can be unpacked into five aspects. Developing leaders is the first of the five crucial aspects.

Leaders matter. In Scripture, God used Moses, Daniel, Esther, and Paul, all of whom were in highly leveraged positions, to advance His purposes in the world, and to bring glory to Himself. The top leaders of the next generation are attending a handful of universities today and working in key cities.

Leading Universities

Each fall, as thousands of students arrive at some of the nation’s most influential universities, Christian Union is there. The ministry works directly with students to share the Gospel and ensure these future leaders are, learning to seek God with energy and commitment, and gaining advanced leadership skills to be effective and influential for Him. Students who take part in Christian Union’s Bible courses, mentorship, and leadership coaching experience profound spiritual and leadership growth.

Major Cities

Role models of the movement to transform a major cultural center such as New York City include businessmen and politicians such as William Wilberforce, who abolished the slave trade, JC Penny and John Wanamaker, who built businesses on Christian principles, and numerous other Christian lay men and women who have used their positions for cultural impact. Biblical examples include Daniel who served King Nebuchadnezzar and Esther who used her position of influence as Queen of Persia to prevent a Jewish genocide.

Each of these individuals allowed God to work dramatically through them. On the way, however, each was either mentored or joined by a community of believers to challenge and encourage them. Together they accomplished far more than could ever be done by one lone person. The ministry offers professionals in New York City programs for spiritual and leadership growth tailored to demanding schedules and helps them build vibrant and interconnecting networks. 

The Spirit is stirring up spiritual hunger at some of the nation's leading universities and in New York City. Will you help share the Gospel and transform US culture?

You Can Make a Difference

  1. Pray for the hearts of those poised to lead society would turn to the Lord.
  2. Connect others to the ministry of Christian Union.
  3. Give generously to develop more godly leaders to transform American culture.

Learn More
With Spiritual Depth >
September 15, 2012

A Process of Drawing Close to God 

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Christian Union emphasizes a mindset and behaviors considered normative by Christians for centuries which have fallen out of practice in the US, save during periods of revival. These are characteristic of the international church, such as in Uganda, China and Korea, and include frequent prayer; large intake of Scripture; repentance; humility through fasting; perseverance; promptly obeying the Spirit; and extended times of gathering with fellow believers. Something as essential as seeking God entails attention, time, and energy.

Learn more about seven characteristics of a Seeking God Lifestyle.

September 15, 2012
Christian Union was founded in 2002 to develop and connect transformative Christian leaders. The mission can be unpacked in its five crucial elements. This is the third of five elements.

Leading Universities

Imagine entering a room in which are gathered the most influential leaders in the United States. You meet editors of major newspapers, presidents of universities, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, Supreme Court Justices, and current and former US Presidents. As you walk through this room, you discover that more than 60 percent of those you meet attended a small pool of US colleges and universities, no more than twenty. The schools include Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Harvard Law, Penn, Princeton, Stanford and Yale.

Just a few US schools and their alumni significantly shape American culture. That should give us pause. Over more than three centuries in the case of some of these universities, while extraordinary influence consolidated at these universities, they have become intensely secular. At most of these leading schools, students have little-to-no contact with Christianity; many have never even read a Bible. Click to Tweet The secularism promoted by these schools and their alumni affect us all, disproportionately shaping our economy, government, media, and education. That can change. Christian Union envisions a day when these schools bless the nation with Christian scholarship and thought leadership. God is presenting an opportunity to utterly transform the spiritual climate of these leading schools.

Major Cities

US culture is shaped by the daily decisions of industry leaders who either embrace secular values outright, or by believers who may not know how to integrate their faith and their profession, and so tacitly promote secular values. From Wall Street, to arts and entertainment, to local or national government, medicine, and other key fields, Christian Union New York is focused on helping believers to increase in spiritual maturity and fervency, connect with other Christian leaders, and gain tools to lead with excellence and in such a way as promotes godliness and genuine human flourishing.

The nation desperately needs godly leaders. Please help to develop courageous, faithful Christian leaders. 

You Can Make a Difference

  1. Pray for the hearts of those poised to lead society would turn to the Lord.
  2. Connect others to the ministry of Christian Union.
  3. Give generously to develop more godly leaders to transform American culture.


Learn More
For Cultural Engagement >
September 15, 2012

Five Crucial Aspects

Christian Union was founded in 2002 to develop and connect transformative Christian leaders. The mission can be unpacked into five aspects; this is the fifth.

National Focus, Global Implications

The primary focus of Christian Union is the renewing of the United States of America through its leadership and cultural institutions and by encouraging all Christians nationwide. The reason for the national focus is twofold. First, the nation has experienced sharp spiritual decline that needs to be reversed. Second, the spiritual vitality of the United States has a profound impact on the rest of the globe.

God loves each man, woman and child in the United States and offers reconciliation through the Gospel. The need to promote the Gospel and to renew a declining society is pressing, and the Lord has called this ministry to work faithfully to address it in the most strategic ways that it can identify.

The focus on the US anticipates a global impact: Historically, America has blessed the world by sending thousands of missionaries, and donating billions of dollars for international evangelization, development and poverty relief. That legacy is at risk because of increasing secularization of the country through its leaders, but it can be restored. The universities and key cities where Christian Union operates are cosmopolitan. The power of the Gospel, seeking God, and reforming society will have global reach as alumni fan out across the world, as international students do likewise or return home to work, and as professionals serve in other countries.

You Can Make a Difference

  1. Pray that the hearts of those poised to lead society would turn to the Lord.
  2. Connect others to the ministry of Christian Union.
  3. Give generously to develop more godly leaders to transform American culture.
September 15, 2012

Training Christian Leaders to Engage Culture

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We need Christians to assume positions of leadership across many vocations and to take the part of (and continue to take up) issues of justice. Christians who are isolated in a "holy huddle" either socially or intellectually will not change culture.



"What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects—with their Christianity latent...It is not the books written in direct defense of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materialistic assumptions...he would be troubled if, whenever he wanted a cheap popular introduction to some science, the best work on the market was always by a Christian." —C.S. Lewis, "Christian Apologetics," God in the Dock

 


There are numerous examples of Christian leaders whose lives inspire Christian Union to develop new generations of Christian leaders. C.S. Lewis himself is one of them.

The following five examples illustrate the range of social and cultural impact that Christians have when they submit their influence to God-honoring ends:

Five Examples of Inspiring Christian Leaders

C.S. Lewis (1898 – 1963)
The Oxford Scholar, novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, and Christian apologist wrote such classics as the Narnia Chronicles (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe etc.), Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, Surprised by Joy, and of course many other titles. He bridged academia and mass culture with popular works of fiction and non fiction, and compelling presentations of Christian worldview. We need many Christian to take the lead in academia, journalism, as essayists, cultural commentators, story tellers, filmmakers, and in many other fields, to impact our culture.

Dr. Ida Scudder (1870 –1960)
A third-generation American medical missionary in India, she was a graduate of Cornell Medical College, New York City, 1899; the first class at that school to accept women medical students. Ida had resolved not to become a medical missionary, but seeing women die in childbirth needlessly convinced her God wanted her to help as a physician. In 1918, she started one of Asia's foremost teaching hospitals, the Christian Medical College & Hospital, Vellore, India. She dedicated her skills to God. We need Christians in the medical fields, sciences, economy, and more, to do likewise.

George Gallup Jr. (1930 – 2011)
An American, George Gallup Jr. graduated with a degree in religion from Princeton, then worked at a ministry on Galveston Island in Texas. He considered becoming an Episcopal priest until he was drawn into work for his father's polling firm, where he worked from mid 1950s until 2004. He expanded the firm's surveys into religion, becoming one of the first pollsters to ask questions about organized religion and religious teachings and practice. Under Gallup Jr. the polling firm became a barometer of Americans' views on religion and politics. Late in life, he lamented that politicians had come to follow polls so closely; still he felt polling to be good for democracy. "It's removed power out of the hands of special interest groups...It's given people who wouldn't normally have a voice a voice."  We need Christians to lead in the social sciences, media, and more, to bring Christian values and perspective to bear on the pressing issues of our time.

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968)
A Baptist minister, King is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. His efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Remarkably, King balanced the tension between confrontation and nonviolence, and in 1964 he received the Nobel Peace Prize. Leading up to his death, he expanded his focus to include poverty and the Vietnam War. Just days after his assassination, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. We need Christians to lead on behalf of the oppressed, whether that means working to pass just laws, living and serving among those who suffer, or advocating for "the least of these."

Sandy McDonnell (1922 – 2012)
This engineer, businessman and philanthropist was the former chairman and chief executive officer of McDonnell Douglas Corporation, he also served as national president of the Boy Scouts of America and as chairman of Character Education Partnership. He became a Christian later in life and used his influence to institute a code of business ethics, one of the first of its kind. Following his retirement, he worked energetically to advance character training in public schools. We need many business leaders to implement Christian values in the marketplace and society.

Men and women poised to lead in their fields must be reached with the Gospel and equipped to serve effectively for God-honoring ends.

Networked Christian Leaders

Movements may be known by one leader, but it takes a network of high-level influencers to shift culture. 

One of the most successful examples of a modern network of Christians is the extraodinary group of believers who pooled their collective influence, resources, physical and spiritual energies together to form a group dubbed the Clapham Circle. In the 19th century, when a member of the British parliament, William Wilberforce, came to faith and dedicated his influence to abolishing slavery, these peers became a network - in fact, a community - of spiritual and practical encouragement. They leveraged their influence for God.



Movements may be known by one leader, but it takes a network of high-level influencers to shift culture.




After decades of toil, God used Wilberforce and this influential network of Christian believers working with him, to not only end slavery in the British empire, but also to usher in an era that honored virtue in a society that had fallen into deep darkness.

Together, the Clapham Circle—a small group that included writers, philanthropists, scholars, politicians, clergy and businessmen who were driven by their faith—literally changed the world. Their far-reaching impact included dramatic success in prison reform, education, integrity in politics, mission, medicine and cultural change.

Christian Union works to network together leaders of wholehearted devotion, who will have a greater impact together than they could ever have leading alone.

Please prayerfully consider how you can help. 
September 15, 2012

Honoring the Lord with Excellence

The nature and significance of Christian Union’s calling compels a culture of accountability. While our primary output or product as an organization is changed lives, we hold ourselves accountable for our diligence and progress.

Metrics are a means to the end of ensuring that accountability which, in turn, flows from the desire to honor God with our best efforts. We aspire to be as organizationally robust as some of the best well-run for-profit firms. From score-carding mechanisms, to assessing year-over-year results, to post-event analyses, we seek to continuously improve our performance and effectiveness.

Christian Union is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Christian Union is audited annually by an external firm. You can view these audited financial statements. The ministry highly values the contributions of financial partners and carefully manages every gift. We will respond to financial partners promptly with questions and requests for additional information. 
September 15, 2012

The Christian Union Difference

Christian Union tailors its ministry to people of high intellectual capacity whose knowledge of Scripture ranges from non-existent to well-developed. The ministry develops Bible courses, conferences, certifications, lectures, reading groups, and more, for our targeted audience. Christian Union ministry faculty are selected for their capacity to assess needs and to teach to this level.

The high-caliber materials and instruction Christian Union provides is tailored to its audience, not to  produce seminarians but to ensure its offerings have suitable intellectual depth to be appealing and effective.