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Christian Union: The Magazine

Cultural Engagement


September 16, 2020

A Vessel in the Valley

Senior’s Faith Sustains Her during Abrupt End to On-Campus Semester

by francine barchett, cornell ’20

Nigerian-American. Singer/Blogger/Poet. Future physician/scientist. All are apt descriptors for Iyaniwura Olarewaju, a recent Cornell graduate in biological sciences who had an unexpected end to her senior year.

From reading and re-reading President Martha Pollack’s urgent email imploring students to leave campus, to completing her finals through “Zoom University,” Iyaniwura’s COVID-derived life has been at times “like an eerie dream.”

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August 4, 2020

Q and A with Dr. Sam Kim

The Loneliness Epidemic among Young Adults

Dr. Sam Kim is a scholar at the Yale-Hasting Center, where he explores the crisis of professional burnout in academic medicine and health care. He is a recipient of the Lifelong Learning Fellowship at Yale Divinity School and Yale Medical School and worked as a research fellow in global health and social medicine at the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School.

The co-founder of 180 Church in New York City, which started with students from Columbia University, Kim earned a doctorate in ethical leadership at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is a regular contributor to Christianity TodayExchange and the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.

 

You have previously written about a loneliness epidemic in society. Please elaborate on this in regards to today’s young adults.

A significant pattern related to the Cigna study of loneliness and social isolation is that Generation Z (ages 18-22) is now the loneliest generation in history. Although Gen Z is perhaps the generation that is most technologically connected, they scored the highest on the UCLA loneliness scale, an instrument that measures and assesses subjective feelings of loneliness by using a twenty-item questionnaire.

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June 5, 2020

Let Us Hold Fast

Family is Thankful for Christian Union's Ministry at Columbia 

At Columbia University, in the heart of one of the world’s most influential cities, academic rigor and the vibrant, rapid pace of life merge to form an exhilarating and often intimidating atmosphere for incoming freshmen. Establishing relationships and a sense of belonging are critical in the first weeks of college life. Michael was first introduced to Christian Union during freshman orientation when he was invited to a Christian Union jazz night. “From that point on, I’ve been involved in the ministry, helping out and volunteering in any capacity necessary,” Michael shared. 

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June 5, 2020

‘Carpe Diem Redeemed’

Os Guinness Speaks at NYC Event


by catherine elvy, staff writer

In the midst of a fast-paced, often superficial world, believers are called to pause to reflect on the redemptive, purposeful nature of God. “Life is very short, fragile, and vulnerable,” said Os Guinness, prolific author and noted social scientist. “How do we live wisely and well and make the most of it?”

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June 4, 2020

Center Stage Faith

Wyatt ’20 Pursuing a Career in Media Arts 

by catherine elvy, staff writer

A Columbia University senior dreams of reflecting his faith while unleashing his passion for acting, storytelling, and triggering laughter. 

In the fall, Nathaniel Wyatt ’20 plans to relocate to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment. “I want to communicate the beauty of God through art,” he said. “It’s part of being salt and light.”

At Columbia, Wyatt served on the executive team for Christian Union’s ministry and as editor-in-chief for The Columbia Witness: A Journal of Christian Perspectives (columbiawitness.org). Wyatt also was active in Chowdah, Columbia’s sketch comedy troupe that performs original material from student members. 

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June 4, 2020

A New Identity

Seniors Help Launch Program for Homeless

by anne kerhoulas, staff writer

Becoming a follower of Christ during college was not part of the plan. But for Penn senior Steffen Cornwell, finding community in Christian Union Martas reoriented his vision for his future. Part of the prestigious Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology,Cornwell has taken a newfound interest in social entrepreneurship and spearheaded a program that allows individuals experiencing homelessness to store important personal identification documents in a secure website.

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June 2, 2020

‘Turning from Our Wicked Ways’

Christian Union Day and Night Leads National Fast  

by catherine elvy, staff writer

Christian Union Day and Night recently called believers across the United States to an extended time of prayer, fasting, and repentance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the spring, 4,700-plus individuals signed up to fast and intercede in the wake of the global health crisis. Though the fast originally was scheduled to run for 40 days starting on March 18, Christian Union Day and Night extended instructional programming through May to support more concerted prayer.

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March 18, 2020

The Urgent Need for Church Unity

A 35-Year Reflection from New York City 

by dr. mac pier

When my wife Marya and I arrived in New York City in 1984 I used three adjectives to describe the city. The Big Apple was broke, violent, and under-churched in many communities. The front page of the October 30, 1975, Daily News read: “Ford to City: Drop Dead” after President Ford denied federal assistance to spare New York from bankruptcy.

In 1984, a decade of racial violence began when Bernard Goetz, a German, shot five unarmed African-American men on the subway. In 1994, the murder rate spiked at twenty-four hundred murders, or eight a day for a year. According to Jeffrey Burke, the NYPD chief forensic dentist, the city morgue simply ran out of room.

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March 11, 2020

Blessed to Be a Blessing

Jade Thompson ’21 Leads Outreach Team


by tom campisi, managing editor

For Jade Thompson, co-directing a Text-4-Toasties outreach for Christian Union at Columbia this fall was just one of the many ways she has been challenged to grow as a leader.

Thompson, an Economics and Sustainability major from Westchester, New York, called her involvement with Lumine, Christian Union’s ministry at Columbia, “the best part of my college experience.”

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February 28, 2020

Campus Kindness

Students Warm Locust Walk with Cider Outreach

by eileen scott, contributing writer

Christian Union at the University of Pennsylvania put “campus kindness” into action this fall by giving away hot cider to students on their way to class on Locust Walk, a centrally located pathway. There were no strings attached to receive the hot beverage. Yet, if students chose to sip their drink and discuss faith, leaders were there to engage. The outreach was part of the ministry’s on-going campus kindness effort, which also includes book giveaways and welcoming bags for freshmen.

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December 2, 2019

The Glory of Uganda

Summer Trip Is a Blessing for Students 

Winston Churchill once called the East African nation of Uganda a fairytale, saying, “You climb up a railway instead of a beanstalk, and at the end there is a wonderful new world.” However, with the insurgence of the despotic regime of Idi Amin in the 1970s, the fairytale turned into a nightmare, and decades later, the region is still recovering from the aftermath of war and the devastation of HIV/AIDS. 

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December 2, 2019

A Heart for Justice

Richmond ’18 Is a 1L at Harvard Law School 

A Harvard College and Christian Union alumna plans to integrate her  passions for faith and justice by pursuing a career in law. In August, Molly Richmond ’18 entered Harvard Law School with a sense of a calling to become a public interest lawyer.

 

But first, Richmond paused to share her heart for justice by serving as a keynote speaker for the Christian youth conference she co-founded in 2013. In June, Richmond explained a biblical view of justice during The Micah Conference, an annual student-led event affiliated with her high school, Boston Trinity Academy.

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December 2, 2019

Serving the Student Body

Drummond ’20 Is Executive Vice President at Stanford

by tom campisi, managing editor
 

For the last two years, Isaiah Drummond has served as the vice president of Caritas, Christian Union’s ministry to students at Stanford University. Drummond, a mechanical engineering major, helped build the ministry, along with other students when it launched in the fall of 2016.

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August 15, 2019

Healing the Land in Fiji

by sarah camp


“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
 

– 2 Chronicles 7: 13, 14

One small hand slipped into mine. A second stealthy hand claimed my other hand. The young girls tugged me along the dirt path through the village, between small homes. Prayers and songs drifted from doorways. Cell phones served as our flashlights, guiding mysteps only; the girls were sure-footed as they pulled and nudged me along. From the sky, heavy with darkness, stars erupted. They dangled so seemingly low amid the lengthwise haze of the Milky Way I wondered if I might disentangle a hand, reach up, and snatch one, just one, drop it my pocket, to remember a sacred night in Vunibao, Fiji.

 

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August 15, 2019

“Courageous in the Ways of the Lord”

Cities Conference Features James K.A. Smith, Vince Vitale

by catherine elvy, staff writer
 
At the Christian Union Cities Conference, scholar James K.A. Smith challenged young professionals to reflect upon whether they are pursuing faithful service or self-serving aggrandizement. Ambitions can propel believers to fulfill spiritual callings or throttle them into idolatrous practices, he said.

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August 15, 2019

God Is at Work

Students, Christian Union Faculty Appreciate Ministry Center 

by tom campisi


When the Christian Union Center at Columbia University was dedicated last fall, the ministry’s Founder and CEO, Matt Bennett, said “generations of influential students, faculty, and alumni will be emboldened and equipped to carry revival and cultural reformation to the university and the world.”

The impact of the building was felt immediately; the consensus among the ministry’s faculty was that “God is at work in the new ministry center.” Within a few days, Christian Union was able to engage more new students than in the previous year of ministry. At the close of the recent academic year, Ministry Fellow Ava Ligh said the Christian Union Center was a blessing that enabled students to experience a greater sense of community and provided a wonderful place to seek the Lord, study the Word, and grow together. 

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August 15, 2019

Huddle Up

Ministry Director Mentors Penn Football Players 

by catherine elvy, staff writer

Since fall 2017, Christian Union Ministry Director Tucker Else has been steadily gaining ground in his outreach to Quaker athletes, especially to members of the football team. Given their hectic training and academic schedules, Else offers flexible discipleship sessions to players.


“Time is such a commodity,” said Else. “It’s pretty easy for these guys to live and sleep football and academics.”

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August 15, 2019

Crossing Borders

Rodarte ’19 Challenges Classmates to Be Change Agents

by tom campisi, managing editor


In her Class Day speech, senior Patricia Rodarte encouraged fellow Brown University graduates to go beyond borders.

Rodarte, a native of El Paso, Texas, grew up less than a mile from the Rio Grande, which marks the boundary between the United States and Mexico. She opened her speech by talking about the shared culture and interdependent ancestry and economies of El Paso and its “sister city,” Ciudad Juarez, Mexico—despite being separated by a 10-foot-tall fence. 

“There is a constant movement of people across their ports of entry…” she said. “Crossing borders is central to my region’s identity.”

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August 15, 2019

The Equality Act Poses an Unprecedented Threat to Religious Freedom

Q and A with Andrew Walker

Andrew T. Walker is the Senior Fellow in Christian Ethics and Director of Research at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is also an Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics and Apologetics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The author of God and the Transgender Debate, as well as editor for The Gospel for Life Series,Walker resides in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.

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August 15, 2019

What Is Religious Freedom?

by robert p. george

When the U.S. Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998, it recognized that religious liberty and the freedom of conscience are in the front rank of the essential human rights whose protection, in every country, merits the solicitude of the United States in its foreign policy. Therefore, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, of which I served as chair in 2013, was created by the act to monitor the state of these precious rights around the world.

 

But why is religious freedom so essential? Why does it merit such heightened concern by citizens and policymakers alike? In order to answer those questions, we should begin with a still more basic question. What is religion?

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