As an evangelical organization, the Campus Crusade for Christ at Cornell says that its mission is to inform its members and others about the teachings of the Bible through group activities around campus. It is a member of Campus Crusade for Christ International.
Crusade meetings include hymn signing, lectures on spiritual life and updates about upcoming community events.
“I was a Christian all throughout high school,” said member Aaron Watnick ’07. “I came to Cornell looking for a Christian fellowship.” After doing research on Christian groups across campus, Watnick was happy to finally land with Crusade.
“I chose Crusade and that’s really what I stuck with,” he said. “Like Aaron, I was a Christian all through high school,” said member Lindsay Windsor ’07. “I came to college looking for a place where I would grow in my faith.”
Men’s and women’s meetings are held by Crusade throughout the week, where students discuss and relate their activities to the Old and New Testament. The group holds separate meetings for men and women because, according to Campus Director Charles Kim, students are sometimes more comfortable discussing sensitive issues with members of the same gender. Next year, they plan on offering co-ed small group meetings as well.
For Kim, a 1996 graduate of Yale University, a Fullbright Scholar, and native of Washington D.C., coming to the Campus Crusade for Christ at Cornell was a lifelong journey.
“My grandmother, she was Buddhist and my parents didn’t really believe in anything,” Kim said.
Growing up, Kim did not live in a particularly religious household until a local church introduced Christianity to his grandmother. “When I was young some church ladies shared Jesus with my grandmother and then she came to faith and then she brought us to church,” Kim said.
“I just went on Sundays, I dressed up, and then I went to Pizza Hut afterwards, and Pizza Hut was the best part,” Kim said.
A few years later, Kim became more intensely involved with the Church after he attended a week-long Christian camp the summer before seventh grade.
“When they said ‘does anyone want to come to faith in Jesus or believe in Jesus, follow Jesus?’ I said, ‘yeah, that’s something for me,'” Kim said.
As a senior in high school, Kim was invited by his sister, Suzanne, then a sophomore at George Washington University, to visit. Kim never made the trip because of a tragic accident.
“Next morning my father woke me up and he said, ‘we have to go to the hospital right now”” Kim said. “Basically she got in a car accident on the way back from Philadelphia. She fell asleep at the wheel and the car wrapped around the tree both with her and her boyfriend.”
After awaking from a month and a half long coma, Kim said his sister was noticeably different.
“Her voice was slurred, mentally she wasn’t there,” Kim said. Kim encouraged his sister to undergo physical rehabilitation, but Suzanne had simply lost the will to survive.
“She said, ‘just leave me alone, I’m just waiting to die”” Kim said. Kim said his response to this was, “Don’t you have any faith that God can heal you?”
“And she got quiet, and then she began to just cry, to just weep,” Kim said. “She was saying, ‘God please forgive me.'”
While Kim said the moment was a rebirth for Suzanne, he added that he did not find his true calling until college.
“For me things didn’t change until a bible study leader gave me a book called The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer,” Kim said.
“When people talk about having a relationship with God, a personal relationship with God, I understood it at that time,” he added.
A member of Yale’s Campus Crusade for Christ chapter during his undergraduate years, Kim said it was natural to continue with the organization.
“I felt like Campus Crusade was the place I wanted to be and then I was assigned to Cornell four years ago, and I’ve been here since,” Kim said.
Concerning the politics of the organization, Kim said that the Campus Crusade for Christ at Cornell is not an overtly political organization, as it would be difficult for the group of about 70 students to reach consensus on partisan issues.
As such, Kim said that the organization will not be involved in campaigning for the upcoming presidential election, which may have swing votes decided based on the moral and religious rhetoric of Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) and President George W. Bush.
Some disagree with Crusade’s attempt to spread their message around campus.
“As someone who is non-Christian, I obviously don’t like having my convictions affected by proselytization,” said Asa Wilks ’04. “I’m pretty sure it’s against the religion to proselytize.”
Wilks grew up in a non-religious home and he considers himself agnostic.
“I didn’t have any background in [Christianity] and by the time I was older and understood religion better I didn’t have any means of identifying with it,” he said.
On May 8, Crusade is planning an event entitled “Campus on the Hill,” with musical worship, prayer and brief lectures by students from 7 p.m. to 12 p.m. in Barton Hall.
Archived article by Clark Merrefield
Sun Staff Writer