Princeton Graduate Christian Fellowship
We are a fellowship of Christian graduate students and other members of the university community. Our purpose is to encourage a Christ-centered witnessing community where members grow in love for God, God's Word, His people, and His work. We include Christians of many cultural and denominational backgrounds, and we welcome all who seek God.
The vision of Princeton Graduate Christian Fellowship is to engage the university in all its of ethnic, social, and academic diversity with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to develop biblical disciples.
In 1988, because of the conviction that 'God so loves the world,' the national Graduate Student Ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship was established. Today almost 3000 graduate students are involved in our fellowships at 80 of the 100 leading universities in the United States.
The Princeton Graduate Christian Fellowship began in the early 1980s through the efforts of several graduate students. In 1988 we became officially affiliated with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. In 1991 Rev. Dr. Gary Deddo joined us as a full-time campus minister after completing his doctoral studies in theology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
We desire to cultivate a warm and vibrant relationship with the Lord Jesus, practice the spiritual disciplines, and deepen our spiritual lives. We need to know and understand the Scriptures and apply them to our lives. Regular and sustained prayer is essential.
The heart of Princeton Graduate Christian Fellowship is our weekly meeting of worship, corporate prayer, and group Bible study. Here we meet to share the burdens and concerns of graduate life, worship Jesus Christ, and pursue in-depth study of Scripture and the Christian classics. At all of our meetings, we spend time in prayer for each other and forthose around us. We worship God through the singing of historic Christian hymns, as well as contemporary praise songs.
Over the past years, we have studied Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship, Romans, Hebrews, Mark, Habakkuk, Galatians, and John. We find that reading the Bible closely and carefully in community helps to increase our faith and our understanding of God and His purpose for our lives.
Christ has called us not only to himself, but also to one another as his people in the graduate community. Fellowship among graduate students is necessary for personal growth and corporate witness. We need the support and accountability of like-minded peers and mentors. The erosive effects of individualism and the isolation of departmental life need to be countered in Christian community. The Princeton fellowship brings together graduate students from across the disciplinary boundaries, and from all over the world (China, India, Germany...), bearing witness to the diversity of God's kingdom. By coming together for meals, by sharing the triumphs and the trials of graduate life, and by reaching out to others in Christian service, we hope to foster a spirit of Christian community and love.
Each year in October, we visit the Pocono mountains for a weekend retreat, where we study passages and subjects in depth. Past topics have included post-modernism and the Confessions of St. Augustine. The retreat also provides a time to get away from hectic campus life and have fun hiking, playing basketball, and just relaxing.
Each February, we participate in a weekend retreat in the Pocono mountains together with graduate students from Columbia, SUNY Stony Brook, Cornell, NYU, Syracuse, Rutgers and the U. of Rochester, broadening the bonds of Christian community beyond the Princeton campus.
During the academic year, we gather together for our weekly meetings, outreach and service projects, and social events.
Evangelism and Service
Not ashamed of the Gospel, we corporately and individually hold Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Men and women in the graduate community need to see Jesus as a live option and worthy of their wholehearted devotion. As Christ was sent into the world to bear witness to the good news of the Redeeming God and to be a servant, so he has sent us into the world to do likewise.
In our weekly meetings we concentrate on equipping each other for ministry in our everyday lives. We share stories of how God is working in the lives of those around us in our departments, our families, and among our friends. The Princeton graduate group has had the privilege of nurturing and encouraging several young Christians from all over the world.
On the Princeton campus, we have sponsored lectures relating Christian faith to the concerns of the university. Over the past several years we have hosted lectures by physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne on 'Christian Faith and Science', professor of psychology Paul Vitz on 'The Psychology of Atheism', Philip Johnson on 'Is Darwinism Dogma?', as well as present a dramatic performance of the Gospel of Luke by Broadway actor Bruce Kuhn.
Finally, as an expression of Christian service, we have volunteered at soup-kitchens in Trenton and New Brunswick, the local Habitat for Humanity project, and at English classes at the Trenton YWCA.
Integration of Faith, Learning and Vocation
We seek to understand the implications of the Christian faith on our studies. We seek a unity of truth in often fragmented and fragmenting institutions. We want to bring our academic lives under the lordship of Jesus Christ. We have invited several speakers to our weekly meetings to discuss topics such as how to apply our faith to a career in science.
Beyond the Princeton campus, our fellowship has participated in regional conferences of Christian faculty and graduate students, and a national conference focusing on the relationship of Christianity, teaching and higher education.
We hope this overview has been informative. If you are at all interested in the fellowship, we want to encourage you to come and meet us, participate in a few of our activities and consider becoming a part of us.