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Yale University opens door to Christianity?

Yale University campus....five U.S. presidents graduated from Yale.
Yale University campus....five U.S. presidents graduated from Yale.
Nancy Griesemer

A contemporary Christian writer once said he nearly lost his faith while a student at the secularized Yale University, but maybe the tide has turned with the announcement a Christian ministry center will open near the Ivy League institution, according to a recent article in the Christian Post. Christian Union, a national faith-based organization set in place at seven Ivy League universities, will operate the facility in New Haven, Connecticut.

A Christian Union website said, "By God's grace, Christian Union is changing culture by discipling, mentoring and training future leaders at the most strategic universities in America, and by building networks of engaged Christian leaders in cities."

Josh Ginsberg, president of Yale Faith and Action, the official undergraduate chapter of Christian Union, said, "As we are growing, we need a reliable space where we can meet and host events. It will be a gathering point where we can come together for Bible study or hang out at night."

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony this Saturday.

The building which will house the ministry center is a historic location which was built in the 1850s. It was moved on rails in the 1970s to its current location near the Yale campus.

Founded as a religious institution in 1701 by the Colony of Connecticut, Yale is the third oldest university in the United States. Clergymen who sought to establish a college to train clergymen and political leaders in the 17th century, helped found the school. Yale was founded by Harvard graduates who believed the Massachusetts university had become too liberal theologically.

And the rivalry between the two elite schools has only intensified since 10 Congregationalist ministers who were all Harvard graduates pooled their books to begin a library at Yale. A degree from Yale has proven to be a valuable asset down through American history. Five U.S. presidents and 19 Supreme Court Justices have graduated from the Connecticut school.

Yale's slide away from Christianity was illustrated by an event in 2005 reported by the New York news media.

The New York Times reported in an April 12, 2005 article that Yale would no longer be associated with the Battell Chapel, of the United Church of Christ. The United Church of Christ was the successor church to the Congregationalist Church at the Battell Chapel.

Several people were critical at the time of Yale for turning its back on the Congregationalist Church which founded the school. Yale's response was to allow Buddhists to meditate in the chapel and provide Muslim students with food in accordance with the dietary conditions of their religion, according to the same Times article.

The new Christian ministry center is supported by private funds and not by the university itself.

It will be interesting to see what Yale's attitude will be toward the new ministry center set to open tomorrow.

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