InterVarsity asks for prayer as Vanderbilt decides their fate

By February 3, 2012

USA (MNN) — A meeting held this past Tuesday may have sealed a campus ministry's fate at Vanderbilt University.

In late 2010, Vanderbilt changed a school policy to include a stricter anti-discrimination code. Essentially, the school's idea was that any student should be able to lead any group. If they're prohibited from doing so, it's discrimination.

It seems like a good policy in theory. But for groups like InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, it could mean the end of official ministry at Vanderbilt.

"For InterVarsity specifically, because our constitution says that leaders of InterVarsity chapters have to be Christians and practice their Christian walk, we would be sent off campus because of that," explains InterVarsity's Andrew Ginsberg.

It's been a long battle between Vanderbilt administration and InterVarsity staff (read more here) which culminated in a meeting this past Tuesday night.

"Vanderbilt had a Town Hall meeting that we hoped would be a good sharing of ideas. It turned out not quite to be that way," says Ginsberg. "The administration made their case and heard questions, but there wasn't a free sharing. It seems like the decision has been made."

Technically, the decision of whether or not InterVarsity will be allowed to remain an official campus group will be made in the next couple of months. But Ginsberg seems fairly certain the verdict will be against them.

It's a sad matter, and one that threatens religious liberties. But InterVarsity's response has been one of faith. "This isn't a surprise to the Lord," notes Ginsberg.

InterVarsity is acutely aware that their response to this matter could be a testimony of Christ in and of itself.

"It's a really great opportunity to be salt and light. People are watching us. So how can we love students well? How can we love administration well? What does fighting look like in the Kingdom?"

InterVarsity is fighting for their rights currently but will roll with the punches, so to speak.

"If it comes to the point of them removing us from campus, well, Jesus doesn't leave the campus," says Ginsberg.

InterVarsity students will still be on the campus. Christians will still be on the campus. And InterVarsity can even continue to run off campus, just not as an official university group. The Lord will undoubtedly still work.

Currently, InterVarsity is praying for a change of heart in the Vanderbilt administration. Join them in prayer, and keep yourself updated on the situation here.

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