United Campus Christian Ministry (UCCM), known on Stanford campus as Progressive Christians at Stanford, believes that exploring the intersection of spirituality and social justice is fundamental to one’s faith. One of the elements of their mission throughout the years has been this commitment to integrating spirituality and social justice and is probably the single most important element that distinguishes UCCM’s work from the 20 plus other Christian religious groups on campus, according to postings on their web site and newsletter. It has been part of UCCM’s mission from the very beginning.
Campus Minister Geoff Browning visited First Baptist Church recently to talk about this year’s student trip to Nicaragua. For six years, Professor Tom Sheehan and the Rev. Geoff Browning have taught a class at Stanford on liberation theology and El Salvador/Central America. As part of the course, the entire class would travel to El Salvador over spring break to live with and learn from Salvadorans. However, during Spring Break in 2015 because of increased violence in El Salvador, those in the class were diverted to Nicaragua instead.
Nine undergraduates and two graduate students participated in 2016. The class has an interdisciplinary format studying the political, historical, economical and religious history of El Salvador (2010 – 2014) or Nicaragua (2015 and 2016). The class culminates in a spring-break trip to Central America. One student reported that …”the trip to Nicaragua was one of my most formative experiences as an undergraduate at Stanford. ” Another student said, “After being in Nicaragua for only a few hours, I quickly noticed that one learns so much more through practical experience rather than through books….After we met our first church-based community….I felt as if I almost understood the true meaning of liberation theology.”
We were pleased to share with Geoff our connections with Nicaragua through our Sister Church in Corinto and our yearly report about Nicaragua from Professor Charlie Aker of the University of Nicaragua at Leon, Nicaragua.