When I went off to college, I knew very little about InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. All I really knew was that I was to try and find it and that my aunts Marian and Margaret had both served on campus staff with InterVarsity in the late 1950’s (see photo).
A Legacy of Prayer
It was two years ago that Margaret passed away – her twin sister Marian only a few months before that (my mom, their younger sister, passed away three years ago last December). All three of these Sharp sisters left an incredible legacy of prayer. It is sobering to think that we no longer have each of them praying for our family and ministry daily.
As I had the honor of officiating my aunt Margaret’s funeral two summers ago, I was struck by the legacy my wife Sharon and I are left with as we serve on the staff of InterVarsity’s Graduate and Faculty Ministries. To say my aunts were “campus” staff is a bit misleading – Marian was given the states of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas and Margaret, Oregon and Northern California (including Stanford and Cal Berkeley).
Margaret, who never married, went from InterVarsity staff to attain her graduate degree at Syracuse U., to accepting a long-term appointment as Dean of Women at Redlands University (Calif.). Margaret particularly loved the university and spent her entire career mentoring students and being a redeeming influence among fellow faculty and staff, as well as the university’s ideas and culture.
A Legacy of Renewal
At the heart of the vision statement of InterVarsity is to see campuses renewed – something my aunt Margaret was committed to and knew could not come about without prayer. As Sharon and I work with the gifted grads and faculty we have the privilege to disciple and mentor, we are extremely grateful for Margaret’s legacy.
Our Midwest Graduate and Faculty Ministries team has grown to 30 staff (from less than half that seven years ago), working with over 1,300 grads and faulty (almost 350 faculty). The network of Women in the Academy and Professions has grown to over 650 members. We know the crucial role that prayer plays, and we are so grateful for the prayers of those who support us.
Craig Gartland is Regional Director for the Midwest for Graduate and Faculty Ministries. His wife Sharon directs Women in the Academy and Professions for Graduate and Faculty Ministries. InterVarsity is currently observing its 70th year of ministry in the U.S.