InterVarsity alumni – Albert Fink

InterVarsity’s chapter at the University of Pennsylvania was large in the late 1940’s, its ranks swelled by GI’s back from World War II and recent high school graduates. Local pastors came to speak at the weekly meetings every Friday noon. Once each month citywide meetings were held, featuring hymn-sings and well-known speakers, with chapters from other area schools, such as Temple University.

That Penn chapter produced one of InterVarsity’s most well-known leaders, Paul Little. Paul joined InterVarsity staff, became our first director of Evangelism, and wrote several popular books for InterVarsity Press: How to Give Away Your Faith and Know Why You Believe. He also directed the 1970 Urbana Student Missions Convention. Paul was killed in a tragic auto accident in 1975.

That Penn chapter was instrumental in the lives of many more members who were not as well-known but have faithfully served God through their lifetimes, such as Al Fink. Al was involved in the chapter as an undergraduate and for four more years as he attended medical school. He remembers his friend Paul Little very well. “He was always very dynamic. He had the ability to speak in public, and he also had a great sense of humor,” said Al.

Al enjoyed InterVarsity so much that he sought out similar affiliations as his radiology career progressed. “When I went into the service, I was involved with the Officers Christian Union,” he recalled. “At Penn Medical School I joined the Christian Medical Society.”

Al’s interest in overseas missions work was stirred by InterVarsity, his church, and other groups to which he belonged. During his career he participated in short term medical missions trips to India, Pakistan, Israel, and Haiti.

When he settled in Pittsburgh, he reconnected with InterVarsity through some local staff members and became a financial supporter. “The main reason was because InterVarsity was so formative in my own life,” he said.

The Bible study habits he first developed as a student, and maintained through his life, are becoming even more important in retirement as he teaches Bible classes in his retirement community in Hanover, Pennsylvania. “I’ve felt a great need for this kind of thing,” he said. “Right now we’re in Romans. I’m working on a lecture series on the book of Revelation to start in the spring.”

In the year 2000, 50 alumni from the Penn InterVarsity chapter gathered in Keswick, New Jersey, for a fiftieth reunion. They sang hymns from the InterVarsity hymnbook and gave thanks to God for their staff worker, as well as for lifelong friendships and InterVarsity’s heritage of faith. Fifty years ago, when Albert attended spring and fall conferences at Keswick, he scarcely knew what life held in store for him. But he chose to put his future in God’s hands and God has been faithful.

InterVarsity alumni like Al have a rich storehouse of InterVarsity memories but they are still actively involved with the ministry through their regular prayers and financial support. Find out more about InterVarsity’s alumni ministry here.