Traditional seminary education has often been plagued with critiques concerning its impractical and irrelevant nature in the context of complex ministry in urban setting. Can we re-imagine urban ministry training? Wesley Theological Seminary’s experiment in theological education for urban ministry–the Urban Fellows program–facilitates community based asset research with urban ministry projects done in partnership with local congregations to strengthen learning and ministry between seminary, churches, and communities to address shared concerns. This article explores how pedagogical perspectives of experiential and praxis education are incarnated in the practice of the Urban Fellows program.
Easten Law is an inaugural Urban Fellow at Wesley Theological Seminary, graduating with a Master of Divinity in the Spring of 2014. His work in the program included independent community based research and curriculum development with affordable housing advocates in Washington, DC with congregations and community organizing groups. He also serves as a professorial lecturer in intercultural relations at American University’s School of International Service integrating the philosophies of praxis education into his teaching of undergraduate students.