How a historical but dwindling and aging Mennonite church in Lancaster County, PA, found renewal from unexpected quarters–Burmese refugees.
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.
Many individuals and groups are asking how to get a ministry cluster going. This case study will offer a step-by-step approach, with this proviso: This is a basic template, not a blueprint. There is no need to copy this in total. Each cluster will have its own unique character, or DNA. Yet, what you will read here is a common methodology that appears to be working.
Urban exegesis, a theological reading of the city, can be an insightful and effective lens for observing and interpreting any urban community. After considering some foundational elements of the Rainier Valley’s physical context, an examination of significant urban “cultural texts” in the community will explore cultural and theological meaning in the built environment of the neighborhood. This approach to observing and interpreting an urban community is essential not only for prospective church planters, but also for anyone who is seeking to embody an incarnational presence in the city.