Where the City is the Seminary

January 2010
by Mark Gornik

A park, churches past, present  and future, a university campus, neighborhoods in Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens on a cold Saturday in December– these are the living sites of personal journeys of faith and commitment. Working in small groups, the students in the Ministry Fellows Program of City Seminary of New York took one another to places that had come to matter deeply in their ministries and lives in the city. Gathering back together later in the day they shared with the rest of the community how their journeys (literally and metaphorically) had enabled them to reflect on their calling.


At City Seminary of New York, the city is our classroom. New York’s diverse churches, neighborhoods, streets, restaurants, subway lines, and history are our resources for learning and embracing the vitality of urban life and Biblical faith. Launched full-time in 2003, City Seminary of New York is a grassroots community of learning focused on the practice of ministry in our urban world.


One of City Seminary’s new-est initiatives is The Ministry Fellows Program. A structured community learning experience, we bring together individuals from all walks of life and diverse church and ministry backgrounds who have had limited or no access to prior urban ministry training but who are already involved in serving the city. By listening, dialoguing, affirming and walking with each other, we draw from our own life experiences and resources from the city and beyond to encourage the work of hopeful and faithful ministry in the city, to provide leadership training in the practice of urban mission, and to establish small learning communities for accountability and formation. Launched this past fall with generous support from the Lilly Endowment, the program is off to an exciting start. We expect to hold open houses in the spring for additional cohorts beginning next fall.


A number of Redeemerites have been involved and continue to be a part of our community of faith and learning at City Seminary. Maria Liu Wong, a long-term member of Redeemer, is the Dean of the City Seminary. Maria’s commitment to adult education and creative passion for mission animates the growing life of City Seminary. Sonja Chen, Brian Stanton, Traci Thornton and Alan Farrell, who are involved in Redeemer’s Center for Faith and Work, Finance and Oper-ations, Children’s Ministries and Hope for New York respectively, are past and present students. Numerous church members have been a part of our learning experiences as well as our open seminars and annual conferences on Urban Ministry and World Christianity.


As we look forward to the future—offering a graduate degree in Urban Ministry and engaging youth—City Seminary is on a journey. We look forward to all that God has ahead. For more information go to  www.cityseminaryny.org



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