James Holt, coordinator of the Studies in Urban Ministries program at Urban Hope, talks about the first 3 months.
We are now 3 months into our first full year of the Studies in Urban Ministry Program (SUM) at Urban Hope. In August, six students arrived for the program, five from Grace College and one from the church at Urban Hope. They have seen and heard from leaders of ministries here in Philadelphia and traveled to New York City, Detroit, and Chicago.
It is amazing to see the students growing as they take responsibility in weekly ministries at Urban Hope, some involved with children, youth, or recovery programs as well as hours they volunteer in other ministries around the city. Our students are involved in helping with an after school program, leading children’s outreach, teaching English as a second language, and leading a weekly ministry to heroine addicts. Each week they are involved in classes focused on understanding urban ministry and visiting other ministries to help broaden their view of how God is working in the city.
The month of November we have focused on understanding and adapting to the culture of the city. The cultural makeup of people in the city is extremely diverse as there are 86 different languages spoken in Philadelphia alone. How people view the world and the church is influenced by both their home culture and the dominant American culture they are entering. This pushes us as believers to be wise in caring deeply about our neighbors from different backgrounds and faithfully seeking to better understand who they are as we seek to connect them with the God who made every tribe and tongue. Our students are making observations, interviewing, and analyzing different groups in the city and looking to identify bridges and barriers within cultures for the gospel.
If you are a college-age student or working adult and would like to spend a year in Philadelphia learning and doing Urban Ministry, visit SUMstudies.org for more information and fill out an application. Feel free to email SUM@urbanhope.net with any questions you may have about our summer and 9 month programs.