Urban Ministry


Hydroponic growing tower, Union Presbyterian Church

A hydroponic growing tower, part of the Urban Give Farms project hosted at Union Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. Photo by Andrew Kang Bartlett, PHP

In the midst of major demographic, economic and social changes taking place in our metropolitan areas and cities, we want to lift up the work of many Presbyterians who are faithfully working for justice and peace, seeking the welfare of the city, and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The 221st General Assembly in Detroit, June 2014, approved the policy paper, The Gospel  from Detroit:  Renewing the Church’s Urban Vision, developed by The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy. The policy paper stated in its first recommendation:

“Commend the efforts of Presbyterians in city congregations and presbyteries that embody an urban Christian vision; who see the urban poor as clearly as the glittering skyscrapers; who seek to understand urban trends theologically and ethically; and who unite ministries of mercy and justice with evangelism, education, and cultural outreach, recalling our heritage of urban mission leadership and working to renew or build new worship communities grounded in a creative Reforming spirit.”

Urban Ministry Spotlight

La Mesa Presbyterian Church, Albuquerque, NM | Partnering with and serving our community

North Presbyterian Church, Cleveland, OH | Sharing space, sharing in ministry

South Presbyterian Church, Rochester, NY | ‘Acts of Faith’ model of ministry takes ‘church’ to Rochester

Isaiah’s Table, Syracuse, NY | Grace, Hope, Food for All

New Hope Presbyterian Church, Orange, CA | Building a Symphony of Hope

Trinity Presbyterian Church, Tacoma, WA | Carrying love out the church doors and into the community

Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL | Choosing Compassion

Volunteer Sites

(These volunteer sites are not hosted, sponsored, or related to the Presbyterian Mission Agency.)

The Pilgrimage | Church of the Pilgrims, Washington, D.C.

St. Louis Urban Mission Camp | First Presbyterian Church of Ferguson, MO

Mission Immersion Camp | Lexington, KY

The Center: Where Compassion Meets Justice | Baltimore, MD

Project Hospitality | Staten Island, NY

Broad Street Ministry | Philadelphia, PA

Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community | Pittsburgh, PA

First Presbyterian Church (Urban GAPS) | Fort Worth, TX

OGHS Engagement Map | Find where OGHS gifts are at work and opportunities for service

Connect with Others

Regional teams are developing across the United States, working in partnership with other faith-based and community-based groups to support and resource one another, collaborate on similar issues/projects, and effectively address local metro urban issues.

If you are local to one of the following areas, you may contact the following people to ask about participating:

  • Baltimore, MD – Tanya Wade, Grace Presbyterian Church
  • Charlotte, NC – Flo Watkins, Seigle Avenue Presbyterian Church
  • Chicago, IL – David Thornton, Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church
  • Cleveland, OH – Carmen Cox Harwell, St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, Beachwood
  • Detroit – Kevin Johnson, Calvary Presbyterian Church
  • Kansas City, MO — Rev. Dr. Vernon Howard, St. Mark Union Church; and Rev. Eric Garbison, Presbyterian Urban and Immigrant Ministry Network of Heartland Presbytery
  • Los Angeles – Carlton Rhoden, Westminster Presbyterian Church
  • New York/Northern New Jersey – Bob Brashear, West Park Presbyterian Church
  • Philadelphia – Adan Mairena – West Kensington Ministry
  • Richmond, VA – Nelson Reveley
  • San Antonio, TX – Tom Heger
  • St. Louis, MO – Cedric Portis, Third Presbyterian Church

If you are interested in organizing a regional network in your metro/urban area or have questions about this initiative, please contact Phil Tom at ox_49@yahoo.com.

Upcoming Conferences/Training Events

Transforming Trauma into Triumph: The Urban Experience.
Feb. 23-24, 2018 – New York Theological Seminary
A collaborative seminar sponsored by the Center for the Study of Urban and Practice of Urban Religion and The Healing Dialogue Institute. 

National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2018 Housing Policy Forum
March 19-21, 2018 – Washington Court Hotel, Washington, D.C.
The 2018 Forum will provide an opportunity for those committed to building the movement to engage with affordable housing advocates and practitioners, movement leaders, policy experts, researchers, government officials, and low income residents on the challenges and opportunities ahead and on strategies for achieving real solutions. 

National Community Reinvestment Corporation Annual Conference:  Creating a Just Economy
April 9-11, 2018, Washington, D.C. 
The conference features a wide range of sessions on community organizing and advocacy, housing, access to capital and credit, workforce and community development, fair lending, and business development. 

Ecumenical Advocacy Day: A World Uprooted: Responding to Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People
April 20-23, 2018, Washington, D.C.

Immigration Summit #2
April 2018, McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL
Hosted by the Center for the Study of Latin@ Theology and Ministry. For more information, contact: prodriquez@mccormick.edu.

Reimagining Faith and Community Collaboration in the Twenty-First Century
May 11-12, 2018, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Metro Urban Institute
The conference will feature the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Weaver, the Rev. Dr. Marsha Foster Boyd. 

June 16-23, 2018 – The 223rd General Assembly, St. Louis, MO.

Direct Action and Training Center (DART) Organizers Institute 
Begins August 13, 2018 – includes an intensive 4-day classroom training followed by five months of infield training. Field training involves weekly training sessions guided by Lead Organizers, specific goals and objectives, and readings and reflections in conference with DART Center staff.

Northern Seminary’s new Master of Arts in Urban Leadership will train culturally competent ministers for urban communities – Lombard, IL

Other sources of Urban Ministry Training

Urban Institute
Urban’s mission is to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.

Educates and trains faith leaders to mobilize communities inter-racially, inter-culturally, and inter-religiously for justice, inclusivity and peace.

New York Theological Seminary 
A diverse and inclusive community of learning grounded in biblical witness and Christian tradition, with a historic urban focus. The Seminary prepares women and men for faith-based ministries in the city and throughout the world.

Pittsburgh Metro Urban Institute
With more than 80 percent of all USA residents and 50 percent of the global population living in and around urban centers, the Metro-Urban Institute prepares Christian leaders for the challenges of urban contextual ministry.


Please see the specific scope and requirements for each grant, and use contact information that is provided by the entity offering the grant.

Print, Video and Online materials related to Urban Ministry

Downloadable media and other related sources of information

  • Educate a Child
    The ministry of many urban churches (and others) around the nation connects with the major foci of the Educate a Child Initiative: strengthening early childhood education and reducing the dropout rate of adolescents.  Educate a Child, Transform the World brochure
  • Seven Samples of Urban Ministry
    Report on National Capital Presbytery’s 2015 Urban Visioning Network Dialogues (73 pages)
  • The Global Metropolitan Revolution
    TED talk (video) by Bruce Katz, Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. “City power and problem solving are going to define this century the same way that national power and problem solving defined the last …. Embrace the metropolitan revolution.”
  • Creating Pathways for New Life in Urban Congregations—Stories, testimonies, conversations, and observations of 12 congregations who handled change and opportunity (follow up to the Vital Signs of Urban Congregations resource); order free from PDS


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