The students, enrolled in Dr. MaryAnn Hawkins' class Christian Mission and the Urban Church, are partnering with Gateway Berlin, an organization that seeks to minister to a post-Christian population in a diverse urban context.
“If you have a heart for marginalized, urban people or a heart for those who have left Christianity, then you need to know how to reach out and how to represent Christ in an authentic relationship,” said Hawkins, associate professor of intercultural studies at the School of Theology.
[Photo: Back, from left: Jack Haines, Jael Tang; Middle: Amity Rees, Ann Bartlett, Daniel Kihm; Front: MaryAnn Hawkins, Rachel Lockhart]
The course, which runs from May 10-27, is focused on a number of aspects. These include "the importance of ministry in the urban centers of the world, understanding diversity and reconciliation, ministry leadership, and historical context," Hawkins said.
The students are applying these concepts through several ministries, including food distribution centers, an elementary school, an inner-city mission, and a coffee house that provides a refuge for prostitutes, said Hawkins.
In preparation for the ministry experience, the students met with Hawkins four times, where they discussed issues of urban ministry. They also held a meeting via Skype with the leader of Gateway Berlin. While in Berlin the students are taking a class that delves deep into the service-learning components. In all, the students will read about 1,200 pages and will write an integration paper based on their experiences and readings, said Hawkins.
“One of our assigned textbooks, The Forgotten Ways, by Alan Hirsch, has really accentuated the importance for the church to truly be mission-minded by engaging the culture on its own turf, as opposed to waiting for them to come to us,” said SOT student Daniel Kihm. “As a pastor, I can attest that this is an ongoing challenge for the church, yet one that must remain on the front burner.”
The ministry of Gateway Berlin is co-sponsored by the Church of God in Germany and Church of God Ministries in the United States.
Funding for the course was provided by the Collins Family Intercultural Education Endowed Fund, established by Don and Gloria Collins. Don Collins served as campus pastor at Anderson University from 1978 to 1997.
The couple recently established a new fund, the International Urban Education Endowment, that will help provide funding for future courses in Germany. “Our goal is to fund this endowment with $100,000. It currently has $10,000 to supplement student costs,” Don Collins said.
For more information about the International Urban Education Endowment, please contact Karen Roller at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (800) 421-1025 or (765) 641-4056.
—Kate McCollum is a 2010 Anderson University graduate. McCollum majored in communication arts and was an associate with Fifth Street Communications, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
The International Urban Education Endowment is a part of the $110 million Dreams. Discovery. Direction. campaign for Anderson University. The campaign is the largest fundraising effort in the university’s history. To date the campaign has raised $95 million. Major components of the campaign include $51 million for capital projects, $34 million for endowment, and $25 million for operational support.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.