The Pacific Rim’s key economic centers stretch from Taipei, Sydney, and Lima to Seattle — putting Seattle Pacific University students smack- dab in the middle of a cornucopia of cultures. Many students take advantage of that opportunity through the School of Theology’s Global and Urban Ministry program.
"Our students are increasingly conscious of global and urban issues in our diverse world," says David Leong, assistant professor of missional theology. "They want to engage these issues, and this minor provides a gateway to that conversation."
One of the largest minors in the School of Theology, the program is itself diverse. Students reflect majors from across the cam- pus: global development, sociology, biology, English, business, and more. "It makes for an interdisciplinary classroom," adds Leong, the program’s director. "I enjoy the different kinds of dialogue around global and urban ministry. Business and philosophy students approach this very differently."
Through the minor, students are challenged to recognize the multicultural realities of today’s city and today’s world and see them from a theological perspective, says Leong.
And, as part of the program, students take advantage of Seattle’s multiethnic abundance by exploring neighborhoods such as White Center, Pioneer Square, the Central District, and Rainier Valley. They interview residents, walk through the neighborhoods, and even make cold calls for information.
"I thought I’d learn about ministry and how to reach global and urban areas of the world," says senior Emma Rousseau. "But the global and urban ministry minor is about learning how to see the world holistically as Christ does."
"This minor is helping me understand how to do ministry in my future plans, whether it’s in Canada, France, or somewhere in Africa," adds the global development studies major.
That’s just what the program intends. "We’re always surrounded by different cultures; we just don’t always recognize it," says Leong. "I hope this minor gives students a different lens through which to view the world and an awareness that leads to advocacy for the marginalized."