The Metro-Urban Institute fellowship is a one-year paid, urban immersion experience for seminarians enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. This fellowship offers PTS scholars the opportunity to engage in communities and advance social justice, equity, and transformation in Pittsburgh's urban communities.

During this year, scholars are enrolled in master's-level classes while working with community organizations on specific projects in one of the following fields: education, vocational development, business, technology, law, the arts, medicine, government, urban agriculture, and youth and/or senior ministries. Fellows also work alongside the Larimer Consensus Group, engaging in community-based research, aiding their efforts to ensure the revitalization of Larimer is reflective of the needs and desires of the residents of the community. 

In addition to their community-based work, fellows attend weekly Bible studies to discuss their community-engaged experiences and the way in which it correlates to their theological education and personal development. Fellows are also assigned an East End mentor experienced in social justice ministry to support the students in further contextualizing their experience and discerning the way in which they are called to urban ministry.

The Metro-Urban Institute Fellowship provides monthly professional development seminars through the Metro-Urban Institute Urban Leadership Series, comprised of workshops and lectures aimed at equipping organizations and individuals with the tools and skills necessary to address issues in urban communities. This series is held the first Monday of every month during the school year and facilitated by various community subject matter experts. The Urban Leadership Series provides free community-focused professional development to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students and the community at-large. These sessions are open to the public.

Program Overview

  • $600 monthly stipend
  • Time commitment of up to 20 hours per week
  • Mandatory attendance at monthly professional development sessions and weekly Bible studies
  • 15 hours per week at an approved community organization
  • Attendance at Larimer Consensus Group’s monthly community meetings
  • One week of community-based research along with various community engagement requirements throughout the program
  • One hour of monthly mentoring
  • Function as an MUI and community ambassador within the Seminary and a PTS ambassador within the greater community

Qualifications

  • A strong commitment to urban ministry
  • Enrollment in the Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergrad or GCUM courses
  • An exceptionally strong work ethic
  • A desire to work within the diverse communities of Pittsburgh’s East End
  • Excellent relationship-building skills and ability to work effectively in a team-based environment
  • Not enrolled in Field Education during fellowship year

For information on the Metro-Urban Institute Fellowship contact Christin Thorpe at cthorpe@pts.edu or 412-924-1363

Meet Our Fellows

Kelcey Bailey

Kelcey Bailey is a senior at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary pursuing a master of divinity degree and graduate certificate in urban ministry along with her master of social work degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Kelcey had the opportunity to intern for the Chaplains Office at Allegheny County Jail during the 2017-2018 school, which informed her decision to pursue her MSW at the University of Pittsburgh. Kelcey recognized that her approach to social work and advocacy is driven by her trust in God’s call on her life to seek justice, restoration, and ultimately reconciliation in and for the urban communities of Pittsburgh. As someone who wants to advocate for the for the vulnerable and marginalized, Kelcey hopes this fellowship will give her the opportunity to become more aware and informed about her neighbors in this city.

Kelcey is placed at Casa San Jose, a community resource center that advocates for and empowers Latinx by promoting integration and self-sufficiency. During her time at Casa San Jose, Kelcey will be engaging in community organizing and working on initiatives with the Thomas Merton Center. Kelcey will be mentored by Tammi Hooker, a distinguished PTS alumna and the assistant religious services administrator for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

Felix Rivera-Merced

Felix Rivera-Merced is a senior at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary pursuing a master of divinity degree and graduate certificate in urban ministry. He boasts more than six years of ministry related experience. With extensive experience in various ministry capacities, Felix hopes his time as a Metro-Urban Institute Fellow will equip him with skills related to urban ministry and non-profit work, as well as experiences and relationships that will pose questions and give context to his understanding of the urban environment and non-profit work.

Felix will be placed in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa., at Bible Center Church: The Oasis Project. As a MUI Fellow he will be responsible for relaunching the work of The Ralph and Bernice Groce Ministry House (i.e., the “House”). The House is envisioned as a premiere residential urban ministry training center for young adults who want to change the world for Jesus Christ. In this role, Felix will work with the leadership of Bible Center to develop a strategic plan for the next phase of the House. Felix will be mentored by the Rev. Torry Johnson, priest in charge for the Historic Holy Cross Episcopal Church.   

Sonya-Marie Morley

Sonya-Marie Morley is a senior at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary pursing a master of divinity degree and graduate certificate in urban ministry. Sonya-Marie has more 20 years of experience spanning between the investment and financial services industries and social work, including direct care and casement management with diverse populations. With a  broad range of experiences, Sonya-Marie feels that the Metro-Urban Institute Fellowship will allow her to continue developing her interest in exploring creative ministry partnerships, building relationships across systems, and driving necessary change in positive, spirit-filled, and meaningful ways. Sonya-Marie hopes this fellowship will provide a unique space for additional discernment of her budding call to ministry, which is the pastoral care of God’s people. 

Sonya-Marie will be placed at Pittsburgh Police’s Zone 5. She will work closely with Zone 5’s commander to initiate, plan, execute, and evaluate community relationship building activities in Zone 5, focusing on children, youth, and young adults. Her ultimate objective will be to provide strategy and coordination to increase face-to-face time and significant interaction time with the community. Sonya-Marie will be mentored by Dr. Sharon Higginbothan, PTS alumna and chief operating officer of Bethlehem Haven.