With more than 80 percent of all U.S. 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.

About the Metro-Urban Institute

Founded in 1991, the Metro-Urban Institute combines the theory and practice of collaborative community ministry into a program of urban theological education that prepares students for excellence in any context of ministry, but with particular attention to public realities affecting the urban environment.

Interested in expanding your knowledge of serving in an urban context? Explore our Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry, a flexible year-long program allowing community members and seminarians to explore their Christian vocation in urban settings.  Not looking for a formal education but want to better serve your neighbors? Check out our upcoming events, which include workshops, lectures, conferences, and special events focusing on serving God's cities.

MUI News

Dr. Smith, MUI senior research fellow, is leading/co-leading two grants from the Henry Luce Foundation to study the impact of COVID-19's impact on black and latinx communities in metro-Pittsburgh and to create a multidimensional project on gentrification, race, and theological education

Mission Statement

Using scholarship and praxis we inform, resource, and link constituencies in the work of healthy community formation in metro-urban contexts.

Vision Statement

To serve as the cutting edge resource on metro-Pittsburgh social and religious intersections and ecologies.

Three Pillars


  • Multilateral dialogue
  • Asset recognition
  • Localized knowledge and practice
  • Exegesis of context

Core Values

  • Mutuality
  • Justice
  • Service
  • Hospitality
  • Diversity

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Kelso Lecture and Community Conversation on Race and Faith
March 17-18, 2023

Fri., March 17, 2023, Kelso Lecture
7:00 p.m. ET
The Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, President and CEO, Children’s Defense Fund and CDF Action Council
In-person and Online

Sat., March 18, 2023, Metro-Urban Institute Conference and Closing Service
8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. ET

Join us for two days exploring how churches and communities can work together to facilitate anti-racism in their neighborhoods. Our conversation kicks off Friday with the Kelso Lecture, delivered by the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson. Metro-Urban Institute’s conference filled with workshops, a panel discussion, worship, a community lunch, and resource fair follows on Saturday. All are welcome! 

This event is co-sponsored by the Seminary's Office of Continuing Education and Metro-Urban Institute. 

Learn more.

Gentrification, Race, and Theological Education

Race, theology, gentrification and aesthetics feature prominently in this Doing it Different podcast discussion of work at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary under a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. The grant examines the soft violence of gentrification and displacement as well as the hard violence and death that plays out in neighborhood change. An important feature of the grant is attention to sensory formations of race and place, and this discussion highlights how a focus on aesthetics informs the work of the grant and its intersection with life and formation at the Seminary. Dr. Drew Smith, Dr. Denise Thorpe, Dr. Scott Hagley, and PTS student researcher Shannon Garrett-Headen participate in the discussion with Porsha Williams Gates. Listen to the podcast.

The Rev. Porsha Williams Gates discusses a grant to the Metro-Urban Institute by the Henry Luce Foundation to respond to the effects of COVID-19 on Black and Latinx communities. The Rev. Dr. Deirdre Hainsworth and the Rev. Dr. John Welch '02 discuss their work on the grant, what they have learned from the communities they have worked with, the value of this work to the Seminary, and the documentary sharing stories of systemic racism and the resilience of communities that is being produced through the grant. Listen to the podcast.

Doing it Different is a limited podcast partnership with Porshanality Media and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. This podcast explores the Seminary's cutting-edge Doctor of Ministry degree and its various focus areas, including the Intergenerational Black Church Studies.