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 is part of the PTS Neighborhood Collaborative.

MUI News

Dr. Smith, Henry L. Hillman Professor of Urban Ministry, 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 and Purpose

Since 1991, the Metro-Urban Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has served faith communities by balancing scholarship and grassroots practices to inform, resource, and link religious partners in the work of healthy justice-centered community formation and flourishing in urban contexts.

Historically MUI has served as a trusted partner in the Pittsburgh community, especially around issues of race, health, and other justice concerns. Building on this historic legacy, today we continue working to equip people (with or without master's degrees – utilizing our Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry program) for ministries familiar and yet to unfold.

As a part of our goal of equipping ministries and faith-based organizations, we offer workshops, seminars, symposiums, and conferences that benefit our MUI/GCUM students along with others from the PTS community and broader society. Where possible, we partner with other departments within the Seminary (e.g., our two-part Grants workshop, biennial MUI conference, etc.) to expand impact and reach.

Values and Priorities

With core values of mutuality, justice, service, hospitality, and diversity, MUI offers academically sound and contextually rich conferences and symposiums to equip and empower churches and faith-based organizations to challenge injustices and meet the critical needs of urban communities.

We focus on delivering relevant programming, actionable research, and empowering engagement through our contextual learning and ministry experiences which focus on: Jesus and Justice; Faith and Freedom; Hope and Health; and Arts and Activism.

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Join us as the Metro-Urban Institute welcomes Joy Pittman, a dynamic strategist and thought leader, who enriches lives through her two enterprises: When Faith Meets Strategy™ (WFMS ) and HR For The Culture™.  Her mission is to position believers for greater impact, navigating the spheres of ministry and marketplace with grace and authority. Learn more and to register for the event!

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.