Understanding Asian-Black Relations in Philadelphia and how they inform Pastoral Formation
2021-22: For many years, Missio Theological Seminary has sought to educate practitioners in ministry research and development, and now it seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the changed context of Philadelphia and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Missio will conduct colloquia and focus groups, as well as facilitate a program of research associates. The outcome of the project will be published in a special edition of the on-line Journal of Urban Mission at the end of 2022.
2022-23: This project was undertaken from January 2023 to June 2023 to identify the contours of the relationship between Asian American and African American communities, specifically Christian communities, and to explore how these characteristics inform educational and formational programs that train pastors and other Christian leaders in the American city, specifically the city of Philadelphia. The findings of this research project would provide the foundations of a learning experience at Missio Seminary on furthering the dialogue and understanding between Asian American and Black Christians in the city. Some key themes emerged from the research: one, the need for mutual understanding and education regarding the other; two, the need to highlight narratives of solidarity to inspire further actions of solidarity; three, the larger context of racial power structures that pit the two minority communities against each other; four, the need to authentically and courageously face the daunting barriers that exist between the two communities and move towards authentic (not superficial) reconciliation; and five, the need to join together in mutually beneficial collaborative efforts as steps towards healing.
The Strengthening Pastoral Formation for Ministry in the City initiative involves seminaries, theological institutions, and churches and intends to help communities and institutions explore and assess their own urban context and church life; gain clarity about their mission and programmatic offerings; and strengthen and support the design and implementation of plans to address key challenges and opportunities for pastoral formation and flourishing congregations in urban settings.