The CRC Campus Ministry at the University of Toronto will be bringing urban missiologist Mark Gornik to Toronto for a series of lectures on March 13 and 14. Gornik’s ground-breaking book, To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City, has been a staple of urban theological education for fifteen years.
“The series of lectures are free to the public and we offer them as a resource to all of our colleagues in the CRC and beyond,” said Brian Walsh, chaplain at the University of Toronto. “Some of these events might be good things to consider as a field trip with students.”
Gornik, a Christian Reformed Church minister, is the founder and director of City Seminary, a theology school in Harlem with an approach to learning geared to the needs of students who are doing or want to get involved in ministry in the city.
Gornik’s lectures will examine lessons learned in the 15 years since publishing his ground-breaking book, and in his experience at the City Seminary of New York.
“The seminary is a response to what I saw God doing in the city. We wanted to be an institution for our community,” said Gornik. “We have students attending here from all five boroughs.”
Students come from a range of experiences and backgrounds. Some may have theology Ph.D.s or M.Div. degrees, while others may be coming from Bible institutes or church-based training, and still others may not have had any formal training. Some go on to plant churches, in the city and elsewhere, while others stay at the churches where they are and many remain working in different jobs to pay their bills.
In addition, weaving through the curriculum is a Reformed perspective, combined with elements of Catholic and Pentecostal approaches, that teaches that all of the world, and in this case the big city, is filled with the grace and saving action of God.
“We see our mission as proclaiming the kingdom of God for creation and the renewal of all things—and of teaching the good news and healing of God in New York and for cities around the world,” said Gornik.
Gornik said he believes theological education today has to take place on the ground, in communities where today’s international students are living -- and to be done in practical ways to reach the mixture of students who are the future of the church.
“We are all about what it means to equip people to work for the gospel in the city,” said Gornik. “To be a part of the diverse body of learning that is City Seminary is one of the most joyous experiences of my life.”
For more information about the lecture series visit www.wycliffecollege.ca/gornik.