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Seven student interns from Calvin Theological Seminary explored the dynamics of urban ministry through an internship in Chicago last summer.

Each intern was assigned to an urban Christian Reformed church and participated in outreach events such as day camp, vacation Bible school, and Dragon Boat Races (see CRC News, October 2007, p. 14).

The group visited culturally and denominationally diverse churches and church plants in Chicago. For example, they attended a three-hour worship service at St. Sabinas, an African American Roman Catholic mega-church that has made a tremendous impact in its neighborhood through community development and anti-violence campaigns. They also experienced a hip-hop worship service in the Lawndale community.

The interns also visited an Islamic training center and mosque. They attended prayers and met with Dr. Aasi, chair and professor of Islamic studies at the American Islamic College, to dialogue about Muslim/Christian relationships.

Each week the group toured a Chicago neighborhood to view a CRC urban ministry model and a non-CRC model. They discussed the experience, reflecting on what was helpful and what they could learn for their own future ministries

Sarah Matherly, a seminarian from Iowa, said, “The thing that was most helpful was seeing the amazing variety of ministries and ways to help people. Through the internship, the message that we kept getting was, ‘Listen to the needs of the community and determine how the church can provide for those needs.’ It gave me ideas of how God can use me in the city. That message will stay with me and challenge me.”

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