Wesley Downtown

A Presence in the Public Square

What do you find at the intersection of poverty and power, at the crux of theology and politics, and at the corner of Massachusetts and 9th? Wesley Downtown – the latest graduate school venture in contextual urban ministry and public theology exploration.

Wesley Downtown seeks to offer lay and clergy the opportunity to extend their spiritual journeys and continue to grow in their roles as disciples of Christ, whatever their vocation. Seeking to meet the needs for extended learning and training for individuals, congregations, and agencies, programming is designed to address the felt needs and concerns and to challenge new thinking and actions. Wesley Downtown hosts Master's level courses spring, fall, summer, and J-Term (the first weeks of January each year), as well as intensive classes for the Urban Ministry Doctor of Ministry track.


Wesley Downtown seeks to embody a missional spirit characterized by our being a gospel witness to the good news of Jesus Christ.  In all that we say and do, and in who we are, we week to express the grace of God and the love of Jesus Christ.  We love our neighbors through serving them and respecting them in all of who they are.  We open ourselves to faithful relationships with others, outside as well as inside the church, by speaking and listening with an open heart.  We express the basis for these relationships to be the love that Christ showed us and we listen with open minds for the ways that others wish to be known.  We seek God through relationships with both the lowly and the powerful of the world, in places broken and in places of power.

Wesley seeks to be an agent of justice and reconciliation through its work, and strives to model faithful Christian community characterized by servant-leadership and sacrificial love.


Reverend Sam Marullo, Ph.D. - Director, Center for the Missional Church, Professor of Sociology

Sam Marullo is Director of the Center for Missional Church at Wesley Theological Seminary.  Dr. Marullo is a sociologist with thirty years experience in academia, where much of his work has focused on public scholarship and community-based research that supports community transformation to promote social justice.  He has published extensively in the areas of social movements and social change, urban sociology, the peace movement, and methods of community-based research.  His current research focuses on congregation-based community engagement that transforms both the Church and the community.  He is also a clergy member of the United Methodist Church—a deacon in the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

The Center for the Missional Church, located at Wesley Downtown in the heart of downtown Washington DC, serves as one of the seminary’s key units for community engagement.  The Center houses the seminary’s applied theology programs in missional evangelism, public theology, and urban ministry; supports community-engaged research and teaching; and sustains partnerships with congregations, non-profit organizations, and other faith-based initiatives.  The Center is home for the seminary’s Heal the Sick program, an interfaith project supporting wholistic health through congregational and community partnerships.


F. Douglas Powe, Jr., Ph.D.- James C. Logan Professor of Evangelism and Professor of Urban Ministry; Associate Director of the Center for the Missional Church

F. Douglas Powe, Jr. is an ordained elder in the Missouri Annual Conference.  His newest book, New Wine, New Wineskins: How African American Congregations Can Reach New Generations, focuses on African American evangelism and the need for re-evaluating traditional approaches.  Powe has various other contributions to the field including, Transforming Evangelism: The Wesleyan Way of Sharing Faith. Powe also serves as Faculty director of The Course of Study Program at Wesley Theological Seminary.


Mauri Bishop - Assistant Director, Wesley Downtown

Mauri Bishop is the Assistant Director of Wesley Downtown. Mauri provides administrative and programmatic support to Wesley's applied theology programs and the Heal the Sick Program. Since 2007, Mauri has been active in advancing the mission of Wesley through resource development first as Development Officer for Church Relations, then as Director of Alumni Relations. She is currently a Master of Divinity student at Wesley, specializing in Urban Ministry. Prior to her ministry at Wesley, Mauri served as the Development Director of Emmaus Services for the Aging, raising critical funds for programs and services for the elderly poor in the Shaw community of Washington, D.C.


Tom Pruski - Program Manager, Heal the Sick

Tom Pruski, RN, MAPS is the director of the Wesley Theological Seminary’s Heal the Sick program at Wesley Downtown.  Tom works closely with other Heal the Sick program staff and lead liaison fellows to coordinate and develop institutions and congregational partnerships in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, and Northern Virginia.  Tom Pruski is a registered nurse with a Masters in Pastoral Studies with over 18 years of health ministry experience.  He was trained in using Paulo Freire’s popular education model at the Transformation for Health Leadership Training from Global Health Action in Atlanta, Georgia in March 2000.  Tom has trained over 140 health advocates to lead a variety of health and wellness initiatives in their congregations. Tom has served as Health Ministries Association’s (HMA) Nominations Chair and on its numerous national conference planning committees. Tom is a member of the Health Minister Association Mid Atlantic Coordinators Group and a lifetime member of HMA.


The Partnership at Wesley Downtown

Located in the heart of the nation's capital, Wesley Downtown is the fruit of a collaboration between Wesley Theological Seminary, Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church and Asbury United Methodist Church. The Partnership seeks to bring the strengths and stories of each of these historic institutions to bear on the life and health of the city as well as in the development of best practices for urban ministry and public theology to be translated across the country.

The multi-use facility is within walking distance of the White House, Capitol Hill, and Chinatown, as well as an active community of social service organizations. In addition to housing Wesley's contextual education programs in Urban Ministry and Missional Church Wesley Downtown is also the home to DC's latest urban Intentional Community, an initiative of Wesley students that is based in Birch Residence Hall, named after Wesley's popular Dean Emeritus, Dr. Bruce C. Birch.


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