Georgetown College welcomes Dr. Bruce Main, President and Executive Director of UrbanPromise Ministries in Camden, New Jersey, as its Danford Thomas Lecturer on Tuesday, March 24, 2009, at 11 a.m. in John L. Hill Chapel. His topic is “Why a Faith-based Response Can Address Root Causes of Urban Poverty.” His remarks will be of particular interest to pastors, socially aware leaders and other individuals who seek to assist youth residing in impoverished areas.
“Dr. Main is one of the most powerful speakers I have heard,” said Dr. Roger Ward, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown College. “His stories captivate my heart, and his challenge to work for change stirs me deeply.”
Main is the creator, motivator and innovator of the outreach of UrbanPromise, a ministry founded in 1988 that seeks to revitalize impoverished urban communities through Christian-based comprehensive youth development programs. It hosts several after-school programs, summer camps, employment readiness programs, entrepreneurial training opportunities, missionary internships, alternative schools for teens, and the Camden Forward School–an elementary school experience for low income families.
“Bruce Main has inspired many of our students to spend their time and their own money working with children in desperate circumstances,” added Dr. Ward. “These students are deeply affected by the poverty, crime, and danger where these children are growing up. They are shocked that this happens in America, and they want to make America better.”
Students from Georgetown College have in the past participated in spring break mission trips to Camden to serve with UrbanPromise. Ten students will make the trip during this year’s College spring break from March 16-20, 2009, accompanied by Dr. Ward and Faith Griffith, Assistant Director for Academic Enhancement.
“Bruce’s ministry and dedication to the children of Camden has changed countless lives,” commented Georgetown College senior psychology major Ashley Clayton, who graduates in May with a double minor in art and philosophy and who has worked the past two summers with the inner city ministry. “UrbanPromise has many different programs that create opportunities for children and teens to play, learn, and grow. Although the positive effects of UrbanPromise and Bruce’s leadership are numerous, the greatest of these is hope. The gift of hope has transformed children and their families, and hopefully, will transform a seemingly hopeless city,” said Clayton, who will be making her third mission trip to Camden the week before Main’s visit here.
Dr. Main’s 20 years of hands-on ministry experience and theological training make his talks and workshops on “Spirituality and Christian Service,” “Adolescent Spiritual Development,” “Youth Leadership,” and “Christian Community Formation,” both practical and insightful. He has published three books, “If Jesus Were a Sophomore: Discipleship for College Students” (Westminster John Knox Press), “If Jesus Were A Senior: Last Minute Preparations for a Life of Discipleship” (Westminster John Knox Press), and “Spotting the Sacred: Noticing God in the Most Unlikely Places” (Baker, 2006). He has also co-authored with Tony Campolo, “Revolution and Renewal: How Churches are Saving the City.”
Selected by Christianity Today Magazine as one of America’s “Up & Coming Leaders under 40” within the United States, Dr. Main speaks both nationally and internationally. He is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University, BA Theology; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, MA Theology, and earned a Doctorate of Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Main lives in New Jersey with his wife, Pamela, and their three children.
The Danford Thomas Lecture, endowed by the Danford Thomas Memorial Lecture Foundation, is an annual event that’s been held on the campus of Georgetown College since 1927. It honors the memory of one of the College’s first permanent faculty members (1839) and is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.