Urbana 09 to Highlight Pressing Missions Issues

Urbana 09 News Release #7
For Immediate Release

(Madison, WI) – Urbana 09, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s 22nd Student Missions Conference, will address some of the most pressing global issues presently faced by missions practitioners around the world. More than 20,000 people, from every state and many nations, are expected to attend Urbana 09, December 27 – 31, 2009, in St. Louis.

Each day at Urbana 09 the program will focus on a different issue and the challenges it presents. “God is at work in the midst of all kinds of unique challenges,” said Urbana director Jim Tebbe. “Attendees will hear speakers from a variety of cultural contexts discuss how God is at work and will also learn about the needs that still remain. They will also experience worship with thousands of others in one of the most diverse worship gatherings in North America.”

The four issues in focus at Urbana 09 are:

Movement of Peoples
The lives of millions of people are being dramatically affected by immigration, migration, and human trafficking. In the midst of great human suffering, there are opportunities for people to come to know Christ, who was himself a refugee and understands their sufferings. Urbana will provide an introduction to the different types of people movement around the world, both voluntary and involuntary, and will create the case for why it’s important to understand this issue for both missions practitioners, and those who support them. Speaker: Ruth Padilla Deborst, general secretary, Latin American Theological Fellowship, San Jose, Costa Rica.

The Global South is taking on significant leadership in missions. As North Americans seek to thoughtfully participate in missions around the world, will we respond with our whole lives, in addition to our financial support?
Speaker: Oscar Muriu, pastor, Nairobi Chapel, Kenya.

Environmental Stewardship
As part of God’s global community, we seek to understand how the most vulnerable people on earth are affected by environmental degradation. Speaker: Denise-Margaret Thompson, professor, University of Trinidad and Tobago.

Divisions between Peoples
The story of the Samaritan woman in John’s Gospel illustrates how one believer takes the gospel message back to the very people who marginalized her in her village. Followers of Christ are challenged to follow her model by extending the grace and joy of Christ to people who are separated by race, ethnicity, politics, national borders, and ideologies. Speakers: Brenda Salter McNeil and InterVarsity president Alec Hill.

Other speakers at Urbana 09 include Shane Claiborne, a founding partner of The Simple Way, a Christian community in Philadelphia; Rev. Sunder Krishnan, senior pastor, Rexdale Alliance Church, Etobikoke, Ontario; York Moore, evangelist and abolitionist, InterVarsity/USA; and Patrick Fung, general director, Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) International, Singapore. Ramez Atallah will be the Urbana 09 Bible expositor. Atallah serves as the general secretary of the Bible Society of Egypt.

October 17 Pricing Deadline
The cost of Urbana 09 registration will increase after October 17. Register at www.urbana09.org before this deadline for the best rates.

For more information contact:
Christy Chappell
Urbana Communications Director