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The Institute for Community Engagement

The Institute for Community Engagement (ICE) is Wesley Theological Seminary's presence in downtown Washington, DC.  ICE sits at the crossroads of many influences:

  • Downtown urban congregations seeking to remain relevant to a gentrifying community
  • A neighborhood where homeless people and urban professionals cross paths but seldom engage;
  • A terminus for Washington's "K Street" and its legions of power brokers at the foot of Capitol Hill where elected leaders legislate;
  • A place where Jesus will manifests God’s glory only if as the church can “turns itself inside-out” and becomes a force in the public square;
  • A place where participating in the Reign of God requires teaching, learning and practicing social ministry entrepreneurship.


Reverend Sam Marullo, Ph.D. 
Professor of Sociology 
Director of Research, Institute for Community Engagement at Wesley Downtown
Director, Missional Church Program

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.
James C. Logan Professor of Evangelism and Professor of Urban Ministry
Managing Director, Institute for Community Engagement at Wesley Downtown
Director, Urban Ministry Program

F. Douglas Powe, Jr. is the James C. Logan Professor of Evangelism and Professor of Urban Ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary.  He is the Associate director of The Center for the Missional Church and the Faculty director of The Course of Study Program.  He 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.

Mauri Bishop
Assistant Director, Institute for Community Engagement at Wesley Downtown

Mauri Bishop provides programmatic and administrative support to Wesley's applied theology programs, the Heal the Sick Program, classes and educational outreach at Wesley Downtown. 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
Associate Director, Heal the Sick

Tom Pruski, RN, MAPS directs the work of the Heal the Sick program and works closely with other staff to coordinate and develop faith community health networks, institutional and congregational partnerships, serves as lead faculty for the health minister and faith community nurse certificates in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, and Northern Virginia.  Tom Pruski is a registered nurse with a Masters in Pastoral Studies with over 19 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.

Tiffany Lee
Program Administrator, Institute for Community Engagement at Wesley Downtown

Tiffany Lee provides programmatic support to the Urban and Missional fellows programs as well as The Center for Public Theology and Heal The Sick.  Prior to coming to Wesley, she spent many years in the health and fitness industry helping others improve their health.  Tiffany received her BA from Howard University in Communication and Culture and Sociology. 

Lesli Vaughan
MDCCC AmeriCorps Vista, Heal the Sick

Lesli Vaughan coordinates the work of the Heal the Sick program in Baltimore and assists with programming in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. She focuses on outreach to congregations and community organizations on behalf of Heal the Sick and on strengthening Wesley’s capacity to serve and equip faith communities that seek to play an active role in improving the health of the community. Prior to joining the Heal the Sick team, Lesli graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Science, Technology, and Society. Planning to pursue her Masters of Public Health, her interests include community health, health education and communication, and addressing health disparities. 

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