Vision IN Boston

There’s no doubt about it. The world is moving to large city centers. Are you ready to find your career and ministry there?

The Gordon IN Boston program offers undergraduates from Gordon College and partner schools* an opportunity to study, work and live in one of the world’s most fascinating and densely populated cities. Boston is where history happened—and continues to happen! Known as the education capitol of the world—with 50+ colleges and universities and 250,000+ students—Boston is also a city with amazing political, business, and ministry opportunities. The rich diversity and flavor of the various neighborhoods allow engagement of nearly any population group or ethnic community you can name—all within a short subway ride from any other part of the city.

The Gordon IN Boston program is centered in Boston’s famous South End, just two blocks from where Gordon College itself originated in 1889. Offices and classrooms are located in the facilities of the Emmanuel Gospel Center, a national center for urban studies and ministry. The Gordon IN Boston program aims to equip undergraduate students to engage the city and its complex systems and people in order to better prepare for the future.


  • Bring a unified academic framework and context to efforts of engaging students in a broad and substantive understanding of common themes related to urban leadership and sustainability.
  • Immerse students in the environment of the urban context.
  • Develop and engage a “City as Classroom” pedagogy for academic study and experience.
  • Partner with various professional for-profit, governmental, not-for-profit and Christian ministry centers for research, training, curricular, and internship opportunities.
  • Develop a living environment crafted around intentional Christian community within the context of the urban environment.
  • Assist students with making the transition from college to the world of work.
  • Deeply engage the social, political, environmental and political issues of the world-class city of Boston in developing forward-thinking, ethical and sustainable solutions for urban life in the present and the future.

"It is easy to think that the social justice, change, and peace initiatives I am passionate about are impossible goals when I am in my books and not in real life. But when there are present, living examples speaking in my classes and doing work right before me in the city I live in, those goals are not some idealistic dreams I have, but are part of what is already happening." (course evaluation comment)


The idea of specific Gordon-sponsored program in the city of Boston goes back to 1990, under the auspices of history professor, Dr. Diane Blake, director of Off-Campus Programs.

By 1995, the ad-hoc Urban Presence Committee of the faculty, led by Economics professor, Dr. John Mason, wrote

“We recognize that God’s people, both in the city and at Gordon, have been given a diversity of gifts and perspectives which are meant to work together to build up the body and advance the Kingdom. We further acknowledge that unless we take an active role in developing the ties between the different parts of the body and allowing these diverse gifts to bring us all to maturity of faith and to works of service, we are prone to the sterility of scholarship without action or to the dangers of zeal without knowledge. We therefore seek to maintain a strong urban program in order both to guard ourselves from these errors and to be part of God’s work in and care for the city.”

Eventually, out of this mission sprang the beginnings of the Gordon IN Boston program (then called the Boston Urban Semester, or BUS program). It was first initiated in 2000 by then Provost, Mark Sargent and ran continuously through the fall of 2011(with the exception of spring 2011). In total, the program served 175 students, mostly (<80%) from Gordon College. Dr. Craig McMullen was hired in 2002 and served the program as its full-time director until June of 2010. It was largely because of the loss of Dr. McMullen’s leadership, (coupled with an important self-study report in March of 2010,) that the program was “suspended” in 2011.) The GEO, with the support of the Provost and other Gordon administrators have “re-crafted” the Boston program options to address critical issues in ways consistent with the original mission.

We also seek to work closely with the Office of Student Engagement (OCE), under the direction of Val Buchanan and her staff, and with the Chapel Office to partner in ways that provide opportunity for urban engagement in co-curricular ways.


“The semester in Boston was a refreshing and powerful way to envision the work that God is doing in the lives of so many in the city. Through our internship, through the urban studies class, and through community living, we were able to witness not only the harsh realities of broken neighborhoods, but also the joy of the productivity and busyness of urban life, and most importantly, the heart and plan that God has for this and every city.”

Apurva Thanju (Biology, 2009)