Montreal Urban Partnership update

An update from Stephen Schalm, Campus Minister of International Student Ministries at McGill University in Montreal and Director of the Montreal Urban Partnership.

Montreal Urban Partnership team of 14 students and 2 staff are exploring God's heart for the city of Montreal.

Montreal Urban Partnership team of 14 students and 2 staff are exploring God’s heart for the city of Montreal.

 Day 2 of the Montreal Urban Partnership (MUP) and already changing plans… While flexibility is the name of the game in a program like MUP, I was still nervous to announce to our team that we would be changing plans – turning a night of reflection and sharing into extended communal worship and prayer. I could already hear the potential responses, “But what I really want is alone time right now”… “What do you mean ‘cry out to God’?”… “Already showing how ‘P’ you are on the Myers Briggs, Steve?”… Regardless, it was obvious from some prayer preparation that God was asking me a hard question- will MUP run on human strength, solid teaching and thoughtful planning, good intentions? Or would it be fuelled by a move of the Holy Spirit? How deeply do we want to see the move of God to bring resurrection in us and in this city?

Many of you have been hearing about Montreal Urban Partnership for the past few years- we are at it again, this time through the month of July! A team of 14 students, 2 staff, with help from an ever-growing number of partners throughout the city, will be exploring the heart of God for the city of Montreal- especially for its more marginalized parts- searching for what it would look like for the shalom of God to break into places of brokenness, despair, poverty and injustice, and for us to participate in both receiving and partnering to bring resurrection here!

As we dig deeply into scripture, get to know some great partner communities/organizations, work through our own poverty and brokenness and learn to imagine urban redemption in Montreal, what we really need is Holy Spirit-renewal – Holy Spirit-driven justice, Holy Spirit- driven repentance and transformation, Holy Spirit-driven healing and deliverance, Holy Spirit-driven prophetic imagination… Pray for us through the month of July as we learn to cry out to God for an out-pouring of His Spirit among us to empower us to become a people of justice and righteousness who seek the shalom of this city we have been called to! And pray for Montreal- that it would be made whole again in the name of Jesus! Follow our team on Facebook!


Vancouver Urban Partnership

Thoughts on pigeons from the Vancouver Urban Partnership (May 25, 2014).

Pigeon Park

Inner city neighbourhoods crawl with pigeons. They are kind of gross, eating everything, seen as unclean, avoid them at all cost! The rats of the air.

Doves were the birds for sacrifice. Except if you were poor: you brought a pigeon.

Pigeons are now a sign of Jesus’ presence in the neighbourhood for me.

Vancouver Urban Partnership Update

Students and staff on the Vancouver Urban Partnership are spending four weeks living and experiencing the urban realities of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Here is an update from Christa Smith, the director of the partnership:
Students and staff resting on a beach in Vancouver.

Students and staff resting on a beach in Vancouver.

We are two weeks in, halfway! Between shelter-sleeping, public showers, line-ups for food, countless encounters and diverse partners, the heart of the city is deeply impacting our own hearts. Daily in this neighbourhood, we experience the overwhelming presence of Jesus and His shalom, and daily we experience the overwhelming absence of Jesus and His shalom.
Amos implores the Israelite people to let justice roll like a river and righteousness like an ever flowing stream. We are feeling confronted with a deep longing for this be true while seeing the lack of it in our own lives and communities.
In the midst of these questions and tensions, we find hope and joy in the promise of Jesus as the Fulfiller.
Please pray for the second half of the month:
  • Pray against apathy and complacency to our surroundings.
  • Pray for deep learning about community, holy discontent, stewardship and suffering.
  • Give thanks for our partners who work faithfully year-round in this neighbourhood with the marginalized.


A Message from Steve Colby

Steve Colby

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place…not knowing where he was going..”

It all started on that first Global and Urban experience long ago when Abraham and Sarah set out from Haran for the land that God would show them. Abe and Sarah did not have a compass, nor a destination. But they had a guide!

GOING with God in His mission catalyzes discipleship. One of the chief ways God shapes us through His mission is by calling us out of our comfortable lives out into unfamiliar places among new people and cultures. He brings about transformation in the goers and the receivers through relationship.

My third year in university my staff worker challenged me to go with the student team to Mexico on a Global and Urban Partnership. I did not want to go. I had local plans that made sense to me. Why would I go to Mexico? I didn’t speak Spanish, and I had never done missions work before…what could I possibly contribute?

Little did I know! God dragged me into this program NOT because I had so much to teach, but because i had so much to learn. Right away I got sick, and the whole team had to come around me and nurse me back to health. I tried to communicate, but found myself unwittingly agreeing to things — like preaching to the local woman’s society on sex! I was a missions failure.

And I loved every minute of it. Seriously! I went back three times to Mexico, and of course that was just the beginning. I am absolutely convinced that God has called us into His mission to galvanize discipleship, both ours as well as the people who receive us.

Really, when we stop to think about it, it has always been this way. “Go make disciples of all the nations” is the main way Jesus continues to make disciples of the twelve as well as reach the nations. Both Cornelius AND Peter go through a conversion (Acts 10), Cornelius to faith in Jesus, and Peter in seeing the Holy Spirit confirming the Gentiles as fellow heirs.

One thing is certain– we have to go. When I returned from Mexico many years ago I could have just met with students, shown pictures, told stories, ate food. But here’s what I did:

I gathered my friends and I said…  Let’s GO!

Steve Colby
Director of Missions
Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship

P.S. Click here for the 2014 Global and Urban Partnerships.  Please note, we do not publically list Global or Urban Partnerships in certain countries for security reasons.