What is Our City?
Our City is focused on training Urban Ministry practitioners, first produced in 2019 to gather Urban Ministry leaders and inspire future prospective Urban expressions. Our City produces events meant to gather passionate Urban Ministry leaders, and intentionally designed as an intergenerational, interdenominational and intercultural ministry expression.
We are going into a new gear in 2023!!! Check out our Upcoming Events section. Our next event is a 1 day conference at Jane and Finch area. Our theme for is about engaging neighbourhoods. Register today!
Dedication. Expertise. Passion.
Plenary Speaker: Justice is Social
I am Canadian born-Jamaican raised.
I currently work full-time in the federal public service and have been for more than 20 years in the areas of the application, interpretation and enforcement of legislation (I cannot reveal where I currently work because the event is not work related -per federal employee policies). I provide training, leadership and coaching in addition to my regular duties and serve on a few committees (Occupational Health and Safety, Employment Equity and Diversity, and Employee Assistance Program Advisory).
I work/serve part-time in ministry with the Anglican Church of Canada at the Church of St. Peter and St. Simon. I am the coordinator/director of Child Youth and Family Ministries, while also serving on the Advisory Board and the Pastoral Leadership team. I have served in youth ministry for more than 25 years and in four churches.
Outside of my regular employment, I am a public speaker, preacher, teacher, published poet, literary artist and spiritual care practitioner (CASC). I am also a philanthropist and the founder of Shaphak (shay-fak), a private support group for women.
Geninne Tatum Bridge
Geninne Tatum Bridge is currently the founder and CEO of Bridge Diversity Consulting Services, an organization that educates and trains on reconciliation and anti-racism through a Biblical framework. She is also pursuing her Master's Degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in Global Missional Leadership. Previously, she served as an associate pastor at PORTICO Community Church. She has served as Youth Unlimited as Intern Program Lead in the Greater Toronto Area and was the former Youth Director for the Eastern Ontario and Nunavut District of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Before that role, she served as the Student Ministries Pastor at The Gathering Place - Pickering for seven years. She is gifted at guiding people as they discover and explore their gifts, process their pasts and lean into their future as they follow Jesus. Geninne loves working with people who need guidance and support as they discover their gifts and talents while engaging them in spiritual and global awareness and issues of justice and compassion.
Workshop: Urban Theology 101
Jesse Sudirgo is the Director of the Masters of Divinity Church in the City (In-Ministry) Program and Assistant Professor of Contextual Ministry at the Seminary. He has a diverse breadth of experience in multiple disciplines of ministry in both the church and non-profit sectors. He is the former Director of Street-Involved Services at the YSM Evergreen Centre and continues to consult with churches in their engagement with poverty in the city. He brings to his work a conviction for interdisciplinary theological reflection that considers those most marginalized in society. His background in church planting in Boston Massachusetts has shaped his interests in missional lay leadership, community development, and urban poverty.
Workshop: Starting non-profit community work from scratch
is a visionary woman with an unconditional love and passion for people. She has an overwhelming desire to see all people live enriched and thriving lives and has become known as a social innovator, humanitarian, Miniter, impactul teacher, leader, coach, author, and an entrepreneur.
Her passion for social innovation has led her to pioneering several remarkable ventures including REST. Center, a non-profit charity that takes a holistic approach to invest in homeless youth, and prepares them to face the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through structured interventions. Today REST has become a strong community support for hundreds of BIPOC youth in the Peel Region.
More than meeting Practical needs , ordained minister Rev. Dagma Koyi has a great desire to see lifes transformed by the power of God's word and prayer. She is the founder Heart-2-Heart Global Ministry, an empowerment program that equips women to live out their faith audaciously. The ministry provides a community encouraging sisterhood and a platform where they can heal and receive transformation through the sound teaching of God's word. Her weekly teaching ministry reaches women across Canada, the USA and the Caribbean.
Dagma is supported by her loving husband, Olubusola. They are the proud parents of twins, Mishael and Rhema, and live in Toronto Canada
Workshop: Power of presence & ministry of hospitality
After pastoring for 21 years at a large city church, Karen took the risk 12 years ago to live on raised funds as an urban worker, joining with what God is doing in East Vancouver, one of the most unchurched neighbourhoods in Canada. She lives a shared life intentionally in a 100 year old, six bedroom house, as a base to seek the flourishing of her community and extend generous hospitality to neighbour and stranger.
Karen has experienced many 'conversions' in herself as she has rooted into her place, leaning into sustainable living practices, urban farming, valuing the ordinary and simple and moved away from a busy and fragmented life (since you can't be busy and be present to others). After replacing her car with a bike, she now lives 90% of her life within walking distance. She has forged a slow lifestyle of radical hospitality to strangers and neighbours (vs entertaining friends and family) and her home - called Parker House - has become the primary gathering space for neighbourhood Soup Nights, House Concerts, etc. After living alone for most of her life, Karen wanted to live more deeply into her faith, intentionally living with others inter-generationally (over 200 people have lived in her home in the last decade). She organized her neighbourhood to sponsor Syrian refugees 7 years ago (who lived with her for a year), and seeks to join with anyone in the community seeking the common good.
It has been a wild and wonderful ride - and she is having a blast at this stage of life. Convinced that the Spirit always works in the particular and in place, Karen will share a bit of her story and learnings from seeking to love God by loving neighbour...and enjoying neighbour as a way to enjoy God....and listening to our community as a way to listen to God.
Rev. Melva Meredith-Lewis
Plenary Speaker: Breaking the Cycle
Rev. Melva Meredith-Lewis is an ordained Minister and one of the Assistant Pastors at Faith Sanctuary Pentecostal church. She is the Coordinating Chaplain at the largest detention centre in Ontario (Toronto South Detention Centre). She has been involved in prison ministry work for over 20 years. Rev. Melva is en route to becoming a Registered Psychotherapist. She is passionate about helping at-risk youths, while seeking to strengthen, empower and change the lives of the incarcerated.
Workshop: Basics of Mental Health and implications for ministry
Sath immigrated from Sri Lanka at four years old and spent most of his life in what the City of Toronto deemed neighbourhood improvement areas: St James Town and Regent Park. His experience being a part of these communities, which were marginalized, fueled his interest and passion for social work. Sath has a degree in English literature, a post-degree in social work, and a Master of Social Work. During the latter two, he explored mental health, race and how (or if) groups with different conceptions of morality can partner to do social justice work. Currently, Sath works as a clinical manager; he supports a multidisciplinary team who aims to keep housed seniors who are transitioning from being chronically homeless.
SATHYAN ARULVARATHAN, MSW, RSW
Workshop: Community Exegesis 101
Ejay is an Urban Missionary to Downtown Toronto for Mission Canada, the local missions agency for the PAOC. He has been serving his friends on the margins for over 17 years and has been living and ministering in the city since January 2007. He currently lives in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto, husband to Cheryl and father to an energetic and brilliant 4 year old, Gemma. He is a passionate Jesus follower and deeply cares for his neighbours, his community and the city of Toronto. He is an immigrant, born in Manila Philippines and has proudly embraced Toronto as his adopted home.
Rev. Duane Henry
Special Presentation & Panel Host
Duane Henry currently serves as Senior Associate Pastor of CONNECT at PORTICO Community Church in Mississauga, Ontario. He has served as an ordained minister within the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada for over twenty years. He is married with two children.
The people who make it work
Vision and Logistics Partner
Ejay is an Urban Missionary to Downtown Toronto through Mission Canada, the local missions agency for the PAOC. He believes his marginalized friends cannot be saved through programs. Loving people with deep compassion is a precious calling. This is why he believes in serving in whatever capacity he is able in order to meet these needs. Ejay, and his wife Cheryl, serve to be a bridge to their neighbours both rich and poor, building community amongst them and practicing radical hospitality. They do this so they may have a glimpse into the kingdom of God.
Favourite Netflix Snack
Popcorn freshly popped through our vintage air popper. Loads of butter on it, with white cheddar powder and a big glass of coca-cola with lots of ice.
Marketing Strategy Partner
Jazelle is a Mission Canada worker reaching university students at Ryerson/X University. She is the Communications and Outreach Coordinator at a campus church called LifeLine. From university student to staff member, Jazelle has been involved with urban ministry for almost 10 years. She and her husband, Brooker, live in Brampton, ON and their favourite shows are Blackish and Modern Family on Disney+.
Administrative and Logistics Partner
Sheryce lives in East Scarborough with her husband Micah, and son Noah. Sheryce has been involved in urban ministry for the past nine years, serving for the past seven years as part of the MoveIn Vision Team. Sheryce is passionate about truly learning to love God and our neighbours.
Partnerships and Marketing Partner
Julius is well known as “Kuya”, which means “big brother”. This title is a solid representation of his role within the community of Warden Woods. Since joining our team, he has been an important role model for many youth & has used his passions for sports, technology & comics to bring the community together. In his spare time, he loves exploring coffeshops in Toronto, Muay Thai, & is well connected both online & off.
Favourite Netflix Snack
Stik-O Chocolate Wafer Stick
Creative Partner & Logistics
Timothy lives in the rapidly evolving neighbourhood of Regent Park, growing up in the suburbs he's always felt a pull towards the city.
Timothy has a Bachelor of Theology, works as a fixer of first world problems, and loves being able to go for runs through the city - when it's not cold outside.
Conference Logistics Partner
Kevin Rogers is the urban ministry consultant for Mission Canada and pastor of New Song Church in Windsor Ontario. He has a long history of involvement in all things urban.
Kevin also has a podcast highlighting different Urban Stories from practitioners all over Canada. Here's the link to the site: https://www.sidewalkskylinepodcast.com/
Steffan Watson is a husband, father, pastor. Residing in Stouffville, with his wife Jaime and daughter Aliyah. Steffan provides pastoral leadership to multiple areas at Stouffville Pentecostal Church. Having served in church ministry for the last 13 years Steffan has a desire to see lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. As lives are transformed, cities will be transformed and maybe just maybe our world will be transformed.
My name is Bernice,
I am the Logistics co-ordinator for Our City Conference. I work at Inner City Outreach as a Program Coordinator working with at-risk youth in the inner city of Jane and Finch. I love working with children and youth, and creating an environment that provides a place where potential can grow. My desire is to make an impact in this world by using my experience and gifts. I’m naturally an introvert but love to be challenged and adventurous.
During my down time I love to watch Netflix and eat some brown stew chicken with a side of coleslaw and festival.