Located in the neighbourhood of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Entr’Ados has worked with youth and families since 2009. Their ministry to teens includes an after-school homework program, cooking workshops, and micro-entreprises to increase their Financial Capability. On top of that, they mentor teens and their families, and run several urban agriculture initiatives and art projects. They are connected to several missional communities and act as a space of service for Christians and their neighbours who are wanting to engage with their neighbourhood.
Innovation Youth is a youth and family centre initiated by Christian Direction in 2006 located in the neighbourhood of Peter-McGill in downtown Montreal. Among their ministries, they offer a youth program pursuing academic, professional and personal goals, a children’s library, an urban agriculture program and a food security program. Innovation Youth has been one of the vital learning labs for Christian Direction in that it is a place where urban practitioners can try out new ideas and test theories in the realm of church social outreach, community development and poverty alleviation.
West Island Network
The West Island Network (WIN) is a concerted group of churches and Christian organisations located in the West Island that is coordinated and supported by Christian Direction. This network provides representation on the local community council, and co-facilitates the Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion roundtable. The network is a hub for local pastors and prayer gatherings, as well as a Community Action and Impact team. It is an innovative example of the potential of cross-church collaboration and commitment for social and spiritual transformative work in the neighbourhood.
Innovation Assistance is the food security programme of Innovation Youth. In the spring of 2020, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Innovation Assistance launched a food bank in response to the demand for food assistance in the Peter-McGill neighbourhood. As of Spring 2022, Innovation Assistance transitioned into a Solidarity Market model, which functions as a heavily discounted Farmer’s Market in order to give members access to healthy, fresh, and as much as possible, local food. Innovation Assistance is only possible thanks to the people and programs that commit to volunteering. They work with many other youth programs in the neighbourhood and within Innovation Youth to run daily operations!
The Rapha Study
The Rapha Study is a research project that asks “What are the experiences of domestic abuse of victims/survivors in the church, and what are the attitudes of laypeople and leaders in Christian faith communities in Quebec towards this issue?” The study seeks to determine the experiences of domestic abuse of churchgoing victims/survivors and their experiences related to support from both church leadership and laypersons. The research will be conducted in three phases: a survey of current or former churchgoers in Québec; interviews with victims/survivors; and focus groups with church leaders.
Artisans de Paix
Les Artisans de Paix is an ecumenical group of engaged Christians who seek the peace and well-being of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Through this network, they serve their neighbourhood in the name of Jesus. Christian Direction coordinates and supports Les Artisans de Paix. Their work includes holding spiritual animation activities, which take place about once a season. They hold prayer gatherings for the neighbourhood, Christmas carolling and outreach activities in areas of greater vulnerability.
Youth Church is a collaborative movement of churches that work together for youth ministry in downtown Montreal. Christian Direction supports this network.
Their vision is to disciple teenagers and help kids learn to love their city in the method and manner of Jesus. Every month there is an inter-church worship night and a service night, during which they cook meals for homeless shelters, for instance. In the Summers of 2021 and 2022, they ran week long service-centred internships wherein teens learnt what it means to pray for and serve their neighbours intentionally. As a program that has almost entirely existed within the pandemic, they are always trying out new methods to effectively engage youth and help them understand how the Gospel can infuse itself into all the aspects of their lives.
The Urban Lab is our teaching content! It’s a formative experience that helps shape and engage young adults, namely those in employment or internship with Christian Direction, in their spiritual and missional journey. Essentially, the content helps us look at the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and from this, gives us a theological perspective on our practical work in the community.
Every week, young adults gather and discuss the following themes: The Method of Jesus (scarcity to abundance), the Message of Jesus (theory to practise) and the Manner of Jesus (rivalry to peacemaking). We analyse how these are modelled for us in the life and ministry of Christ and how they create Messengers who are free of fear and able to live into the art of loving our city into greatness. We aim to be innovative as we add a spiritual formation component into the shaping of young urban leaders for active roles in Christian community development.
Practicing Peace is a study in discernment done in Montréal-Nord in partnership with three local churches. The process includes an exegesis of this neighbourhood, a series of listening groups or interviews with stakeholders and practitioners in the community, prayer walks, and investigative conversations through which we meditate on the suffering, hope, and heart of Montréal-Nord. Ultimately, we seek to help congregations to articulate their vocational call in their community according to the manner, method, and message of Jesus Christ. As this work is accomplished, concrete results include the creation of a small network of churches that collaborate and committed Christians as well as getting a dialogue going hosted by a group of teenagers on urban violence and the way they hope the church will react to the rise of this issue.