Urban Apostolate: Suffering, Mutuality & Dignity on the Streets

Code: SP/PT5/713

Dates: January 17, 2022 - April 8, 2022 on Wednesdays

Time: 9:00 am

The goal of this course is to discover the face of Jesus in an inner-urban parish, the living Christ among sisters and brothers. He is there and alive. They are our mentors, showing us the way of Christ in a marginalized community. To discover the distinctiveness of street facing ministry—what is its shape there—over against more “normal” parochial skills?

The course will be taught on-site at St. James Anglican Church in the DTES, where Father Matthew has his office. We will read and write, as seminary courses ordinarily do. But we will also take field trips, pray, explore the neighbourhood, and by the end we will have a sense of the place, its people, its history and stories. We will workshop “responding to the agitated person,” learning from Father Matthew’s experience in this oft-offered teaching. The Downtown Eastside stands in for “poverty” and “drug abuse” and “danger” in most Vancouverites’ minds. But Jesus’ people know he blesses the poor and is among them in special ways. We who are less materially deprived must go and find him there, among his beloved poor. This course will begin a lifelong pilgrimage of doing that, both in the DTES and far beyond.

On-site only (St. James Anglican Church): The unique nature of this course requires its participants to be physically present in class together. No distance or asynchronous students may enroll.

Because the course deals with painful and difficult issues, students are duly warned that if they are currently dealing with trauma, or with significant unprocessed trauma in their history, they may be triggered by this course, and should not register.