Grand Rapids UPF

Loving Our City into Greatness

An Urban Peacemaker Fellowship

Urban Peacemaker Fellowships (UPF) are Street Psalms training initiatives. Led by Street Psalms Senior Fellows, our 10 Urban Peacemaker Fellowships work to equip the head, heart and hands of urban leaders to love their city and seek its peace with the Gospel of Jesus.

How do we create a sustainable (economically viable) framework (training and organizational structure) with the marginalized and powerful in a racially broken and divisive context.

There are three primary challenges that we have identified:

  • The City of Grand Rapids has lots of historical and institutional racism that hasn’t been acknowledged–creating barriers to the shalom of the City; it may get worse before it gets better as we challenge the status quo.
  • There are over 800 churches and 2800 nonprofits in Grand Rapids, the city is extremely philanthropic; however it has created lots of dependency amongst marginalized communities that has led to the City being ranked the 2nd worst City for black Americans
  • Despite lots of community and organizational efforts to create a seamless blend of sustainable spiritual, community and economic development initiatives, there continues to be multiple systemic barriers to engaging marginalized groups in Grand Rapids in a multi-faceted manner.

Justin Beene


As a Street Psalms Senior Fellow, Justin’s particular focus is connecting real problems to resources in an equitable and sustainable way for those who have been marginalized.