Leah Uptigrove lives in Calgary Canada and worked as PA to Claire in SYC a few years ago. Prior to that she completed Fusion’s ‘internship training’ in Canada and was part of the team there for a number of years. Leah has spent time with Fusion teams in Australia and has twice joined Anika and Claire from SYC on support visits to the Fusion team in Cape Town South Africa.


“Part of my career involves transcribing medical terminology. When I was training there was a lot of emphasis placed on knowing the origin of each word part, as it helps to understand meaning and spelling of the terms. ‘Fusion’, in the medical world, is a ‘coming together’. What a metaphor to describe the organization who I’ve witnessed transform their corners of the world, simply by being present with each other in authentic and intentional ways. Across the movement I have seen: young people growing to know that they are created in the image of God, and communities understanding that living the Gospel means making space for the least of these in their midst. It is a ‘coming together’ that changes communities.
The names that we call ourselves and our organizations, can be poetic, prophetic, tribal, or just arbitrary. And there are occasions in the life of any organization where a new name becomes appropriate. Fusion itself had a name change, when an old name was stuck in the past, and a new way of describing ourselves pointed towards the future. It is helpful to remember that a negative association with a name is not the only reason a change may be welcomed. I am reminded of when Christ changed Simon’s name to Peter (meaning: rock) in the gospel. He wasn’t moving away from something inherently wrong with Simon, instead he was calling Peter into the fulfilment of his purpose. From that time forward, when Peter introduced himself, I imagine him thinking ‘Hello, I am Peter, the rock on which Christ will establish his church’. Each time his name was spoken he was reminded, and encouraged, to live into the calling he had received.

“I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

Matthew 16: 18

Seeing the new SYC website and reading the new mission statement “Shifting culture at the heart of community” I see the hopes and vision for Shift Youth + Community being expressed. I also see a connected member of a larger family, Fusion International. Coming together is another way of describing community. Shifting culture is about the values-based model of sharing life that Fusion has always invested in.
The re-branding of Shift reminds me that even in times of transition, the heart of our mission is recognisable no matter where in the world we are, or what we call ourselves. I am excited and energized by the re-design, for the way it holds the values that were always at the centre of the work and how it better reflects the actions we take to impact the communities we work in.

Our history has always been one of meeting people who have hearts for their neighbourhoods, and investing time, training, and prayer in those people and their visions. The new branding of Shift is a poignant way of expressing what the goal has been from the beginning.

Whether we are called Streetlights, like our brother’s and sisters in Greece, or we meet for ‘Talk and Tucker in Australia, or ‘Yard Flex’ in Jamaica. Whether we operate under the names of the churches we are in partnership with or run Festivals under the banner of the International Sports Coalition – what we do when we are together, the life and the hospitality we share – that is our legacy. If Shift Youth + Community is better able to come together with this distinctive and unique name, then I for one am excited to see them live into the calling we share as this movement, and as brothers and sisters in Christ.”