All Are Welcome: SCM Summer Gathering 2017

The SCM summer gathering took place this year at All Hallows Church in Leeds and was on the theme ‘All are welcome’.

The event started on Friday evening with the AGM, in which two new members were elected to General Council: Robin Hanford and Justin Lunniss. Read more about that here.

After a delicious meal cooked by the Real Junk Food Project at All Hallows, we had the SCM Awards and the launch of a new campaign on climate justice! We will be announcing further details about the campaign soon, so stay tuned for updates. Later on, students joined in with an Iftar to celebrate the breaking of the Ramadan fast, with the Syrian refugee community in Leeds.

On Saturday morning, the group was up early to hear the keynote speaker Dr Rachel Muers, who spoke about hospitality and welcome from a biblical perspective. Rachel challenged us to think about who has the power in a situation of hospitality: is it the guest or the host? She explained that in biblical times, the guest was the one with power, as all people had a duty to accept someone into their home.

Rachel also spoke about being vulnerable and living like ‘common people’. Unlike the girl in the Pulp song who is privileged and can go back to her better life whenever she likes, the incarnation only matters if it is a commitment to complete vulnerability in which Jesus cannot just ‘click his fingers’ and ask for God to ‘end it’.

Following on from Rachel’s talk, Revd Heston Groenewald, vicar of All Hallows church, led the group in a Bible Study on the theme of biblical Jubilee or, as Heston put it, ‘jumbo’ justice and liberation. There were some very good discussions, some of which touched on the difficulty of finding and nurturing common ground with others we strongly disagree with.

After another delicious Real Junk Food Project lunch, we split into different smaller groups to do different and very varied activities, including Faith Reflection and campaigning; craftivism; circus skills and rosary making.

On the Saturday evening, SCM Leeds led us in Taizé worship and we enjoyed a final meal cooked once more by the Real Junk Food Project kitchen team (coordinated by the wonderful Emily). We said our goodbyes after dinner, leaving time for travel and further reflection on what was a brilliant, inspiring weekend.

Check out our social media round-up of the weekend on Storify here.