Being and Belonging: A New Vision for SCM

SCM has been around for over 130 years. Our charitable purposes haven’t changed in decades. So, you might be forgiven for wondering why we needed to have a review and refocus of our strategy over the last year!

In case you are interested, here’s what our constitution says we are here for: 

the formation and maintenance of fellowship based on the Christian faith; and 

the promotion of students’ spiritual, moral and physical well-being based on the Christian faith. 

As you can see it’s pretty broad, and every generation of students must interpret how the movement should focus its work for that space and time. After the worst of the pandemic, and with the funding situation being tough, General Council have been working together to plan how to lead and where we can make the biggest difference over the next few years. 

The first step in this journey was a strapline. There are people out there who don’t know we exist, and through the strapline we want to give them a flavour of who we are straight away. With this in mind, in 2020 we landed on "Progressive, student-led faith in action" which you'll see dotted around on our social media, website, and resources.

The second step was to affirm our aims and values. The four outward facing aims that were agreed on in 2017 are: 

  1. Creating Community 
  2. Deepening Faith 
  3. Celebrating Diversity 
  4. Seeking Justice 

There’s also an internal fifth aim of ‘Growing Sustainably’.

Nothing has changed here; we value community and want to create it, we value faith and want to deepen it, we value diversity and want to celebrate it and we value justice and want to seek it. We also value sustainability, both financially and ecologically, so as we grow that’s how we want to do it.  

As big bold aims these are great, but we still needed to decide what our focus was. We asked ourselves, what are the current outcomes of our work, and what do we want the outcomes to be? One thing was clear; we wanted to be sure that everyone who is part of SCM in any way feels that all they need to do is be, and we want everyone to know for sure that this is a place where they can belong. Being and Belonging come first, and if we have a whole lot of students who can say SCM offered them that then we'll be very happy!

But we know that for some people, SCM is all that and more. So we spent a lot of time thinking about what positive impact SCM has for students so that we can make sure they get more of that. Out of this thinking four more outcomes emerged.  

SCM equips students to grow as -  

Thoughtful Disciples 

Progressive Leaders 

Radical Theologians  

Passionate Activists.  

Not every person who turns up at a local group or signs up at a festival thinks these are things they are up for. For some people it stays that way, and that’s fine. But since many members and former members find themselves growing in these areas while with SCM, we wanted to really focus on this and make the most of it. Imagine 90% of SCM graduates every year stepping into their futures really equipped as a disciple, a leader, a theologian and/or an activist. This is church and world changing stuff.  

So, what does it look like in practice? Lots of this refocus is just about finding words for what we already do, so that we can do it with a more purposeful approach. For example, asking ourselves the question ‘who aren’t we getting to write blogs and articles for us, and how can we change that so that we are always encouraging new theologians?’ It also means things like our new Honest Church campaign, which saw students taking a lead who hadn’t done so in SCM before.

Watch this space for things to inspire your passion for activism this term from our Faith in Action project workers and in our Advent care packages, and if you want to get involved in writing course materials for other thoughtful disciples get in touch about our ‘Affirming Christianity’ project!