We were thrilled to bring together students from across Britain for an SCM Gathering in Manchester, where they heard from Fr Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., who spoke on the theme of vocation and calling. The event took place from 10-12 March 2017, and brought together over thirty students from across Britain for a weekend of workshops, fellowship, worship and sharing stories.
“The SCM gathering in Manchester was fantastic, with an amazing speaker in Timothy Radcliffe. I’ve discovered that as an SCM member, I’m part of a national (and international) group of people who are incredible, friendly and so welcoming,” said Robin Hanford, a student and member of SCM Leeds.
Fr Timothy shared stories from his own life and calling, explaining that God doesn’t just call us to one thing – we each have many different vocations in our lives. We are called to the place where our greatest joy meets with the world’s greatest need, he said, during a keynote address on Saturday 11 March.
“Ultimately, we are asked to fall in love with love itself, who is God. Love is a perilous adventure: it is often not sentimental and pleasant, but raw and painful. The Lord of life has called us to love to the full – to love unrealistically and so to be hurt,” he added.
Rach Collins, SCM’s North West Development Worker, said: “It was wonderful to see a sense of community shared and built up between students at SCM’s ‘Called to Be’ gathering in Manchester. We were thrilled to hear different stories and experiences of what God is doing in the world today, and better understand how God continues to call us throughout our lives.”
A packed weekend
The weekend began with a Mandarin Fellowship evening, organised by members of the Mandarin group based at St Peter’s House, Manchester. Former MP John Battle led a workshop on Saturday exploring the world of zero-hours contracts, and encouraging participants to think about the people who have shaped their lives. Liam Purcell from Church Action on Poverty also led a workshop exploring the End Hunger UK campaign, inviting students to put forward their ideas for a hunger-free society.
We held a Friends Gathering on Saturday evening, with around ten SCM Friends and supporters joining students to discuss the theme of vocation. During a series of after-dinner talks, Ann Barlow spoke about why she loves being an SCM Friend, giving her money, passion, skills and prayers to support students and promote an inclusive theology. SCM member Ellie Peacock spoke about the impact of being involved in the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) in Europe, an experience which has opened her eyes to the importance of diversity on a much deeper level.
Finally, Rach Collins spoke about her work in the North West, encouraging people to find their passions and gifts, and contribute wherever they can to help build our community in the region. “Do what you do well and then find someone else to do the same – make new members, find new Friends, and enable more churches to link up with SCM,” she said.