There are lots of reasons why people have faith, but a key reason for me is about being part of something bigger. I think that’s why I’m also passionate about being involved in the global movement of SCMs – The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF). It gives me the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world, who love God and want to create a movement of solidarity. You begin to see that the issues in our churches are not confined to just our country, that we can learn from each other and support one another.
I was lucky enough to attend the WSCF European Regional Assembly in Denmark this year. I met students from all across Europe who love God and come from a whole host of backgrounds. Our movements are all different – some old and established with paid staff members (Norway, Sweden, Germany), resurging movements like SCM Ireland and denominational student networks from Poland, Lithuania, Italy and Macedonia. It was great to meet with the folk from SCM Ireland and hear about their perspectives on Brexit and student life. I also got to see my friend Pavlina who is involved with the Methodist student movement in Macedonia.
Throughout the assembly, we shared stories of faith and took turns to lead worship. Plus, some of the more boring but really important stuff – like voting for amendments to the by-laws! Like most institutions (trade unions, political parties, the church etc.) WSCF has seen a decline in membership in the West, but that brings exciting possibilities – we can return to our roots as an authentic Jesus movement. The WSCF General Assembly in Berlin this coming June will focus on this issue and how we make our vibrant movement accessible for everyone.
I’d really recommend getting involved in WSCF. You meet amazing people and make friends for life. You get to impact the future of our movement on a global scale and learn some new things too. Issues like climate change don’t care for our borders, so we need to cross borders to join hands and create global change. As an established movement with paid staff, we need to support smaller struggling movements in Eastern Europe and the Global South. We are poorer without the voices of our Christian family from these areas. I’m excited for the future and I pray for all our movements and those who work tirelessly to support our students in challenging times.
Written by Lizzie Gawen. Lizzie Gawen is studying a Masters in Missional Leadership and is the Mission Apprentice Scheme Coordinator for the Diocese of Birmingham. She previously worked for SCM Britain for 6 years. She is passionate about theology, social justice and evangelism. She also loves a good comic book, Lego, and a glass of gin (though not always at the same time!)