Ecclesia has published a more detailed story about the situation with the ecumenical and church bodies in Zimbabwe and their report can be seen here.
The whole story struck me a lot the first time it broke. I spent 6 years heavily involved in SCM – 3 on the staff, 1 on the trustees and 2 as a student before that, and they helped shape who I am today. I was aware the whole time I worked for them that I was in a very honoured and privileged position as they have so many amazing things throughout their history. They have had a very interesting and inspiring collection of people pass through the membership both here and in other countries.
SCM made the world seem all the smaller and closer as it has links throughout the world. One year a new colleague arrived from the other side of the world and he, and his family, had moved because SCM meant a lot to them and they wanted to stick with it – even on the other side of the world. When the war started between Israel and Lebanon recently, that was challenging because the regional office is is Beirut and we knew the staff (including one my colleagues had met and got to know) were very directly affected. The first time I heard of the SCM being targeted in Zimbabwe I was shocked and struggled to think what it would mean…
One day, someone comes into the office where me and my friends work, and destroys or takes everything I’ve worked hard for. Takes the history and links we have, and arrests and threatens us for standing up for what matters to us. Not even for anything particularly radical – democracy.
The bond SCM creates is a special one for me – there is now a family united across the world and the news of what happened in Zimbabwe was like someone attacking my family. I do not know the staff personally but they are just people like me doing what we do because we hope we can play our little part.
My thoughts and prayers go to all in Zimbabwe, for all those with friends and families there. My thanks go to SCM for making this information known to me and giving me the opportunity to try and understand in some small way how difficult things are there, and how we’re all linked with what goes on.