Tag Archives: SCM

Notes on My Spiritual Journey 3 – Student Christian Stuff

The Student Christian Society was discovered at a similar time to the chaplaincy. A group of about 10 – 20 of us met weekly to drink tea and natter. Sometimes we’d do some theological discussion, and other times we’d go bowling. Once a term we’d do the evening service at the chaplaincy, and we’d go on an annual retreat. The group was made up of a quirky group of people but all of us found fellowship with one another. We had no expectations about each other’s beliefs, chosen worship styles, passions or university (for there were 4 to choose from). The group was a tight knit bunch but deeply committed to living out faith fully, and exploring together.

In my second year, things moved up a notch as I also discovered the Student Christian Movement, and in that a thriving group across the country doing what we were doing. I attended their annual conference and found myself encouraged to write prayers and interactive activities (alt worship) for the corporate worship one evening. In co-ordinating the worship from SCS I had benefited from a lot of advice from a good friend training as local preacher. On conclusion of the worship session, I felt greatly honoured and encouraged that several people from the conference asked for the resources to use within their own communities.

It was in this setting that I had found myself increasingly involved in preparing and leading worship for the student group, and within the chaplaincy. As the time came for SCS to lead their termly evening service, the group met to prepare it. As all of us had concerns and fears about ‘preaching’ or doing the ‘talky bit’ we opted for preparing a slide show enabling people to reflect personally on the word of God. As the Sunday of the service approached, I became increasingly unsettled that we had no exploration of the readings and, by about midnight the night before a feeling had boiled up inside me where I felt I had to respond to the readings by preparing and delivering a ‘talky bit’. The same friend who had assisted me with the prayers earlier, encouraged me and made time to guide me through some basics to consider as I prepared the reflection. The reflection was duly written and presented, giving more structure and definition to the service. I was encouraged to consider exploring preaching further, but on that initial occasion said I’d done more than enough of it.

I was encouraged to lead a similar section of the service on one subsequent occasion and found it rewarding.

On leaving university I continued by links with SCM nationally by getting involved in their board of trustees. This gave me unique opportunities to work alongside chaplains and to commit to this organisation which was increasingly meaning more to me. The space, at a national level through events and publications, informed me about ideas and influential thinkers I’d not had the opportunity to experience until then. In this environment I was not only challenged but equipped to respond to the questions which were emerging. It was the opportunity for me to grow faster, confidently and competently within the theological setting while being allowed to critique as many ideas as I embraced.

My time at SCS, and SCM, led to me seeking to ensure that such provision as I had benefited remained available for other students, and many of the people I met through the organisations remain good friends.

Continuing developments…

Zimbabwean SCMers cleared amidst escalating attacks on civil society

14 June 2008

WSCF is pleased to report that all five Zimbabwean SCMers detained following the armed police raid and subsequent arrests on SCM Zimbabwe headquarters last Monday, have been released and cleared of charges.

At the same time, WSCF notes with increasing concern that the SCMers have returned to their homes in the context of escalating attacks on civil society, which through the past week that have seen numerous acts of violence, intimidation, destruction of property and illegal arrests directed towards civil society organisations across the country.

SCM Zimbabwe Vice Chairperson, Langelihle Manyani has told WSCF she and her colleagues are now living in fear as state agents in unmarked vehicles continue to follow and intimidate student leaders. Early this week SCMZ’s Gender Secretary Matsiliso Moyo and her baby were the first to be released from detention (on the evening of the raid) along with Gladys Mabuto, a senior staff member of the Christian Alliance.

SCM’s Zimbabwe’s General Secretary Prosper Munatsi was released from the police cells at Harare Central Prison on the night of Tuesday June 11, along with SCM leaders Langelihle Manyani, Precious Chinanda and intern Sandra Dzvete and the three other detainees from the Christian Alliance and Ecumenical Support Services. Seven of the arrested Harare Ecumenical Centre staff had charges made against them under the Criminal Law Reform and Codification Act, claiming they had published falsehoods and distributed subversive information.

According to defence lawyer and SCM member Jeremiah Bamu, the charges against the SCMers and other ecumenical workers have now been cleared after the Attorney General refused to prosecute. The Zimbabwean police have however refused to return property confisticated from SCM offices including, a minibus, two laptops, computer, 300 t-shirts and pamphlets. An urgent motion to have the property returned has been filed at the High Court in Harare.

WSCF continues to be concerned at the increasing threat to democracy-supporting civil society in Zimbabwe, as it receives reports of widespread incidents of armed police raids, destruction of property, attacks and illegal arrests of leaders and members of civil society.

According to the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), students and other stakeholders in civil society are being accused by the Mugabe regime of supporting the opposition. This accusation has led to the suspension of operating licenses of all Non-Governmental Organisations.

The Federation has received reports of increased intimidation and violence against more than ten different national and local Zimbabwean civil society organisations situated in Harare, Bulawayo, Kwekwe, Bindura and Masvingo. The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), the National Association of Non Government Associations (NANGO) and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) have all released statements this week identifying members, leaders or officials who have come under attack from government forces and have been threatened, beaten, had property seized or destroyed or have been illegally detained by police.

WSCF continues to work closely with the international ecumenical movement and at UN events in Geneva to develop new ways of providing tangible support to ecumenical and civil society groups and the people of Zimbabwe. This Wednesday at the WSCF-YWCA organised Zimbabwe weekly focus meeting at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, human rights defenders from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights are expected to make presentations on Zimbabwean issues to resource the ecumenical movement on further appropriate actions to take in support of Zimbabweans in the current crisis.

More information on the situation in Zimbabwe

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.

Zimbabwe news release from SCMZ – see entry for information. There’s nothing more I can add.

As part of the ongoing onslaught on civic society organisations in Zimbabwe, the Ecumenical Centre, a conglomeration of faith based democracy organisations which house the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (SCMZ), the Ecumenical Support Services (ESS), the Christian Alliance (CA) and Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference (ZNPC) and PADARE Men’s Forum on Gender has been raided at around 1300hrs, Monday 09 June 2008 by heavily armed members of the police, central intelligence and military personnel.

The Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe a chapter of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) based in Geneva Switzerland which stands for promoting justice and peace in Zimbabwe has received with great shock the subsequent raid, arrest and detention of some of its employees and executive members. In the process police ransacked the SCMZ offices and confisticated, computers, laptops, digital cameras, and a mini bus. The movement sees this as a move to incapacitate the movement since it has been fully geared towards sensitising Christian students and youth on their rights and responsibilities in the face of a break or make Presidential runoff pencilled for the 27 of June 2008. Those arrested are, Prosper Munatsi (SCMZ General Secretary), Sandra Dzvete (office intern), Langelihle Manyani (Vice Chairperson), Matsiliso Moyo (Gender Secretary), and Precious (Finance and Administration Officer).

SCMZ condemns such acts of intimidation directed to civic society players by the state security agents. SCMZ views the arrests and detentions as part of the broader campaign of intimidation orchestrated against defenceless citizens. The ZANU PF government is clearly displaying its degrees in violence. This is the time for the whole world to see and judge for itself the true characteristic of a government which has on many times tried to convince the world that it is not only legitimate but democratic. The government has abdicated its duties by declaring war on its own people and creating an atmosphere of general insecurity among the populace. It is our sacred duty as civic society and opposition forces to continue fighting for the opening up of democratic space and justice in Zimbabwe. To members of the ecumenical family the time has come for us not only to speak but also to act against injustice, oppression and corruption according to the standard of the word of God.

Psalms 72:1-4 “May he judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with justice! Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills in righteousness! May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor!

Now. Is. Not. The. Time. To. Get. Ill.

I have 6 sets of outstanding things for old w*rk.

I have a visit to a student group after w*rk this week.

I have to go to an all weekend meeting.

I need to find somewhere to live sooner rather than later.

I need to get to the point where I can hand over my current job to a replacement.

I need to get ready to start my new job (full time) from two weeks today.

I can’t breathe.

I’m still trying to pretend that I’m not feeling ill as it really is inconvenient but it’s not working very well. I really hope this doesn’t develop into anything nasty, and, ideally, be magically gone by tomorrow morning. Somehow I doubt it.

Also, I’m generally such a terrible patient, so that’s no help either. 🙁

Happy Smiley Never Conforming

I got the job. I got the job. I got the job.

Okay, so I’ll stop reciting that now. I was really so surprised. It means I need to move again though so if anyone knows any good letting agencies or properties available in Birmingham, please let me know. Also removal firms.

I’m going to have to spend time thinking about what needs to be done in the next month or so. It should be good.

What will be a nice side effect of this is the proximity to the sisters. I should be able to see them more often and may even be able to keep my old spiritual director but I think I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

Re diary – I think January has gone now. At this rate, February will go by next week! Definately worth buying a new diary.

Party Update

I’ve finally got round to rearranging my Ann Summers party. I’ve put it off for a week so it is now

*Wednesday November 24th 2004*

If I have double booked myself, or you want to come, please let me know. Also if you want more information, it’s available at www(dot)annsummers(dot)com. I’m not putting it as a normal link as it’s only supposed to be seen by those aged over 18.

I did get offered a Friday Night but it’s November 19th and I’ll be at the SCM AGM, see http://www.movement.org.uk. I got offered a Saturday too – December 4th and I’ll be in Snowdonia with Ship folk. Oh to have a weekend of piece and quiet…

Oops

Oops 1 – it’s gone midnight again and I’m still awake.

Oops 2 – I’ve organised my Ann Summers Party for a night when I’m not going to be here. That somewhat defeats the object. I think I’ll have to rearrange. Never mind. At least I’ve remembered now. I’m assuming that the people I’m going to visit in Nottingham aren’t wanting such an event.

Oops 3 – I’ve sprained my ankle. In fact I did it at some point last weekend and didn’t notice. Seeing as it’s not got better I went to get advise on what to do and to check there was nothing seriously wrong. It’s weird though because only a small area is swollen and there is no bruising. I have a lovely support bandage to wear for the next week and it really doesn’t go well with my shoes or trousers. 😉 lol. It makes me laugh.

I found out today that another person I know has got engaged. I think Jack’s right when she says that there must be something in the water.