1. Call for a Web Developer

    We are looking for a web developer that will be responsible for launching our enterprise to move our existing printed journal, Mozaik, online. The platform for the online journal is yet to be negotiated, so you have the chance to participate in the process from its very beginning, and make real impact on how our online presence will look like. This unpaid volunteering opportunity with real hands on experience and responsibility for the whole project will let you develop an interesting and challenging project from the scratch, as well as will add a sparkle to your CV.

    • Position: Part-time Web developer & web graphic designer
    • Start Date: flexible, between September- November 2014
    • Duration: 4-8 months
    • Location: work from home
    • Hours: part-time, 5-20 hours per month
    • Remuneration: unpaid; non financial benefit of having fully covered attendance at World Student Christian Federation – Europe events
    • Application deadline: August 15th, 2014

    Web Developer word cloud

    What will you do?

    Your task will be to create an online platform for our journal Mozaik. You will be responsible for design as well as workability and user-friendliness of the platform. You will test the platform together with the WSCF-E staff and volunteers, and will act as moderator during the first 2 months of the launch of the platform as part of the usability testing.


    Experience requirements: entry to mid-level. Our successful candidate needs to be enthusiastic, committed and skillful; know the basics of website development and have relevant experience in it. The candidate should be able to demonstrate his/her works; well-developed study projects will be accepted as relevant experience.

    A successful candidate should commit to dedicate at least 20 hours a month (at least 5 hours/week) to the task of the platform development, so that the platform is ready for its launch on November 1st.

    A candidate can live anywhere in Europe and work from home. Most communication with the superiors (WSCF-E staff and the European Regional Committee, as well as the Editor-in-Chef of the Mozaik) will take place via emails and Skype, and if needed, meetings in Berlin can be arranged.

    To apply

    Send your CV and your motivation letter stating why you would be a good match for this position and how your experience and skills equip you for the role. Send it to Zuzana Babicova at

    Check out the printer-friendly job description. If you know someone who might be interested in this position, you can share our flyer or give a direct link to this post.


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  2. Donate to Send a Young Leader to the GA

    Organised every 4-6 years by the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), the GA gathers representatives to advance the vision of the global student Christian movement. Six years ago in Montreal around 200 students, young leaders and senior staff from SCMs all over the world came together for the General Assembly (GA).  This year, the 35th GA will this year take place from 15 – 21 August in Bogota, Colombia.  The theme for the Assembly is, ‘We are Many, We are One. Sent out to build God’s peace’. Nearly 2 million students are part of the Federation, through movements that span across Africa, North and South America, Asia Pacific and Europe.

    As part of our commitment to support our brothers and sisters in the global movement, we are asking friends, members and anyone connected with SCM and ecumenical youth and student work to sponsor delegates to attend the GA.

    Many of the student delegates depend on the support of a global community of donors to be able to afford the costs of attending the Assembly. At the same time, opportunities for local fundraising are often limited and air travel to Colombia and visa costs are very high for many countries. Therefore, we reach out to you with a request for support of this unique event in the global work for Christian unity.

    Here are some of the people WSCF-E Europe office is aiming to support. Read their bio’s and what they want to achieve at the GA.


    WSCF Europe Tragerverein e.V. 
    Name of the Bank: Evangelische Kreditgenossenschaft Kassel e.G.
    Place of the Bank: Kassel
    IBAN: DE03 5206 0410 0006 6013 83

    Your donation will support the GA that connects the Federation together and works to build an Ecumenical movement in all over the world.

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  3. Be our delegate: Partner event on human rights & traditional values

    WSCF-Europe has been given the opportunity to represent at the next United For Intercultural Action conference, have you considered being our delegate? Read more about the conference below. 

    UNITED is organising an international conference in Georgia. The concepts of fundamental rights and traditional values will be at the center of the discussion. In order to constructively create bridges between human rights and traditional values, we will explore traditional values on various levels and perspectives.

    A variety of questions arise on how majority communities perceive minority communities, and how these minority communities address the same issues within their own community or towards other communities. The discussions will focus on opportunities for creating cross-community coalitions between NGOs based on a common framework of human rights and an understanding of society’s traditional values, as well as their impact on the daily life of minority communities. The path of human rights would enable participants to be UNITED and work hands in hands – developing together responses and advocacy actions towards shared challenges both at national and European levels

    Today more than ever before, discussing human rights and traditional values as well as the bridges between them became very relevant. From one side, universal human rights do not impose any cultural standard, but rather a legal standard of minimum protection necessary for human dignity. As a legal standard adopted through the United Nations, universal human rights represent the consensus of the international community, by stressing on the need concerning the promotion of human rights and human freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind. A better understanding of traditional values shared by all humanity and embodied in universal human rights instruments contributes to promoting and protecting human rights and human freedoms.

    Nevertheless a misunderstanding and abuse of said traditional values has been the reason of averse treatment and multi-dimensional discrimination of many people, thus resulting in being in direct conflict with human rights and in many cases resulted in violations of said rights. Reluctantly in many national and regional realities the so-called protection of ‘traditional values’ became the pretext for hate, violent hate crimes, fear, and multi-dimensional discrimination on the base of ethnic, gender, religious, disability, towards migrants, and other grounds; moreover the institutionalisation of such discrimination and hate fosters more hate, violence, and fear, not only towards members of a minority community or migrants, but also towards their families, friends, and neighbours. Therefore there is a consistent amount of misunderstanding, and it is time to dig deeper into understanding human rights and traditional values, and how they relate to each other.

    Why Georgia is important in 2014?

    Georgia is one of the former USSR states that gained independence in 1991. Since the 27th of April 1999 Georgia has been a member of the Council of Europe, which encouraged the country to smoothly transpose human rights into national law, however not all human rights values were embraced by the majority of the Georgian society. In a country, in which people mainly identify as homogenous, and as Christian Orthodox, the perception of human rights is in transition. Ways to build bridges between human rights and traditional values are being explored amongst the civil society in Georgia. This conference builds on that exploration.

    UNITED Conferences

    This particular UNITED conference provides an excellent opportunity for collaboration, discussions, sharing ideas, and experiences that can be furthered at regional and European level discussions in order to building bridges between the realities of today and the opportunities of tomorrow. The conference will be taking place in Georgia, giving a great opportunity to participants coming from a variety of backgrounds -from grassroots activists to experts in minority rights- to discuss and influence regional and pan-European policies on non-discrimination and minorities protection.UNITED is the largest pan-European anti-racist network of more than 550 organisations. Twice a year, at the UNITED network conferences, antiracist and human rights activists from all parts of Europe meet and discuss effective ways of combating racism and discrimination. At a recent UNITED conference held in April 2014 near Athens (GR) participants from 32 countries developed strategies for specific issues related to hate and populism in Europe.

    Your knowledge, expertise, and input as a participant will be invaluable. Together with around 80 participants we will work on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. That is why we would like to invite you to apply for this conference and join us in Georgia in order to meet, learn, network, and have fun, together with all the participants. We are looking forward to your highly valuable proactive participation and contribution throughout the whole conference.

    For more practical information about the conference read the Technical Info file and the (draft) Programme of events. To apply email Hans Hommens at with a short explanation as to why you believe that you would be a suitable representative of WSCF-E. Deadline 10th August 2014. 



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  4. Apply Now: Partner event “Energy & Climate Change – the Churches’ Role & Voice”

    World Student Christian Federation Europe has been offered one fully funded ( excluding transport costs) place at this assembly. Apply now to be the WSCF-E Delegate!

    European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) will organise it 10th Assembly from 27 September – 1 October 2014 in Balatonszárszó (Hungary). The theme of the Assembly will be ‘Energy and Climate Change – the Churches’ Role and Voice.’ The aim of the Assembly is to offer a space for a discussion of recent developments in climate change, in energy & ethics, and to strengthen Churches’ engagement and cooperation in responding to these concerns.

    European Christian Environmental Network is closely linked with the Conference of European Churches and provides a Europe-wide platform for a cooperation of Churches in responding to challenges in taking care for creation. Through its activities the Conference of European Churches demonstrates its engagement in this particular thematic work.

    The Assembly will start on Saturday, 27 September (arrival day) in the late afternoon and end on Tuesday, 30 September. Departure day is Wednesday 1 October 2014. The costs of the Assembly will be 300 € for accommodation in a single room and 250 € per person for a double room. This includes board, accommodation and the conference fee.

    Participants are requested to consider ecologically friendly means of transport to travel to the Assembly venue. All participants will be invited to contribute an amount of 15 € to the compensation scheme, details of which will be announced in the follow-up communication.

    The conference language will be English.


    To apply  email Hans Hommens at with a short explanation as to why you believe that you would be a suitable representative of WSCF-E. For more information about the assembly read the Programme of events.  Please Apply ASAP. 

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  5. WSCF-Europe is looking for a new CEO/Regional Secretary   

    wscf_logo_new An exciting and challenging opportunity has arisen at WSCF-Europe for an experienced professional to manage a small international NGO. We invite you to apply for our Regional Secretary position, starting this autumn!

    You will have a key role in enabling the execution of various projects by working with volunteers, who will implement programs with your support in administration and strategic financial management.

    With good IT skills, you will bring in your experience in excellent organization and planning. You will have the ability to manage budgets and oversee finances along with experience in producing reports or experience in writing in a clear and engaging way. You should have experience in leadership and institutional fund-raising, and show effective interpersonal skills. This role will help you to build on your administration and finance management experience and develop your understanding of the voluntary and NGO sector.

    This is a varied role with lots of scope for development and the opportunity to travel in Europe. We offer a competitive salary and adequate travel compensation scheme.

    Terms and Conditions

    • 37.5 hours a week
    • The hours and days worked whilst working on events and at times of peak work load need to be flexible
    • The salary is 4,022 USD per month
    • Annual leave will be 24 days per annum plus the period between Christmas and New Year is free and comes on the top of annual leave entitlement (plus German public holidays)
    • Two month’s notice in writing is required for the termination of the appointment by either party
    • Training during the initial 2 weeks hand-over period will be provided

    For more detailed job description click here. Applications

    • Further information about the job can be enquired at
    • Application deadline is 11 July 2014
    • Start date is 15 September 2014
    • To apply, please send a CV and your motivation letter stating why you would be a good match for this position and how your experience and skills equip you for the role. Please also include two reference letters in support of your application. Send it to Zuzana Babicova at

    Do you know someone who might be interested? Pass on our flyer!

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  6. Invitation to the European Economic Summit 2014


    WSCF-Europe has been invited to send a delegate to the European Economic Summit, which will take place between 18 and 20 September in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    The European Economic Summit is an invitation-only summit for business and marketplace leaders, politicians, CEO’s, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, Christian Investment Groups, financial professionals, policy makers, mission and denominational leaders, and those with a heart for alleviating poverty and corruption and advancing Christian values through business and economic activity.

    The idea for the European Economic Summit (EES) was born out of the knowledge that we cannot solve today’s problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. We know that many of the economic and governance challenges are at their heart issues of mentality and values. Our response has therefore to start there and find tangible applications for economic policies.

    The goal of the European Economic Summit 2014 is to formulate and present new models for the crisis-plagued economies of Europe in the 21st century. Models that are inspired and nurtured from Christian tradition, faith and thought. We desire to see a healthy and vital Europe that is able to offer opportunities (education, work,
    spiritual renewal) for the many, both inside and outside of Europe’s borders.

    For registration and further information, click hereHere you will find that well-known economists and high-level CEO’s have confirmed that they will share their expertise with the audience.

    The event is also open for expert staff of MEP’s and MP’s, whom we warmly invite to attend as we look for many ways to share and have impact at the future of Europe.

    We look forward to meet you in Amsterdam.


    David Fieldsend, President

    Arleen Westerhof, Coordinator


    Christian Political Foundation for Europe European Economic Summit

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  7. Call For Articles, Bridging our differences. Learning Skills Of Intercultural Dialogue Together!


    Confrence Photo

    This spring, participants from all over Europe from different faiths and denominations met in Wroclaw, Poland, to learn from each other and discuss intercultural dialogue. This conference was organized with European Interfaith Youth Network. We are interested in receiving articles specifically about intercultural dialogue.

    How do we relate to each other across different cultures? Is it possible to approach heated disputes in a peaceful way? Are religious differences always a hindrance to friendship and cooperation?

    It is time to bring these conversations back to your local communityMozaik as an ecumenical student journal aims to provide a space to continue the exploration of this important topic and answering the questions above. It will be a forum of dialogue, a resource, and a place of contemplation.

    We will be launching Mozaik as a digital magazine so that it can be accessed online and so we can better communicate with our members and friends. We will also continue to print it and distribute at WSCF meetings.

    As well as these vital discussions about intercultural we are planning on moving Mozaik forward as a creative project. Part of this involves introducing new regular features which we hope to relate to the theme of the conference(s)- in this case “Bridging our differences. Among these we will have

    • Ecumenical corner, a place to learn about developments in the ecumenical world;
    • Book reviews, for any books (fiction or non-fiction) relevant to our identity as European ecumenical students;
    • Poetry & prayer, for reflections on life, faith, and identity;
    • Through the Keyhole, a vision into the life of a WSCF member or friend, fostering community and friendship across borderss

    Have you experienced cultural conflict in your life or even in your WSCF group? Please let us know if you wish to contribute to one of these sections. We hope to balance these conversations based on gender, denomination, age and European regional location.


    We accept essays and articles 1500 – 2000 words long (with endnotes) including some suggested readings when appropriate.

    If you decide to contribute, please inform the editors of your interest as soon as possible at .

    The deadline for contributions is 6 June 2014

    We look forward to hearing from you!

    James Jackson and Kathryn Cammish




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  8. Book Review: The Bible, Love & Homosexuality

    Pawel Pustelnik 

    Exactly two years ago at the conference preceding the European Regional Assembly of WSCF Europe Renato Lings was vividly talking about the Bible, its translations and a fascinating life of words. Today he delivers his thoughts in a compelling book “Love Lost in Translation: Homosexuality and the Bible”.

    When you first see the book you may think that you will never be able to go through a whole volume.It is over 700 pages on densely worded paper. It is unthinkable however to imagine that the variety of issues and methodological approach used would allow anything smaller. Lings looks at various Bible parts in twelve different translations into English. He analyzes both the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament in five parts of his book and in appendixes gives a brief account on Sodom in Islam. Lings offers his thoughts in a very structured, rigorous way serving ready-made arguments for discussions that go well beyond homosexuality and the Bible. Whole material is presented in an accessible way a variety of tables allow comparisons of different Bible translations

    But what is this book really about? Is it a manifesto in which the author tries to delegitimize the commonly used Bible translations? Is it a scholarly argument that does is too academic to be useful for a non-expert? Lings himself says that he was trying to show that the current biblical interpretation is based not that much on the text itself, but on the assumptions that go back to the Middle Ages and the church fathers. It is a challenge that Lings brilliantly handles in his book.

    Firstly, the author goes well beyond looking for the love lost in translation. He gives a broad account of linguistic subtleties and nuances in a well-researched analytical way. He engages in tracking how certain words were translated in certain periods and why as well as he presents a whole broader canvas of social interactions that were in the background of events described in the Bible. This is particularly important when it comes to the Hebrew Bible that at times poses numerous challenges to a nonexpert. Secondly, he encourages the reader to understand the whole politics of translation. Many biblical dictionaries were produced when homoerotic relationships were condemned and this could have influenced the process of translating parts where homoeroticism is present.

    Probably the best part that shows how both translation and interpretation of the Bible in the Middle Ages is a meticulous analysis of the story of Sodom that spans three chapters of Genesis. Lings provides countless observations about the part that is generally understood as a biblical condemnation of homosexuality. He challenges these providing a whole rich background of various discourses included through tremendously detailed reading of each and every word. His arguments are juxtaposed with many references of representatives of different views on Sodom. Lings’s conversation with them is an extremely inseminating exercise for anyone interested in understanding the Bible better and deeper.Lot’s family drama is a fertile sole for further inquiries into the issue of homoeroticism and Christianity.

    Even though homosexuality becomes more and more accepted in Christian churches, there are still many parties who are opposing equality of homosexual relations. The Ling’s book gives a very useful tool to all those who wish to understand better the underlying reasons of this attitude.And if English is not your mother tongue, “LoveLost in Translation” will surely direct you to approaching the Bible in your language in a new way

    K. Renato Lings: Love Lost in Translation: Homosexuality and the Bible. Bloomington, Indiana: Trafford Publishing.738pp. £21,08 (hardback) £18,64 (paperback), £8,04 (Kindle edition)

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  9. Sex: Gift Or Sin?

    JoAnne Lam

    The sex trade has been proven to be more than justa phenomenon of distant places. It has been present throughout every time and place. Women, men, and children have become commodities to be traded for sexual pleasures, sexual releases, and the satisfaction of sexual fantasies. What is happening to humanity’s needs that individuals have turned to purchasing sex? Are we so lacking in physical intimacy or that we are incapable of maintaining personal relations that one would need to purchase a brief illusion of tenderness and physical connection?What is happening to us when we no longer seethe humanity in the “other” but a means to our ends?

    The Church has had a fair amount of difficulties dealing with the topic of sexuality. No matter if it is speaking of pre-marital sexual relations, homosexuality, celibacy of priests and nuns, contraceptives, etc., the Church has remained conservative, rigid, unmoving, and elitist. This comment is unfair because it groups ALL expressions of Christianity within this stereotype of inflexibility with regards to human sexuality. However, despite the movement of some denominations, branches of classical and institutional forms of Christianity remain uneasy when dealing with sexual matters.

    Human trafficking is a contemporary form of slavery and sex trafficking is a major part of coerced individuals trafficked across borders. In this article, I am not addressing those who have chosen to work in the sex industry. Rather, the pressing issue is the trafficking of vulnerable people from various countries and circumstances where the individuals have been coerced and promised legitimate work, but to find themselves heavily immersed in a sex trafficking ring. That said, if the Church is to address the issue of human trafficking, it is crucial that the Church becomes comfortable with discussing the nature of sexual relations and its place in society. Sexuality is a part of human nature and without considering this aspect of human needs neglects the necessity to approach humans holistically.

    What do the Church and Christians have to say about sex? Opinions spread across a spectrum from treating it as a sinful part of human nature to something as normal as breathing. If we treat sex as a gift from God that allows two individuals to express love and intimacy,sex is beautiful and a natural part of relationships. On the other hand, if sex is to be considered a dirty secret and sinful desires, anything associated with that also becomes unwanted and rejected by the Church.

    Theologically, one can perform an exercise of logic to draw some interesting conclusions about what we may believe about sex as Christians. God has created all things and especially brought to life human beings as stewards of the earth. Upon being casted out from Eden,according to Genesis 2, Eve was condemned to painful childbirths, and that thus explains the reproduction process of human beings. However, throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, there were mentions of “feet” and“lying together” which then resulted in children. It would almost parallel the childish belief that one would become pregnant through kissing another person. The over-simplifying of the sexual encounters has become a culture in churches where sex is unspoken topic while it is on everyone’s minds. At the same time, Mosaic laws governed that those who had an “emission of semen”was required to bathe and remained “unclean” for the rest of the day until evening.

    My curiosity wonders if it were the “unclean” state of the man that made the Christian Church assume it meant the individual was “sinful.” The parallel between “sin” and “unclean” has been historically an issue in the Church because of such language that “Jesus has washed away my sins” or that one is to be made “pure as snow.”Not with standing the unhelpful nature of the imagery of cleanliness with “whiteness” of snow, there is a tradition of associating cleanliness and sinlessness. If one were to connect those dots, would then be sexual desiresor sexual acts be associated with sinfulness, which therefore, precludes sex to be sinful as well.Just as divorcees and homosexuals were stigmatized by the Church at various times, the sexual element of human relationships has remained only superficially explored by the Church. Returning to the point that since If it is the Church’s stance that a celebration of love is to take place in the sanctuary such as wedding rituals, then the Church also has the responsibility to stand against acts that destroys that very understanding and definition  of love and intimacy such as in the case of sex trafficking. This requires a greater exploration on the topic of sex by church leaders and the Church’s position on the usage of sex as a tool for manipulation and exploitation. 

    As Christian students, one of the important tasks is to make faith relevant and to bring the Church into society and the world into the Church. Theologian Karl Barth was quoted in an interview for the Time Magazine to have said, “[I] advised young theologians ‘to take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible”1 The biblical message without a context is ineffective. If the Church can establish a clear stance on sex and its role in life, it will also establish its stance on the societal abuses of human dignities through the exploitation of sex. The Church can be a resounding presence, irritating societal complacency and economical exploitation to reform and to resemble a glimpse of justice and compassion. Jesus stood in solidarity with a prostitute who was being threatened with violence. Are Christians willing to do the same for those who are inhumanely traded for sex and money?

    Human trafficking is identified by Office of the High commissioner for Human Rights to be a contemporary
    form of slavery. On the other hand, according to the International Labour Organization, trafficked sex workers do not fall under their mandate because governments have not agreed upon if the sex trade is a legitimate industry or a crime. If sex workers are working under illegal circumstances, they are not protected under labour laws and neither will their working conditions be standardized by international rules and regulations.
    At an ILO presentation on migrant workers, it was explained that if it has something to do with an exchange of service for a fee then it is governed within the work of ILO. However, though sex workers are also offering services for a fee, they are not considered to be a concern of ILO, the presenter simply informed me that sex trafficking was the work of the High Commission for Human Rights instead. While individuals involved in the sex trade knowingly do have a choice to refuse participation, human trafficking must include the element of coercion and deception. People who are trafficked are deceived into giving up their freedom and their basic human rights are not respected.
    A historical example would be the Korean and Chinese (as well as many others) Comfort Women taken forced into prostitution during the Second World War by the Empire of Japan. They were taken into brothel-like camps and some accounts described the young women’s experiences as being like “toilets” for the men’s sexual pleasures. Such is the current experience of trafficked people. Because there is a demand for sex as something to be purchased, bodies are being supplied. Human trafficking is defined by coercion. It is understood that trafficked persons do not have the freedom of choice. However, when desperation pushes a person to choose exploitation for the sake of survival, is that still considered to be a freedom of choice?

    To choose is to have more than one option at hand.When one speaks of the freedom to choose, we would
    assume that there are at least two items from which to choose. If one of those options is not viable, then the situation no longer is fostering a freedom of choice,but rather a “cornering” effect to force the individual to the only feasible option. To choose between “bad”and “worse” is not a freedom of choice;, at least it is neither fair nor just. At the same time, trafficked persons are coerced into believing there is a promise of life where in reality, there would be only abuse and exploitation. In their desolate situations, they could not imagine that life could be worse than their present circumstances. They placed their faith into strangers who offered them life in the midst of hopelessness.There was no freedom of choice because to be offer life and death, the only choice is life.

    Human beings were created in the image of God. As God moulded Adam and Eve out of clay and breathed into them the spirit of life, would you imagine God to fathom the destructive practice of human beings buying and selling each others for sexual comforts? As God gazed upon creation and said that it was “very good,” do you think God could have imagined the uncompassionate treatment of women, men, and children as sexual objects and commodities to be traded?

    As Christians, we hold the Malachi passage where God requires us to “seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God” (Malachi 6:8). In Isaiah 58:6, the prophet proclaims that God calls the people of Israel “to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke.” Finally,Jesus stood to bear the sin of the world in order that creation may be redeemed back to God. Therefore, the Church, the body of Christ, is to embody this call to justice which is woven from the beginning of God’s relationship with creation. The Church may not be comfortable with the topic of sexuality, but we have to move from that spot quickly before our Christian witness no longer is relevant in the world.

    The voice of the Church is there to challenge the societal standards and values. The witness of the Church is there to stand with the vulnerable.On the global crisis of human trafficking, the Church has a significant role to call people into re-evaluating the state of the world and the treatment of fellow human beings. To be in solidarity with the suffering and the abused requires us to step into the desolate pits of miry mud that greed and desire have shoved the vulnerable and the marginalized ones.As God is willing to stretch out and accompany us in our pains, Christians are called to accompany and stand in solidarity with others. What are you willing to give up in order to answer this call?


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  10. The Next Journey Of WSCF-E Through My Eyes.

    Zuzka Babicova

    First, I would like to say a few words to you about my own personal journey with WSCF-E. It started around six years ago. It was first in Central European Subregion of WSCF-E and later in Europe region where my journey with WSCF-E began. All these years have been very edifying thanks to people I was meeting and experiences that were leaving marks. During past two years I was involved in WSCF- Europe as Theology and Higher Education and Culture Coordinator as well as Vice-Chair. With leaving of Sofie Bonde Eriksen, the former Chairperson who led WSCF-E very wisely over 2011-2013 and with whom I had a great pleasure to work with, I decided to apply for the position of Chairperson. In October 2013 I was elected thanks to ERA delegates who expressed their trust and hope for realization of ideas that I feel WSCF-E could go toward.

    WSCF-E as an organisation working toward peace and justice in an international ecumenical environment can have a vast array of causes her leadership can speak for. We can choose different paths to materialize ideas we personally feel passionate about and which SCMs also care about in  their own times. That is a beauty of WSCF-E that people with their passions for diverse causes can bring in always a new refreshing breeze.

    The vision I see for WSCF-E is tied to times of a Europe being in turmoil between peoples as well as in times when WSCF-E has to be more aware of her self-sustaining needs as an organisation serving SCMs with events. And this vision for both certain thematic direction and internal redevelopment is what I would like to focus on with the ERC, our staff and SCMs during the next years.

    What I hope for WSCF-E is to be more engaged in inter-faith dialogue as well as in dialogue with people who are of no faith. We are living in times when walls between peoples are becoming higher with our diversity becoming greater. Connecting with other people of other faith traditions as well as with people of no faith is an endeavour that WSCF-E can ”take a risk” to undertake. WSCF-E has already started to be more engaged with other faith organisations through European Interfaith Youth Network (EIYN). In April 2014 it is going to be the second event organized together with other religious organisations which will have been already shall bring new experience for WSCF-E as well as our friends from other organisations. It is a really good opportunity for WSCF-E to be part of the EIYN as this network has gaining members from both religious as well as non-religious organisations who are willing to build bridges with one another. I hope that in the longer term, WSCF-E could develop also an initiative to reach out to non believers (agnostics, atheists and/or humanists) who would be interested in, to put it simply, building friendships. Our connections and friendships may go beyond Christian reference points, however, I believe, they can meet at common values and in our willingness and humility to search for them.

    And this endeavour is in integrity with our values. WSCF has a dialogical character, which is such an integral and implicit way of going forward for us. If we truly hope for peace and justice, then WSCF-E shall widen her horizons to what may be radically different at the first glance. I think we can move beyond our Christian space whilst still respecting our values. It is rather our mission that may change with needs of our times whilst staying true to our values. As Szabi Nagypal, a former WSCF Executive Committee member put it once when talking about dialogue in WSCF: ”Dialogue takes place also with our fellow pilgrims of other faiths. And ultimately, dialogue is our attitude toward all people of goodwill and openness to the transcendent”[1]. I hope that our dialogue can be still so fruitful within and beyond our Christianity as well so that we can be that Christian community that attempts to be open to all people.

    The second thing I would like to focus on is prayer as such in the life of WSCF-E. Praying is an important part of all our Christian traditions that we turn to as basis of our spiritualities. Though when WSCF-E meets our experience of prayer and turning to it can be very challenging. It is challenging because of the diversity of ways we have to communicate with God.  Our prayers can take myriad forms. When we share prayers with our fellows and include them, it can bring an experience, we may not understand as prayers at all. We may not experience prayer as our own when praying happens in certain settings which is different from what we are used to.  That is a difficult situation that a WSCF-E experience will keep putting us in. That is why praying is something which WSCF-E should be striving for to make it a truly welcoming experience for all Christians who gather to pray together. And to provide such a welcoming space we need to have a constant awareness of our internal prayer diversity. I wish we all can grow in ourselves an openness to see and hear prayers in forms we have not experienced.  God can make himself revealed to us also at times in the very strange and unfamiliar.  As our own prayers receive its important place in our spiritual lives, I hope we can approach prayers of our friends in the same way. I wish we can continue to be the community who is mindful of others with whom we pray, and at the same time to be a community of Christians which is open to see the known in an unknown.

    The third thing I would like to dedicate more energy too is tied to a rather down to earth matter. WSCF-E is in times when we need to give time to a thoughtful reflection and analysis of WSCF-E finances. We need to do it if we wish that WSCF-E is still an organisation that enables young people from various countries in Europe to be an ecumenical international community that asks herself important questions of the times we live in. Organisational development in the area of raising financial resources should be our particular focus. Only recently WSCF-E has seen a continuous decrease in some regular secured funds. This means that WSCF-E will need to come up with a new way of how to compensate for some lost resources we used to have. Though this may appear as an area most organisations struggle with, for WSCF-E this will become a crucial thing if we are to continue to provide students enough support to be able to travel and gather together and have a chance to be that community many of us have already experienced. I think and believe that all ERC will need to be engaged in developing efforts to tackle our sustainability. It is my hope that we will be able to create a more consultative relation with our Senior Friends. Having such support and with more energy dedicated to fundraising I hope we can create more effective ways to realize what we can be for SCMs.

    There are truly a lot of areas WSCF-E can engage in, ranging from thematic focus to our internal organisational development. Our next leadership may bring a new energy in other areas.  That is a change that our SCMs will choose and the next ERC will bring their own passion that shall sustain next journey of WSCF-E. For the years to come, I hope to do my best to give my passion and energy to areas of inter-faith dialogue, prayer and WSCF-E’s financial sustainability.

    It has been a few months now working on these things together with really great ERC people. I also hope very much that I as part of the ERC and our staff will have a really very good time working together and supporting one another on this journey in WSCF-E in next years.

    [1] Szabolcz, N. “Has the Student Christian Movement a Future?” in  Student World Issue 248, 2004.

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