Capacity Building Training for people from Nordic-Baltic region SCMs is coming! It will take place in Klaipėda, Lithuania on 14-17 June.
Capacity Building Training for people from Nordic-Baltic region SCMs is coming! It will take place in Klaipėda, Lithuania on 14-17 June.
What are the important issues that young people are facing in relation with life, justice and peace?
How can we learn from the experiences of young people being involved in the WCC in the past years?
How can we participate in setting the ecumenical agenda?
How can we gain insights from the work of ecumenical youth organizations?
How can we empower one another by sharing our own resources, experiences, prayers and gifts?
There is an unique opportunity for WSCF representatives to attend a conference “Life. Justice. Peace. Youth Empowerment for the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan/South Korea” providing an opportunity for young delegates, stewards, participants and interested young people from Europe to participate in the journey to prepare for the World Council of Churches’ 10th Assembly in Busan.
The conference will take place in Hofgeismar, Germany, on 18 – 20 June. You can learn more about the conference here.
The Assembly, led by the theme “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”, will be a unique moment to celebrate Christian fellowship, to set the future agenda of the council and to speak with a common voice on urgent public issues.
Everyone who would like to represent WSCF at the Hofgeismar conference should apply here. Deadline for WSCF applicants is 10 May. Once we have received your application, we will negotiate the possible travel reimbursement with our partners.
Early applications and participants of the WCC Busan Assembly will have an advantage.
You like communicating with people from different cultures and making new friends?
You feel like your English language and personal leadership skills could be improved?
You are concerned about the exclusion of minorities in your country and violence towards them?
You would like to share your experience, your hopes and your concerns about Christian unity and Christian diversity?
Then you are in the right place!
The World Student Christian Federation in Europe is happy to invite you to the Lingua Franca Summer Camp 2013, which will be held in Miclăușeni, Romania from 20th to 30th of July under the title “Encountering the Other – Community-building and ecumenical leadership training in Central and Eastern Europe”!
The camp will gather young Christians from Central and Eastern Europe and it will be a wonderful chance for people to experience community among people of different cultures and backgrounds. The summer camp will address the topic of openness to people, who are different from us, the value of diversity but also xenophobia and social exclusion.
This event is specifically developed for young people with limited language skills to improve their English knowledge, from whatever level. Community-building will be a key element of the event and it will include, among other things, working together on a social project.
The participation fee for the event is 30 Euros per person.
Please click here to get to the application form. Just fill it in and submit it to the WSCF Europe office no later than 25th of May 2013.
Travel reimbursements are available on request. If you would like to request reimbursements, please see our financial policy document.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact the WSCF Europe office!
Looking forward to meeting you in Romania!
Student Christian Movement staff, students and board members:
How do you see your SCM getting involved with campaigns and campaigning?
Do you see a difference between personal values and social politics? (How) do you take a stand for what is important to you and the people in your SCM?
What campaigning talents can you share with others in the SCMs in Europe?
How can WSCF Europe better support you in your campaigns work?
We are excited to announce an upcoming Capacity Building Training for people from our Western European SCMs (Ireland, UK, Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands).
24 - 27 May 2013
There is no participation fee for this event.
This training session will provide a forum for SCMers from WSCF-E’s Western European subregion to exchange ideas and experiences about the connection between SCM work and campaigning activities. It will be a space to build relationships between SCMers from the subregion and their movements, and will aim at giving you some tools to amplify your current campaigning efforts. Each movement has different strengths and you will have the opportunity to learn from one another about the causes they are involved in, best practices they have developed and the ideals and theological groundings that motivate them and keep them going.
Check out the schedule for more details about the topics we will discuss.
WSCF Europe wants to strengthen relationships between movements! We hope that you will join SCMers, Shannon Philip, the European Regional Committee Campaigns Coordinator, and the regional staff at this exciting event!
If you would like to attend, please email Hans Hommens, WSCF Europe Regional Secretary, explaining why you are interested in the event and topics your SCM would like to engage with by 20th May 2013.
Board and staff members of Student Christian Movements and WSCF Europe met from 21 to 24 February in Vienna for the annual Staff and Officers meeting. Hosted by the Austrian SCM (EHG) in their premises in the impressive Albert Schweitzer Haus, around 20 participants from Finland, Poland, Denmark, Armenia, Georgia, Austria, Romania, Italy, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Germany gathered. A broad variety of denominations were presented: Methodist, Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran.
The hospitality of our Austrian hosts made a big difference for our common experience of community and togetherness. We had two very dedicated volunteers cooking our meals for lunch and dinner, which, without an exception, were all very, very good. Further, we had strong organisational support from a very efficient host committee as well as from the local SCM pastor, Gerda Pfandl. Looking back we are very grateful for all the generosity and open-heartedness we enjoyed, which contributed a lot to making the meeting for everyone involved a very rich experience.
Regarding our programme we had four days were full of discussions and sharing experiences. The work began on Friday with the session on SCM Reporting. All participants shared with the others how is it going with their SCM and what they have been doing in the last year. We were amazed by the amount of work SCMs are doing and also by the variety of their activities!
The plenary session was really fruitful for everyone. Participants learned more about other SCMs and were inspired for their own work. A proof how enthusiastic the participants were on this discussion was that it lasted for 2 scheduled sessions. We are really grateful for these conversations! It was so good to see how much work our member movements are doing.
On Friday afternoon we visited a liberal Jewish community in Vienna. There we learned a lot about history of Judaism in Austria and about the life of the community, as well as about the specific context of liberal Judaism. The biggest surprise and the most exciting moment of the visit was when our guide took out the Holy Scripture scroll for everyone to see and presented the Tora explicitly. We could feel the mystery.
Saturday started out with a very special highlight, namely a morning prayer led by the Lutheran bishop of Austria, Dr. Michael Bünker, who then also joined us for our first workshop session and who was very interested and committed to get to know our group and our views. During the prayer he lead, Dr. Bünker found some profound words about the value of the witness of Christians in social contexts in which inclusive communities are more and more rare.
Our sessions on that day were also full of interesting and fruitful thoughts and discussions. It was really good to have the session on SCMs in crisis, since the majority of SCMs suffer from similar problems. Fundraising and attracting new people proved to be the biggest challenges for most of the movements. The participants were divided into working groups to discuss different challenges in more detail. Some nice ideas grew from this group work, one to mention is a concept of short videos promoting SCMs using personal stories of their active members.
On Saturday there was also the session on WSCF European Regional Assembly, which is going to be in October this year, and the SCM input and support for preparations for it. Participants were really interested in how WSCF structures work. Moreover, some SCMs expressed their wish to become affiliated members!
Another session full of food for thought was dealing with question ”What does it mean to be a Christian student today?” The topic inspired the participants to discuss a lot. Of course there is not only one single answer to this question. However, it is good to think about core questions like this to keep our minds fresh and our awareness of our common values as well as the diversity of our perspectives alive. In the evening, after the Orthodox worship, we had also an interesting short session about the meaning of icons in the tradition of Orthodox worship. We had an opportunity to learn more about the deepness of Orthodox spirituality.
On Sunday we were introduced to and updated about the work of WSCF Global and its Advocacy and Solidarity Committee. Since many participants did not have a clear image of the work which is done by WSCF on the global level, it was really useful to have this kind of introductory session. We all are members of a worldwide community of Student Christian movements and because of that it is really good to know what is happening elsewhere, what the successes and the challenges for the global Federation currently are.
However, the best session of Sunday was on the relationship between WSCF Europe and SCMs. We are aware of the fact that in the last time there was a gap between local and European levels of the Federation so in this regard the session was really important for everyone involved. And it went great! Now the WSCF office is even more aware of the importance of close contact to SCMs. It is good to know that our work is appreciated and to know what we can do better. Even better is that we shared the feeling of being a part of one European-wide family. Thank you all for that!
You can find a lot of photos from this marvelous meeting here.
Christian, Muslim and Jewish youth from all around Europe gathered in Velletri, Italy to discuss migration and xenophobia.
From 27 October to November 1 the World Student Christian Federation in Europe (WSCF-E) in cooperation with the European Inter-Faith Youth Network of Religions for Peace (EIYN-RfP), conducted a study session on Migration and Xenophobia in Velletri. It was hosted by the Protestant Youth Federation in Italy (FGEI). This event was especially memorable, not only because wonderful lecturers and workshop leaders enriched the program for 40 enthusiastic students from 14 countries all over Europe, but also because of the interreligious aspects of the conference: that was unique as WSCF-E people were joined for this conference by Jewish and Muslim students.
The preparation committee in its first meeting in July wanted to challenge the participants by the initial question, which also figured in the title of the event: Who is my neighbour? This led to more questions, that were discussed during the four days of the conference: who does our society exclude, how does faith act on social exclusion, what does it mean to love your neighbors, how much risk do we take to be in solidarity with migrants and minorities? We believe that the event continued and encouraged asking more questions and challenge more stereotypes, helping us to consider each other first of all as human beings, regardless of origin or religion. Through lectures, biblio-drama, panel discussions and workshops we were approaching the complicated theme of xenophobia and migration in Europe.
What is your identity?
On the first day, after the arrivals, the welcoming part of the event started by the introduction to the theme and to the conference in general. After getting know the venue we had a chance to get know each other a bit closer. Through icebreaking games we learned each others names, hobbies or favourite dishes, (to make a bigger appetite for the wonderful dinner that our host and a true “Italian Mamma”, Elvira, prepared for us). After the long day, we gathered for an ecumenical opening worship to start and nourish the spiritual aspect of our community. Finally, the welcome program ended by opening a space for free conversation and encounter.
The next day started by an ecumenical morning worship, which brought us together to pray for our group and our event
as well as for migrants and refugees as well as other victims of xenophobia in Europe. At the following plenary session we discussed and agreed on the ground rules that we would use to create a safe-space environment during the conference. Afterwards, the first lecture started, in which Prof. Martin Putna of the Charles University in Prague addressed the question of what does xenophobia exactly mean in the European tradition and how does nationalism relate to it. In our subsequent group discussion, we explored the meaning and cultural manifestations of xenophobia in the Europe further.
The lecture was followed by the workshop, where the stereotypes of the Other in Europe were named and reflected through an exchange among the participants. This session allowed the group to talk about their identity in small groups. Afterwards, stereotypes and prejudices were discussed and participants were encouraged to form an imaginary country with their group by the help of the values that were important for all of the “citizens”. At the end, we had a chance to get know the sunny, peaceful countries formed in this session with the help of creative and funny presentations.
The afternoon started by a lecture of Bernadett Lehoczki, professor of the Corvinus University Budapest with the title “Migration and Xenophobia. What is the connection?” Professor Lehoczki talked about the different aspects of migration in the context of the political theory and international relations. The lecture was followed by a discussion and numerous questions, like the benefits of the migration or the problem of integration. An exciting panel discussion was held afterward with the participation of Tanya Segal, rabbi at Beit Krakow, progressive liberal Jewish community in Krakow, Bashy Quraishy, Danish-Pakistani author and consultant regarding minority rights and Krzysztof Gil, a Polish Roma artist. All of the panelists introduced experiences of Xenophobia in their different European contexts, which led us into an engaging discussion about it is that prevents inclusion of certain minorities in European societies. Then, after a day full of information and new impulses, it was a wonderful experience to settle down to pray at the evening orthodox worship and get to know the Orthodox liturgy. After dinner, at the intercultural evening we could, among other things, get know fun-facts on each others’ countries, learn a Hungarian children’s poem, hear a wonderful German song and taste Georgian vine candy as well as Austrian chocolate.
What does community mean to you?
The topic of the third day focused on the theme of community. In the morning, encouraged by wonderfully serene weather, the day was opened by two workshops of interactive meditation: the participants could either join a Bibliodrama session or at Labyrinth, each welcoming them to explore their own anxieties about the unknown and their fears of being excluded. After this contemplative session, Ibrahim Mogra from Leicester, UK, gave a lecture on the role of Islam and religion in general in creating as well as overcoming boundaries in society. Imam Mogra’s presence with us allowed for an engaging discussion about his view on religious ethics and religious community in secular societies. His lecture was followed by workshops led by the previous day’s panelists, Rabbi Tanya Segal, Bashy Quraishy and Krzysztof Gil. As a counter-point to the panel discussion, each of them looked at their personal experiences in creating community and mutual understanding between majority and minority groups.
The day was ended by a participant-led catholic denominational worship, where we got know yet another style of prayers from the Roman Catholic liturgical tradition. In the evening a movie night was announced with a screening of “Of Gods and men”, dealing with the close human relationships of the monks from a Christian monastery and the surrounding Muslim village community in rural Algeria during the civil war in the 1990s.
Community from religious perspective
Theexcursion to Rome started by visiting Servizio Rifugiati e Migranti, an organisation working with migrants and refugees, whose activities in the field of promoting migrants’ rights and supporting their needs. After our lunch break, we enjoyed some self-guided time in beautiful Rome, full of impressions. In the late afternoon, we then visited a local center for asylum seekers run by the community of Sant’ Egidio. Again, we were very impressed by the professionalism and the huge difference that volunteer engagement can make in migrants’ lives in Rome. We met some volunteers and also spoke to some of the people they worked with, who came from all over the world. After a dinner out of the city, we ate tasty pizzas and had a lovely walk back to the station passing by wonderful monuments.
The last day was constructed in the search for of our responsibility. We were introduced to the world of actions by a presentation by Daniela Malec, Program and Development Consultant of Religions for Peace. Daniela shared their work experiences and ideas for best practice to challenge action against xenophobia. It was followed by the resource session, where participant led workshops helped to learn about topics like martial arts as an approach for character development in social work with young people, , gospel music as a way to build open and inclusive communities..
By the methods of brainstorming and discussion participants were encouraged to work on ideas in small groups, how to develop and share resources on xenophobia to maximize the impact of the conference in the fields of charity, education, media and campaigning as well as public relations. After the group discussions the presentation and discussion of the action plan took place. The very encouraging and motivating closing program of the event was followed by the closing interreligious worship. It was a place for free prayers and for blessings, for a Celtic song, a sung Jewish Shalom blessing, and a recital of a Muslim prayer from the Qur’an. At the end of the worship we passed around a white thread as a sign of peace and unity, that we cut and put on each others wrists to bring back home the spirit of this event on a symbolic way.
Evaluation and the work after it
The evaluation was an essential part of each day of the program, after the sessions, before the evening denominational worships. The preparatory committee evaluated the activities daily with the participants in small groups throughout the event. The small group feedbacks allowed for a free, informal feedback on the experiences, but the participants evaluated the conference anonymously in an evaluation form, too. The reflections are continuing after the conference, in follow-up reports, in a follow-up Skype meeting of the preparatory team and meetings of WSCF-E. Also the following publication of Mozaik continues the topic of the conference. In concrete action, through the campaign launched on January 2013 reflects and implements the thoughts of the event.
This conference was an unforgettable event because of the active and motivated participation of students from Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. We are looking forward to meet you in our coming events and programs!
We would like to say aspecial thanks to our donors, the Council of Europe, our lecturers and guests and our Italian Partners, FGEI and the Centro Ecumene of Velletri for making this event a success!
The first Taizé meeting in Finland will be held in Helsinki on 28-30 September 2012.
This gathering is held at the invitation of Lutheran, Orthodox and Catholic Church communities, and in cooperation with Finnish Church Council and other churches.
The meeting will bring together brothers from Taizé and thousands of young adults from Finland, Scandinavia, and the Baltic countries and North-Western Russia. They will gather to pray and to sing, to share and to get to know each other.