WSCF-E meets SCM Lithuania
From June 14-17, ERC member Libby Lewin, WSCF-E Regional Secretary Hans Hommens and Publications Intern Miro Pastorek went to Klaipėda, Lithuania, to meet SCMers from the region.
The aim of the meeting was to reconnect with our member movements, discuss the working areas and the values of WSCF-E as well as the work of SCMs and on that basis to reflect together about how to strengthen and broaden the connection between SCM work and WSCF-E.
Originally planned as an event for the whole Nordic-Baltic sub-region, in the end all of the six SCM participants were from Lithuania. Although that took away some of the international character of the meeting, it also helped us to work much more in-depth with the experiences of SCM work in Lithuania and how WSCF-E can be relevant in this context.
The group with its openness for discussion and critical evaluation of all topics was the vital element of success of the event. All the discussions were really interesting! Preparing the presentations about WSCF-E, we realised that there is much more work to be done to spell out the different areas we are active in and to make clear how they are connected to our identity as Christians. Why is the idea of solidarity so central in the way we present ourselves and what does it actually mean? And why, as a Christian organisation, are we active on gender matters? To arrive at some clear expressions of our values as an organisation would really help to articulate the identity of our network towards our member organisations and root it more in their work.
Further, we critically reflected on the influence that our secular donor’s programmatic priorities have on the topics we choose for our events as well as the language in which we present them. There was unanimous agreement that more work is necessary to constructively deal with this situation and create more of a link between the key words of our funding applications and the life-reality experienced by our different SCM members.
On top of this, we have learned a lot about SCM Lithuania and the context they are working in. The SCM is rather small, consisting of a few small local groups, with no paid staff. Still, they are doing a lot of good stuff – regular youth meetings, prayers and services, summer camps, presentations and discussions etc. Members of the SCM also publish the reflections on WSCF-E events in their church journal, which is great.
What we found interesting is that the work SCM Lithuania is closely connected to the Lutheran church and its youth centre. This also means that the clear focus on youth in the sense of people between 18 and 30 is something that in some ways does not correspond to the ideas of community practiced within SCM Lithuania. There is much more cooperation between the different age groups and youth empowerment is something that is orientated towards the whole community. The ideals of solidarity and community of this approach were very inspiring and thought-provoking and we will reflect on how find ways to embody them more into our work as WSCF-E.
Overall, we are very grateful for the experience of community and exchange that we had in Klaipeda! Now we are sure that WSCF-E needs to enhance the links work and establish closer contacts with SCMs. We also have to pay more attention to the context of our SCMs and shape our events to be more relevant for them. Thanks a lot for that!