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Prayer and Solidarity

  1. WSCF LAC Call for Solidarity: Support the persons affected by the hurricane Irma in Cuba

    WSCF Latin America and Caribbean (WSCF LAC) have recently released a call for solidarity asking for support towards dealing with the devastating effects of the hurricane Irma across several cities in Cuba.

    The hurricane hit the Republic of Cuba on the 7th September and it is known to be one of the strongest hurricanes ever registered in the Atlantic, with its wind speed reaching up to 295 kilometers per hour. The hurricane led to major human lives and material losses in various countries and islands across the Caribbean.

    For Cuba, the hurricane meant:

    • 12 out of the 15 Cuban provinces were strongly affected;
    • over 1 738 000 people were forced to evacuate their homes and cities, with many living either at their relatives and friends or seeking shelter in evacuation centers;
    • in the energy sector, the cooling system of the power plant Antonio Guiteras, from Matanzas, was destroyed, whilst other 15 transmission lines were severely damaged, and another 2039 kilometers of line were affected;
    • 516 hospitals and health centers were damaged;
    • large amount of damages in the agricultural sector, particularly in the area of poultry farming;
    • irrecoverable damages in the touristic sector , one of Cuba’s industries that contributes the most to the economy.

    In response to the hurricane’s devastation, the Movimiento Estudiantil de Cuba (MEC) has mobilised its members to offer support to the persons affected by the hurricane, by providing food and other forms of material support.

    In support for MEC’s actions, WSCF LAC has launched a call for donations addressed to all WSCF Friends, SCMs and other partner organizations to raise funds that will be used to support MEC’s work. These donations will be exclusively used to help the most affected areas, including 7 Cuban cities where the student movement will deploy its members and volunteers to offer support particularly to the most vulnerable persons affected by the tragedy, such as children, elders and persons with disabilities.

    If you would like to make a donations, you can use one of the following accounts:

    FUMEC ALC
    BANK NAME: Banco de la República Oriental del Uruguay
    ABA/SWIFT/CHIPS ID: BROUUYMM
    ABA026003324
    ADDRESS: Constituyente 1450, 11200 Montevideo, Uruguay +598 2908 2882
    ACCOUNT NUMBER: 196-0564029
    ATTENTION: LAC Regional Secretary

    WSCF IRO
    BANK NAME: Banque Cantonale de Genève (BCGE)
    ABA/SWIFT/CHIPS ID: BCGECHGGXXX
    ADDRESS:: Quai de I’le 17, case postale 2251, 1211, Genève 2,
    ACCOUNT NUMBER: LO790.08.11
    ACCOUNT NAME: World Student Christian Federation
    ATTENTION: LAC Regional Secretary

    WSCF Europe stands in solidarity with the people of Cuba and send all the prayers and good wishes to their way. We would also like to congratulate MEC and WSCF LAC for their initiative and to encourage our Friends, SCMs and other partners to consider donating and supporting this initiative.

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    September 20th, 2017 11:30 pm | Continue Reading
  2. In solidarity with the Orthodox Student Union in Finland

    WSCF Europe would like to express their solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Student Union in Finland (OOL), who have recently been caught in a struggle to continue their activity, as a sizeable proportion of the funds that they are receiving threaten to be cut.

    The OOL has been serving since 1948, having now 73 members, the same amount of “hang-arounds”, and is run by 5 volunteers (the board) annually with 2 part-time staff members. The organisation is part of World Student Christian Federation since ages and is part of Syndesmos and soon Finnish Ecumenical Council. It used to be supported financially by Finnish Orthodox Church, its parishes and individual donors. Former OOL members are people active not only within Orthodox Church but state administration, education sector and NGOs alike.

    We believe that a possible closing of the movement would affect the hundreds of students and members who have wholeheartedly dedicated their time to making the movement grow, flourish and spread the word and joy of God.

    We invite you to read Nico’s, the Executive Director of OOL, call for solidarity and to join us in prayer.

    Dear bro’s & sisters in Christ,

     

    Please receive my warmest greetings on the beginning of the Orthodox church year. As the nature slowly paves way for the awakening to come, we see the aim of human life. Just as the nature renews itself, so must we constantly put aside the old me and ware us a new – for the Resurrection to come.

    Even though, I wish my festive message could be happier. Instead of being able to renew itself, the Orthodox Student Union (OOL) is on way to perish, since our own church proposed a decrease of 75% of its yearly grant. It’s half of the union’s total budget of ~11000 €, so practically, this means shutting down all Orthodox activities within universities.

    I am not so much worried about our organization itself. I’m deeply concerned about the herd that truly forms the union. A few hundred young adults will lose a platform of pier discussion, support and/or pastoral conversation. Let alone a community united in presence and prayer.

    Therefore, I ask for your support and compassion. All fraternal aid is welcome, but the most important are the prayers. Please do pray for us. Last but definitely not the least:

     

    Lord, have mercy on all students.

    Enstrenghten them and console.

    Illness and weakness heal.

    Those in uncertainty encourage.

    Let no one be forsaken,

    those in loneliness comfort.

    To them an angel address,

    a guardian and companion.

    And through their forprayers

    have mercy on me sinner.

     

    BR,

    Nico Lamminparras

    Executive Director

    Ortodoksinen opiskelijaliitto – Ortodoxa studentförbundet r.y.

    Malminkatu 22 D 81 00100 HELSINKI

    Suomi – Finland

    +358 337 39 34

     

    If you wish to learn more about the situation of the organisation, contact Zuzana Babicova, WSCF-Europe Chairperson, who can facilitate the contact with the OOL leaders.

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    September 5th, 2017 5:34 pm | Continue Reading
  3. 2017 North South/South North Joint Prayer for Peaceful Reunification

    One of our ecumenical partners, the  National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) is inviting us to observe the Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula, as the churches in the world will celebrate on 13th August. Please join us in a worship liturgy and read one of the personal story of division and forgiveness prepared by the NCCK.

     

    16 Mortal, take a stick and write on it, “For Judah, and the Israelites associated with it”; then take another stick and write on it, “For Joseph (the stick of Ephraim) and all the house of Israel associated with it”; 17 and join them together into one stick, so that they may become one in your hand. (Ezekiel 37: 16-17, NRSV)

    God of grace!

    Once again, we greet the month of August, the month of Independence where North and South still celebrate separately and remember it differently. It has been a long, harsh period, one with cruel struggles between the two countries. No longer are we oppressed by Japanese forces, but our people are still filled with contempt for each other and our country is still challenged by neighboring forces. Lord, pity us.

    God who rules history,

    For the last 72 years, we dreamed of being one, but we lived like foes, not living up to our dreams. We lived separated from our family and torn apart by different ideology and systems. Lord, bring the history of our people together with your holy hands. Let us hope for unification with passionate hearts and work together so fervently that we shed the sweat of hope. For every August we encounter, help us sincerely repent with our hearts, and fill us with a strong will for unification.

    God who leads peace,

    Lord, we speak of one people, one sisterhood/brotherhood while filled with hatred against each other. We have violated the spirit of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement, the June 15 Joint Declaration, and the October 4 Joint Declaration and also firmly locked the doors of the Keumkang Mt. and Gaeseong Industrial Complex. Thus, we were left with a greater danger and greater threat. Lord, listen to our desperate cries that thirst for peace.

    God who gives hope,

    Lord, help us to dream once more of a beautiful land where no joint-military exercise is needed. Let us welcome a new world where we are not interfered with or challenged by neighboring strong powers. Let us once again begin with the same overwhelming determination we had as of August 15, 1945. Please quickly open the doors of intercommunication and let us walk hand in hand for joint prosperity. Lord, let the North and South greet each other without prejudice. Help us newly begin a history of reconciliation and embracement on this land.

    God of grace!

    Bestow your grace upon the whole of Korea. Shine down pure rays of peace from Baekdu to Halla, and wet the entire land with showers of joy. Give happiness to the 80 million fellow Koreans throughout this land and this world, and guide them to be leaders of their own lives. Bring our strengthened community to be servants of the world. 

    God of Peace, we pray in Jesus name.

    August 13, 2017

    National Council of Churches in Korea           Korean Christian Federation

     

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    August 7th, 2017 10:42 pm | Continue Reading
  4. Prayer for students – UDPS 2017

    We had the following prayer sent to us by Karolyn Mangeot on the occasion of Universal Day of Prayer for Students from North Carolina, USA:

    I am not a enrolled in school now but I am a woman who has benefitted from a great education and I hope to always be a “student”.  I pray today not only for those who cannot afford an education but also for those students who can think only about what education will get them the job/career that will allow them to make money to support their families or pay back their student loans or make other people proud of them.  May God lead them to an education that will fulfill their souls and help them and their families and friends expand their minds and bless them with a life rich in opportunities.

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    February 28th, 2017 10:03 am | Continue Reading
  5. Prayer for education – UDPS 2017

    Dear God,

    In children and young adults, you implored the disciples and his preaching audience to let them come unfettered to God, because theirs was the pure in heart and innocence. We know that an excellent way to do this I through education, both religious and secular. In a world made more anxious by political changes, we are more and more aware that children are the hope for the future. We pray that they may continue to seek truth in an era that seeks to distort or change it. We pray that they may see the good in education, and we pray for those who continue to make education available and meaningful to students across the world.

    In your name we pray, Alleluia, Amen.

     

    This prayer was offered by a retired high school teacher of over 30 years, a former and present coach, and a past youth group leader for over 2 decades, who read about WSCF-Europe in the Presbyterian Church USA’s Mission Yearbook.

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    February 27th, 2017 10:04 am | Continue Reading
  6. WSCF AP Statement on LGBT rights in Bangladesh

    AP region

    World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific demands protection and safety of LGBT human rights defenders and ensure freedom of speech in Bangladesh.

    The World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific Region (WSCF-AP) condemns in the strongest terms the recent brutal killings of two gay rights activists, Xulhaz Mannan and Tanay Mojumdar, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. On 25th April 2016, six unidentified attackers entered their apartment and hacked Mannan and Majumdar to death in the presence of Mannan’s 80-year-old mother, leaving behind a seriously wounded security guard of the apartment building, according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency.

    WSCF-AP expresses its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of Mannan and Mojumdar. Mannan was a passionate dreamer to create an inclusive community in Bangladesh. He stood for justice and human rights and tried to uplift the voices of the oppressed and marginalized sexual minorities , the LGBT community, through his courageous initiative. Mannan was the editor of the country’s only LGBT magazine Roopbaan, which was launched two years ago to become a platform for promoting the rights of the LGBT community in Bangladesh. Mannan also worked at the U.S. embassy prior to joining the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In addition, he was also serving as a founding member of the U.S. Embassy Diversity Committee. “

    “I am devastated by the brutal murder of Xulhaz Mannan and another young Bangladeshi,” said U.S. Ambassador Marcia Bernicat. “We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders.”

    The chairperson of Student Christian Movement (SCM) Bangladesh, Edward Tarun, condemned the recent killings and expressed his concern about the recent developments in the country in which a series of systematic killings have been carried out to suppress any expression of liberal ideas or writings of dissent by civil society.

    “We are no longer allowed freedom of speech,” Tarun said. “There is fear-mongering among the community who express their dissent. The government is least bothered to take action against the perpetrators. We are living in a dangerous situation in the country.”

    Earlier this month a Bangladeshi law student who had expressed secular views online was hacked to death with machetes and was then shot in Dhaka. This attack took place within a context in which last year four prominent secular bloggers were also brutally killed with machetes. The four bloggers had all appeared on a list of 84 “atheist bloggers” drawn up by Islamic groups in 2013 that was widely circulated.

    The situation in Bangladesh is disturbing as the targeting of progressive authors and writers is growing at an alarming rate. We in the student community in WSCF Asia-Pacific Region seek your solidarity and action to protect the lives and human rights of minorities in the country, especially Bangladesh’s sexual minorities.

    We stand in solidarity with the justice and peace-seeking community and urge the Bangladesh government to urgently undertake the following actions:

    1. Ensure that everyone in Bangladesh is secured and protected under human rights protection laws, particularly the country’s progressive thinkers, writers and creative artists who have recently become victims in the hands of religious fanatics;
    2. Undertake measures to ensure the protection and safety of all LGBT human rights defenders in the country;
    3. Bring the culprits to justice as quickly as possible and render the most stringent punishment in order to prevent any future occurrence of such heinous criminal acts;
    4. Proactively address cases of violence against LGBT people, including the implementation of measures to prevent all forms of violence by investigating and penalizing such actions and by undertaking necessary reforms to the justice system;
    5. Ensure freedom of speech as a fundamental right of every human being.

    In Solidarity,

    Human Rights Justice and Peace Committee – WSCF – AP
    April 28, 2016

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    May 4th, 2016 10:23 pm | Continue Reading
  7. Prayers for Ankara & Brussels

    World Student Christian Federation in Europe condemns the recent terrorist attacks in Ankara and Brussels. Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters who suffered from the violent attacks. We pray for the victims, the injured and their families.

    Almighty God,
    We pray for all the victims, injured and survivors of terrorist attacks in Ankara and Brussels.
    Merciful God,
    Stretch out your strong hand in this situation, hold and rescue those who have suffered
    Please, fill the hearts of survivors and their families with patience
    to overcome pains and sorrows in their souls
    Help us to understand each other in this time of darkness
    Protect us from evil and shield us from violence
    Preserve us in our hour of need
    Help us to overcome fear with faith
    Hold us safe and hold us strong
    God hear our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ
    Amen

    WSCF-E calls you to join us in praying for peace and praying for those who have suffered violence. Please, light your candle and show that you are in solidarity with the people in Ankara and Brussels.

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    March 24th, 2016 3:47 pm | Continue Reading
  8. WSCF statement on harassment of Lumad people

    The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) stands in solidarity with Lumad indigenous people of Mindanao and the United Church of Christ in Philippines (UCCP). We join the students and churches in condemning the burning of the church shelter for Lumad evacuees in Davao Philippines.

    lumad harrassment

    Photo by: National Council of Churches in the Philippines

    The cry for justice for the Luman Indigenous People intensify as last February 24 2016 at 2’o clock dawn, unidentified men broke into the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran Mission Center in Davao City Philippines pouring gasoline that burned down dwelling places of 700 Lumads seeking refuge inside the church compound. Fleeing from militarization and harassment, the Lumads took shelter in the church compound more than a year ago. Five people were injured, including three children in the blaze of what the UCCP Pastoral Letter describe as ”frustrated multiple murder” or arson confirmed by local Bureau of Fire Protection.

    In a press conference organized by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) February 26 at their national headquarters in Manila, Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, General Secretary of UCCP asked, “why after one year of harassment and intimidation against the Lumad, the Philippine Government has not taken any action to protect them?” He added, “ the church is a sanctuary, it is doing its mission to serve the poor and marginalized people of God, why are we being targeted by violent forces? ”

    In the UCCP Pastoral Letter issued by eight UCCP bishops entitled, “what they could not do in the light of day, they do so under the cover of darkness,” UCCP calls on their members and partners to join them in prayer and vigilance. They call for a thorough investigation of the incident and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice, holding the Aquino government accountable for the series of attacks on the Church and Lumad people.

    WSCF member movement in the Philippines, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) issued a statement calling for justice to the Lumad people and condemns the burning of the Lumad shelter in Davao, Philippines “It is reprehensible that the oppression of Lumad people continue without let-up!” SCMP spokesperson Anna Flores, “calls various groups, individuals and friends of the Filipino people to raise their voices against Lumad oppression.”

    The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), a global community of 105 student movements working for justice and peace joins the SCMP and the UCCP in condemning the attacks on the Lumad people and destroying the Haran church shelter in Davao Philippines. We invite all our members to pray for peace and justice for the Lumad people and call for a stop to the militarization, killings, harassment of the indigenous people and the churches. Stop the development aggression of mining companies exploiting and destroying the indigenous people ancestral land.

    Reference: Necta Montes, Secretary General necta@wscfglobal.org

    26 February 2016

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    March 7th, 2016 10:23 pm | Continue Reading
  9. Students call for better access to higher education for refugees & asylum seekers

    SCM Britain Refugees welcome

    University students and young adults have called for greater access to higher education for refugees and asylum seekers, during an event organised by the Student Christian Movement (SCM Britain). Students came from universities in Birmingham, Worcester and Leeds to hear stories from local asylum seekers, who spoke of the difficult and often drawn out process of settling in Britain, and take part in workshops exploring the current refugees situation.

    “Refugees and asylum seekers have come from dangerous places, often fleeing war and poverty, with many young people among them hoping to go to university,” said Ruth Wilde, SCM’s Faith in Action worker who organised the event.

    “SCM’s campaign, in partnership with Student Action for Refugees, is asking our universities and political leaders to extend compassion to these people by making it easier for them to access loans or grants and attend a university course that could change their lives,” she added.

    The Equal Access campaign

    SCM is part of a coalition of different organisations involved in the ‘Equal Access’ campaign, led by Student Action for Refugees (STAR). At present, refugees and asylum seekers looking to enrol on a university course cannot access loans or grants to cover some of these costs. They are required to pay the same tuition fees as international students, which make it nearly impossible for any refugee to attend a university and further their education.

    At the event on Saturday 13 February, students heard from Shari Brown, who is a project coordinator at Restore, a Birmingham-based charity. Shari spoke of the need for Christian communities to challenge the misinformation surrounding refugees and present positive stories to society through the media. “We need to find allies in the media to push these positive stories and change the messaging around refugees,” she said.

    Students also heard from two local asylum seekers, who live in Birmingham and are involved in the local community through St Chad’s Sanctuary and a community hospitality house. “We don’t leave our homes to claim benefits,” one refugee said. “We leave because it’s dangerous. We just want to rebuild our lives.”

    Fr Martin Newell, who helps to coordinate the Catholic Worker community house project in Birmingham, added that Christians and churches are slowly reviving the “lost Christian virtue of hospitality”, and students can help build a more welcoming place for refugees in their communities.

    The Importance of Higher Education

    In February the University of Edinburgh announced plans to offer fully funded scholarships to five asylum-seeking students beginning in 2016, with a ‘significant reduction in costs’ in tuition fees for other students seeking asylum. Students at the campaign event in Birmingham said this was an encouraging step and offered other ways of taking action to welcome refugees and asylum seekers into the country.

    “Education is probably the most important factor in informing people about the world,” said Mark Birkett, a first-year student at the University of Birmingham and member of MethSoc, the SCM-affiliated Methodist group there. “Education is the pathway to improvement – the people attending university today will be influencing society and helping to run the country in the future. So if we can get people informed at university level, then we have hope for the future. Getting more refugees to attend university would be brilliant.”

    During the afternoon workshop, Revd Keith Hebden led participants in theological reflection, allowing students to reflect on the current refugee crisis and discuss small practical actions to take with them to their student groups.

     

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    February 16th, 2016 2:47 pm | Continue Reading
  10. Appeal from Hong Kong: Free Li Bo Now!

    SCM HK: Free Lee Boo!

     

     

    Dear SCMers,

    SCM Hong Kong is calling for your help. 5 book sellers from Hong Kong went missing. They are believed to be abducted by the Chinese Government.

    They all work for the same bookstore, Causway Bay Bookstore, and they went missing one by one over the span of a few months.

    Although the latest case Li Bo wrote home recently, it is very likely that he is forced to do so under threat. The fact is that he hasn’t show up till now.

    It is said that these book sellers are abducted by Chinese Police because they are about to publish a book on President Xi Jin Ping’s private life. Let me put it very clearly that Chinese police has no role whatsoever in Hong Kong. Chinese laws are not applicable in Hong Kong as the legal system is different and we enjoy freedom of press as guaranteed by the Basic Law.

    Please share the attached news below with your national SCM. You can also find video in different languages at the bottom of this email.

    Q: How can I help?

    Prayers, of course. And more. We need you to go to the Chinese Embassy in your region and give them pressure to release the 5 missing book sellers. You can organize a protest, send press release, make it to the newspaper then send us that piece of news.

    Q: Why would that help? Shouldn’t the police in Hong Kong be investigating?

    The Hong Kong police has very limited power in cases concerning China since China is our sovereign country. In this case since it is very sensitive and political, the local police dare not to point it to the Chinese Government.

    The good news is, judging from the circumstances,  it is only the conduct of some over-ambitious front line officials. If the Chinese Government perceive this as an embarrassment  within the international community, it is very likely
    these booksellers will be released (unlike some real threats such as Liu Xiao Bo).

    Thank you for your help.

    Best regards

    SCM HKJason Lai 
    ExCo Member, SCMHK
    Vice Convenor,  Civil Human Rights Group

     

    More information:

    Videos made by SCMHK in different languages, explaining the situation

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    January 28th, 2016 3:55 pm | Continue Reading