WSCF Europe Staff & Officers’ Meeting 2015

March 13th, 2015 8:22 am

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Last month representatives from Student Christian Movements across Europe met together in Madrid for WSCF Europe’s annual Staff and Officers’ Meeting (S&O). The theme of the meeting was communication – looking at how we better communicate within our movements and with the students and young people we serve.

 

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A personal highlight of the S&O was the intercultural evening on Thursday. Since WSCF Europe (and the global federation) is made up of so many distinctive cultures and communities, every meeting together is a chance to share different cultural experiences, from food and drink to music and sewing (thank you to Andrew from Belarus for a fascinating demonstration!). You can view photos from the evening, and the rest of the meeting, on SCM Britain’s Flickr page.

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In the world of SCM, we talk a lot about diversity and how we learn from each other. In the British movement, we value the experiences of students from different Christian traditions. When it comes to faith, the old distinctions of class, race, denomination and gender are turning into the issues that unite us; the more we see people from different backgrounds coming together, the more powerful our sense of unity.

 

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Talking to some of the other participants at the S&O, I realised that all of our movements are different. We have different traditions and ideas, and we live in societies that are changing in different ways. Living in Britain, I have no real concept of what life in Italy or Austria is like for a student. What are the issues that people care about? As a movement that spans the whole continent, how do we learn from what movements in Poland, Germany or Finland are doing?

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As Christians, we are called to speak prophetically into the culture around us. We do this both with our words and by our actions. But culture is changing all the time. In Italy for example, a boom in immigration has led to an increasingly multicultural generation of Italians, bringing with them different spiritual experiences and Christian traditions. The Evangelical Youth Federation in Italy, which is a member of WSCF Europe, is responding by organising yearly events called ‘Youth Happenings’ – the first of which brought together over 300 people from different social and cultural backgrounds in 2014.

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This is just one example of a student movement that is building community based on values that reflect a Christian faith I want to be part of. But there are certainly challenges ahead. At times we may feel disappointed at low turnout figures for events, or feel dissatisfied that membership is not growing fast enough. It’s important at meetings like the S&O not to hide away from our frustrations. But the experience of Christianity also teaches us that hope is not a timid response. Hope is strong and resilient. If we can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of students, we can see change occurring in the lives of thousands, if not millions.

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I am so encouraged to be part of a movement that values hospitality and community; a movement that is listening to what people have to say and is responding positively to changes in our world. When I think of our movements in Europe, that is what I see.

Written by Ellis Tsang of SCM Britain. 

World Student Christian Federation – Europe
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The work of WSCF-Europe is financially supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.

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