I was privileged this week to be offered a position on the Board of the Student Christian Movement in Canada as the Communications and Resource Board Member (lovingly known as the Director of Propaganda). I have accepted the position with a bit of surprise, knowing this organization has a wonderful legacy of meaningful work and prestigious members. Though, it may not seem so at first, the motley crew of students/young adults and “senior friends” has been a noticeable force in the Canadian and international civic spheres.
Since its founding, SCM Canada has taken stands on pressing social issues of its time, including support for the ordination of women, opposing internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War II; anti-war activities since the 1960s; and facing controversy for its solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified Christians. Members were involved in the Canadian social gospel movement which mobilized for a more just social order in Canada, including accessible health care, education and social services. (SCM History)
SCM is also a part of the WSCF–World Student Christian Federation, an international body of movements. We join with them in hopes of seeing a vision of peace and justice realized worldwide, for all persons.
As a place of discussion, prayer, and action, SCM has offered young adults a collective of diversely inspired and passionate Christian to join in holy mischief, and the pursuit of peace and justice. Never before had I met passionate individuals who so whole-heartily believed in the Beatitudes.
Having had the opportunity to meet SCMers from around Ontario at the recent Cahoots Festival I was inspired by their passion and vision. SCM held a visioning meeting during the Festival where long-time participants and newcomers all joined together to write down the dreams and desires they hope to actualize, together, over the coming year. The process was cathartic as people expressed frustrations, longings, hopes, and we bonded over the collective past and present of the organization. As a very new member of SCM Ottawa, I felt incredibly welcomed into this motley community mischief-makers and invited into their diverse and meaningful work. Now I have an opportunity to join that work nationally and support those small but industrious SCM groups across Canada rallying behind the Social Gospel.
I look forward to what the coming year will bring, supporting SCM groups from BC, Manitoba, Ontario and so many more. And, to see more individuals find their voice in our greater human narrative, just as those who came before us:
- The Greensboro Four (U.S. Civil Rights movement)
- J.S. Woodsworth (labour leader & social gospel minister)
- Muriel Duckworth (founder, Voice of Women for Peace)
- Lois Wilson (former head, World Council of Churches; 1st woman moderator, United Church of Canada)
- James Endicott (co-founder of SCM Canada and United Church of Canada)
- Kwame Nkruma (pan-African unity leader)
- Desmond Tutu (anti-apartheid archbishop)
- Nancy Ruth (Canadian senator)
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (dissident pastor martyred by Nazis)
- Steve Biko (anti-apartheid martyr)
- Brother Roger (Taize founder)
- Jurgen Moltmann (theologian)
- Vince Goring (Canadian Commonwealth Federation/NDP)