Student Christian Movement of Canada


Student Christian Movement of Canada

Infobox Organization
name = Student Christian Movement of Canada


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abbreviation = SCM Canada
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formation = 1895
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purpose = youth-led Christian ecumenism
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region_served = Canada
membership = students
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website = http://www.scmcanada.org/
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The Student Christian Movement of Canada (SCM Canada) is a youth-led ecumenical network of student collectives based in spirituality, issues of social, economic, and environmental justice, and building autonomous local communities on campuses across the country. It is part of the World Student Christian Federation

History

In 1895, leaders from North American and European countries established and united national SCMs within the first international student organization, the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF). [ [http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-10524405_ITM Student Christian Movement of Canada: celebrating 80 years of faith and social justice. | Catholic New Times (, 2001) ] ]

Twenty-six years later, in 1921, SCM Canada was founded and incorporated into the WSCF.Fact|date=May 2008

Like its international counterpart, SCM Canada has had a complex history of membership, influence, and activity since its inception. It has been part of: the ecumenical movement, the turbulence of the 1960s student movements, the mid-twentieth century shift in balance of power from liberal to evangelical Christian conservatism, the pressures of maintaining unity across the spectrum of Christianity and the tension between a theological study focus and a social activism focus.Fact|date=May 2008

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.Fact|date=May 2008

Some projects the movement has undertaken include socialist work camps in the 1940s and 50s, in which students would work in unionizing factories during the summer and pool their resources in communal houses of prayer; summer solidarity projects between 2000-2002 exploring sustainable living in rural community; international solidarity exchanges with more militant SCMs in the Philippines and Nicaragua; and annual student educational trips they call pilgrimages.Fact|date=May 2008

The pilgrimage model started with a tour of radical labour and faith organizations in southern Ontario and the north-east USA. Today, SCM Canada travels every November to the gates of the US army base at Fort Benning, Georgia, to protest the human rights abuses of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC, formerly School of the Americas).Fact|date=May 2008

SCM Canada was investigated by Canadian security services during the Cold War for alleged Communist infiltration because of its positions on economic justice and opposition to nuclear weapons. Some members were linked to the Communist Party of Canada, but the movement denied formal links. Fact|date=May 2008

Since the 1990s, SCM Canada has attracted a variety of students, though the network is considerably smaller than in previous decades when mainline Protestant churches were more prominent in Canadian life.Fact|date=May 2008

Politically, SCM tends to hold a number of converging political ideologies and outlooks in its ranks, including anarchist and feminist principles of decentralized organizing, liberal concerns with human rights and equality, and emphasis on praxis in integrating theories of social change, theologies, and leftist social activism. Liberation theology has had a major impact on bridging the movement's political and spiritual direction.Fact|date=May 2008

Spiritually, SCM members come not only from traditional supporters, the United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada, but also Roman Catholics, Mennonites, some Evangelicals and some non-Christians. Styles of local worship range from contemplative meditation, to monastic styles, praise music and less tradition creative liturgies and ritual.Fact|date=May 2008

SCM Canada publishes an independent magazine, All Things New, twice a year. [ [http://www.scmcanada.org/ | Student Christian Movement of Canada ] ]

Activities

* The local unit is considered the heart of the movement. Activities and styles vary widely, depending on who is involved. Local unit activities have included retreats, film festivals, anti-war and other activism, liberation theology Bible studies, LGBT and religion workshops, potluck suppers and social gatherings, student-led worship services, meditation, and popular education around justice issues of concern to the group. Local units can also vary widely in their identification with Christianity, interfaith, and the Church.

* Local unit members and its national board gather annually at a national conference, which explores current social or political issues from a Christian ecumenical perspective, and features the highest decision-making body of the movement, National Council, which operates on consensus decision principles.

* SCM Canada organizes an annual [http://www.scmcanada.org/pilgrimage pilgrimage] to the gates of the US army base at Fort Benning, Georgia to protest alleged human rights abuses of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC, formerly School of the Americas).

* The movement also advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people's rights, which began in the mid-1990s with a popular pamphlet, [http://www.scmcanada.org/queer/stophomophobia Stop Homophobia in the Churches] , which was updated and republished in 2007. In 2006, SCM Canada received a $100,000 US grant from the Liberty Hill Foundation to launch a [http://www.scmcanada.org/queer Queer & Christian Without Contradiction] campaign across Canada.

Structure

SCM Canada is a grassroots organization composed of autonomous local unit collectives that associate with each other regionally and nationally. The national body of the movement is associated with regional bodies of the WSCF.Fact|date=May 2008

SCM Canada is currently the only student-led affiliate of WSCF in North America, although a North America Regional office was founded in 2007, and there are plans for an SCM-USA. The United States is represented at WSCF by the Council for Ecumenical Student Christian Ministries, which is an inter-church body.Fact|date=May 2008

The highest decision-making body in the movement is National Council, which convenes every spring at the movement's National Conference. The location rotates between regions. All decisions are made by consensus of all students present, regardless of seniority or experience, and are facilitated by the elected National Representatives to the National Board.Fact|date=May 2008

Local

University students run local unit collectives, generally based on some form of consensus decision-making, facilitated by at least one Local Unit Coordinator or Animator (formerly local secretaries), although some groups are completely self-directed. Local units are often allied with campus chaplains, other social activist and/or spiritual/religious groups on campus, and local organizations beyond the academy.Fact|date=May 2008

Publications

Twice a year, SCM Canada publishes an independent magazine, [http://www.scmcanada.org/atn All Things New] . Each issue addresses a topic decided upon by the movement and includes local unit reports, internal communication and discussions about the movement's direction.Fact|date=May 2008

A theological journal, Epistle, is also published occasionally.Fact|date=May 2008

Regional

For the purposes of inter-regional communication and organizing, local unit collectives fall within one of two regions; Western or Eastern. Each region has two subregions, which elect one representative each to the National Board of Directors, which meets two times a year, and at National Council where a new Board is elected by all delegates in the spring.Fact|date=May 2008

The Western Region consists of all campuses in the Mountains Subregion (Alberta and British Columbia) and the Prairies Subregion (Saskatchewan and Manitoba).Fact|date=May 2008

The Eastern Region consists of all campuses in the Central Subregion (Ontario & Quebec) and the Maritimes Subregion (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick & PEI) Fact|date=May 2008

National

All SCM members who attend National Conference (usually every May) comprise the National Council of SCM Canada. National Council is the highest decision-making body of SCM Canada. The National Council elects and empowers a National Board of Directors to continue the Movement's business throughout the year.Fact|date=May 2008

One or two National Coordinators are hired by the National Board to administer, fundraise, assist in national programs, and network local units and board members throughout the year. The National Office is in Toronto, Ontario, although in 2007 a second office opened in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The current coordinator, David Ball, works from the Winnipeg office.Fact|date=May 2008

Other staff include a Staff Associate in Toronto, Heather Orrange, and the Queer & Christian Without Contradiction campaign coordinator, Arron Kardolos-Wilson.Fact|date=May 2008

International

SCM Canada is part of the North American Region of the WSCF.Fact|date=May 2008

The WSCF North American Region includes SCM Canada, Jeunesse Etudiante Chrétienne (Québec), the Lutheran Student Movement(USA), the United Methodist Student Movement (USA) and the U.S. Council for Ecumenical Student Christian Ministry. The North America Regional Office is located in New York, New York. The North America Regional Secretary is Luciano Kovacs.Fact|date=May 2008

The Inter-Regional Office of the WSCF is located in Geneva, Switzerland. The WSCF General Secretary is Michael Wallace.Fact|date=May 2008

See also

Affiliated Organizations
*World Student Christian Federation

Allied Movements & Organizations
*Catholic Worker Movement
*Christian Peacemaker Teams
*Jesus Radicals

Ideologies & Philosophies
*Christian anarchism
*Christian communism
*Christian feminism
*Christian left
*Christian socialism
*Ecumenism
*Environmentalism
*Liberation theology
*Postmodern Christianity
*Progressive Christianity
*Social Gospel
*Social justice

External links

* [http://www.scmcanada.org/ Student Christian Movement of Canada]

References

* [http://books.google.ca/books?id=lX_EFrMPcI0C&pg=PA71&dq=Student+Christian+Movement+of+Canada&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a&sig=tQeVhgz5mMhuGdmaWmfBSvWt2ZY Millagan, Frank (2003) Eugene A. Forsey: An Intellectual Biography ]
* [http://books.google.ca/books?id=M8AY--xm0gsC&pg=PA248&dq=Student+Christian+Movement+of+Canada&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a&sig=23QPUI4Gp1rR8-L2R0OPY1htnYs#PPA204,M1 Rawlyk, George A., (1990) The Canadian Protestant Experience, 1760-1990 ]
* [http://books.google.ca/books?id=wc6MO35Oc_sC&pg=PA94&dq=Student+Christian+Movement+of+Canada&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a&sig=7TnqMuD-EfAlxQXHwygKK_BDTQM Deotis, J, and Battle, Michael (2005) The Quest for Liberation and Reconciliation: Essays in Honor of J. Deotis]


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