I wasn’t sure whether to do this post today or not, but my tea this morning came in my SCM mug, so I’m taking that as a sign of sorts that I should get on and write it!
SCM, which stands for the Student Christian Movement, has been a huge part of my life since I discovered it existed back at the end of 2010. I’d started university a few months before and while I was adamant I didn’t want a ‘studenty’ church (they tend not to be for me either theologically or stylistically, and one of the things I like about church is that it is one of the few places I know of where people of different ages and generations can mix together and become genuine friends), I did want to be able to meet other Christians my own age in an inclusive and accepting environment, where it was okay to ask questions. I wanted something inclusive, particularly of women and LGBTQ+ people – it’s great that SCM now has both a BAME and an LGBTQ+ rep! I’d been put off the CU by a number of horror stories (#notallCUs, I know) and anyway, I was looking for something smaller than that, where I felt a sense of belonging and not just of being one of the crowd. SCM turned out to be exactly what I was looking for and more.
I was a trustee for four years, from 2012 to 2016, and during that time I held two portfolios – Campaigns for the first two years and then Media and Publications. I got the opportunity to help with a rebrand, to edit and write for a magazine, to co-lead worship at Greenbelt, to co-host a conference in Manchester and to go and talk about faith and feminism in Edinburgh, as well as to meet so many excellent people at events, meetings conferences and the like. I’ve also met so many great people through it – it’s very hard not to sound gushing when something has had such a positive influence on me. Because I’ve been around the movement for so long, I’ve seen it change and evolve – the staff team has changed and grown, the membership is different and even the office has moved! I have lots of fond memories of it, and while I won’t be able to get to the conference near Cardiff in March this year, I’ll be hooked to Twitter waiting for news from it.
If this is starting to sound a bit like an advert for SCM, I apologise! (Although if you think it might be for you and I haven’t already convinced you to sign up, please do – I also somehow seem to know a lot of priest/minister types so if that applies to you consider signing up your church or churches as a Link Church! Advert over – almost!)
2019 marks the 130th year of the movement, and to mark that SCM are running a fundraising challenge. The aim is to get 130 people to raise £130 each – and so, for my challenge, I’m going to kill two birds with one stone (figuratively, not literally) and up my reading challenge target from 50, which would be just under one a week, to 130, which works out at one every two or three days. I’m currently on 24, and my only rule for a book to ‘count’ is that I have to finish it. This is going to be pretty challenging but not impossible – wish me luck, and you can keep up to date with my progress on this blog or on my goodreads account, which can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/14577266
If you feel moved to do so, you can donate here: https://www.givey.com/debbiesreadingchallenge