127th Anniversary of WSCF: A Walk Down Memory Lane
During a 26 June service, participants from all over the world celebrated the 127th anniversary of the World Student Christian Federation in an 18th-century baroque church, Sophienkirche in Berlin, Germany.
“This timeline does a fabulous job narrating the prodigious, century-long odyssey that continues today, and emphasises the strength of a visual identity that, despite the consistent and considerable change, has been persistently recognisable over the span of more than 127 years of World Student Christian Federation,” shared Monika Biswas, general secretary of Student Christian Movement Bangladesh.
“We meet with experiences of a world that suffers in so many ways and we bear the collective guilt of man's devastating contribution to life. We meet because as long as we come together, as long as we pray together, as long as we live out the love spoken about in the Gospel—there is hope,” expressed Kriss Agge from Student Christian Movement Sweden.
On this occasion, Salters Sterling, immediate past-president of the Centennial Fund of the World Student Christian Federation, shared his experiences with the federation.
“1960 was a most significant year in the life of the federation. It was the year of the World Teaching Conference of the federation in Strasbourg, France. That conference, attended by 1,200 students from across the globe, was the culmination of a study programme on the Life and Mission of the Church in every National Student Christian Movement and in all local branches,” shared Sterling.
Going down memory lane, he shared how he was moved by the performance of Ella Fitzgerald during the conference.
“Each morning session was in plenary and as we took our places in the assembly hall, we were entertained by one of the greatest blues and jazz singers in the world, Ms. Ella Fitzgerald. She brought us all together as a united conference to sing, ‘He’s Got the Whole World in his Hands, and as we joined her in that great song, we added more and more verses in order to give expression to the comprehensive, empowering, and revolution-making love of God,” said Salters.
Reflecting back, he further shared that, later in the conference, the imagery of God with the whole world in his hands was complemented by Bishop Samuel Azariah from India. Azariah shared with the participants an Indian Christmas song, in which the little Jesus played with his toys which were the sun, moon, stars, and planets of the universe.
“With such pictures to sustain us we committed our lives to the doing of justice and the making of peace and some of us became martyrs for both, of whom one was Bola Ige from Nigeria, the minister for justice in that great country who was murdered for his faith,” said Salters.
Celebrating the rich and diverse history of the World Student Christian Federation, general secretary Marcelo Leites commented, “Since 127 years, the World Student Christian Federation is struggling in the community for justice, diversity and mutual love. I am proud to be a SCMer and be part of the most transformative fellowship of young people, students, and seniors.”