SCM reflections during the WSCF 127th Anniversary Service


PIO PARK (Bung Chul Park)

Pio ParkI remember when I first met a SCMer. I was fourth grade in the seminary, and I was thinking about the future. At that time, my senior suggested me to study SCM movement. When I found out about the SCM, I was very excited. I could feel my heart beating so hard. And he introduced me to KSCF.

In 2006, the SCM held a women’s rights program in the Philippines and it was suggested I should be participating. At that time, I had no understanding or interest in feminism or women. Then (with a KSCF group), I visited a bar where sexworkers were working. There, I saw a Filipino woman doing a strip dance and a number of men watching her. We could talk with her at a little cost. She was a single mom, and there was a child behind the stage. She was a woman who started this job out of poverty. And the day was her kid’s birthday. While listening to the story, the boys who were there felt something was going wrong. Girls were filled with anger while listening to the story.

We came back to the dorm and talked about how we felt. Girls were sad, crying, and angry. Their story was rambling. But the boys there could feel it. The women’s eyes were filled with anger to boys. They were innocent, but they looked like sinners. It was not comfortable, but it was a good reflection.

It was my beginning of SCM movement. After that, I experienced many countries. Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, etc. Such an experience changed my whole life. The direction of life, values, thoughts, interests, faith and human relationships.

I want to share what I found a value from SCM movement. It’s friendship. I want to share here a bible text about great love. Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friend. (John 15:13)

It’s hard to give your life for a friend. But being friends seems to have the courage to give our life. What I regard as an important value of SCM is friendship. I am Korean, and English is not my first language. But I believe that you guys here understand what I’m trying to say. Even if my English is terrible.



Yasmina RishmawiHello, my name is Yasmine Rishmawi. I am from Bethlehem Palestine, representing the Middle East. I will start with a quote from a poem by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish:

Greetings to the one who shares with me an attention to 
The drunkenness of light, the light of the butterfly, in the Blackness of this tunnel!
In the stage of siege,
Here on the slopes of hills, facing the dusk and the cannon of time
Close to the gardens of broken shadows,
We do what prisoners do,
And what the jobless do:
We plant hope.

Over ten years ago, I was introduced to the WSCF through the UN Advocacy week on Palestine in Geneva. At that time, I was still struggling with identifying myself as a Palestinian Christian.

The clash in my identity stemmed from the strong voices we were hearing growing up from many Christian Zionists around the world affirming that our land as Palestinians does not belong to us. At the same time, we were witnessing the injustices befallen on our people, our lands being confiscated, our youth murdered in cold blood, our parents imprisoned, our water, language, culture stolen and appropriated. And we were asked to accept this settler colonial apartheid system with a smile.

Our Bible became a weapon, became a tool that’s oppressing us, and out of this despair, we didn’t remain silent, we spoke out, and the Kairos Palestine Document was born, and with it a reconciliation in our identities as youth became possible though a decolonized interpretation of our Bible.

Through this journey, the WSCF has always been supporting us as Palestinian Christian Youth, as we navigate a world of apartheid and oppression. In 2014, the WSCF took a major step, visited Palestine to answer the call of Kairos to come and see, and eventually in 2015 WSCF took a strong position in its policy paper. It endorsed the Kairos Palestine Document, joined our voices in declaring the Israeli occupation is a sin against God and humanity, and also joined our call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

That made us feel seen and heard and filled our hearts with so much hope. And today with its 127th anniversary, we do hope that the federation will continue having this prophetic voice, one that challenges injustices, stands with the oppressed and sows seeds of hope. So that the seed, when it grows becomes the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that birds come and perch in its branches.



Ebere UbesieGod be praised! I am very happy to be here, connecting with (all the branches of) this tree!

In 1987 I was a little girl at the Federal  College in my home state in Nigeria. I was just 11, and I got into the school. Of course I was from a Christian home, and my family background is Anglican, but (my parents were quite involved) and so I joined the Student Christian Movement in Nigeria, I joined the SCM in my secondary school. In Nigeria (the educational system) is so structured that we start from the secondary schools if you (a student) have the opportunity. I don’t like to dwell on this part, but I have to say “Thank you, Patrick!” (to Patrick Holly, UK member).

Why do I say this? Because Dr. Akanu Ibiam, founder of the SCM in Nigeria, actually went to Britain to study and while in Britain he joined the SCM. And then after studying in Britain he came back to Nigeria and started the SCM there in 1940.

So then in 1987 when I was in secondary school I joined the SCM and it has been a wonderful journey.

But why am I sharing this with you today?

It is because I might not have continued. Yes! Because at the end of that first year we had completed the term, and we had finished everything, we didn’t have much to do. So we, the young girls, gathered together after a final worship service, and we were talking all along the line. And this one girl came up with this story: “(They are always telling us), you shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that. But we (can do them), we will do all the things they tell us we shouldn’t do! And we would not go to the SCM again.”

And let me tell you friends, every one of us there agreed! And we said “NO, we will not go to the SCM again.”

Well, God had mercy on me. My name is Ebere and my name means “a blessing of God”. I went off with these friends and it got late and I was lying down. And someone tapped me. And maybe it was all my imagination, but I heard “Get up, get up!”. And I jumped up from the bed and started to run.

Why was I running? That was the last SCM gathering of the term. After that we would go home.

So. We had all decided we would not go to the gathering that day. But I ran and ran, and I fell down, and I got up and I kept on running. And when I got to the gathering they were just finishing and I joined them. And after that I kept going to the Student Christian Movement.

Why am I telling you this story? A friend of mine, a dear friend, after that she stopped coming to the SCM. And today, as I am talking with you, her life is bad. I kept trying to help her, because she just stopped coming. (section with no audio) bad influences. And then right when we were finishing secondary school, she got pregnant. And her school advisor did not know, she did not tell him. (section with no audio) When her family knew, they sent her out of her home. She never had a good education, she never had job opportunities, and this all continued on and on, all because she decided to keep away. But I kept on, and I was kept from the vices.

In telling my story I just want to conclude and thank God for our forefathers who started the tree of WSCF, and for the SCMs (around the world). I thank the SCM of Nigeria for teaching us the right things to do, and serving by helping the community and by advocacy programs. (Inaudible section reference to SCM dealing with the government of Nigeria…) shining the light and insuring that the society is told to do the right thing at all times.

I want to thank God for the WSCF! I want to thank God for the SCM!

(Inaudible reference to important even held last year addressing concerns about the environment at which the President was present) and this too was a great opportunity for the Student Christian Movement of Nigeria!

I started to tell everybody that we must make sure that in the same way we have been raised and kept away from vices, we will keep doing that – right from the secondary schools through the universities – so that people will be told and taught what we are taught.

The WSCF is a tree, and the tree must continue to grow. And it will, as long as we keep on, and we don’t cut it down. We are the trees, and we are the world!

Jesus says something in John 13. He says, “Now that you know these things happy are you if you do them.” We keep doing, so that we keep growing, and it will not stop with us. Far be it from us! Thank you.



Natia TsintsadzeDear SCMers, WSCF friends and partners, family:

I have been blessed and honoured to serve with the WSCF as a staff person (in the EU region) for the last almost 8 years, (working with people) with open hearts within our global fellowship of the WSCF. It has been my second family ever since, and will forever remain so, my lifelong commitment and passion.

It has given me the wonderful opportunity of empowering and inspiring our students, Christian youth, to serve humanity, within our family and in our communities.

Since 1895 WSCF has been a strong voice against injustice, dealing with the effects of violence against human beings and nature. Looking back to the history, WSCF has been a progressive force, leading the way, paving the path, being the voice of the voiceless and champion of political, social and cultural change.

Having such a wonderful legacy is an extraordinary responsibility, and we know that it is a great power as well, so that power comes with the responsibility. The responsibility towards future generations to keep the legacy for change.

Long live the WSCF!



Julio GonzalezI would like to begin this presentation by telling a story which might sounds a little out of the ordinary. It’s the story of a boy who attended public school in Latin America. He lived in a POOR situation, with a lot of needs and there were a lot of things he needed which just weren’t possible FOR HIS FAMILY. He had very little time just to reflect on life and its different aspects, because his life consisted of going to school, fetching water for his house, helping his father in his work and keeping the house clean, because his mother and father worked very hard all day long to make ends meet for their family. And this shy little boy went to a church where he was able to talk to other members about the Bible, about questions of doctrine, about history and other things as well.

This Little boy grew older and gained more academic experience as well as knowledge through his church. As a teenager, his activities with other teens were the same as before. They centred around the study of bible, doctrine and history.

One day he got to know a good friend, and this friend talked with him about the Student Christian Movement. He talked about the SCM ecojustice programme and invited him to an event. This was for him an epiphany, a revelation, about a different way of approaching one’s faith, a different way of engaging the bible, a new way of looking at the world and how it is structured. He came to know about new, more transcendental ways to dialogue with others.

That boy wanted to make his way in life as part of the Movement, taking part in the different activities and developing new initiatives as well. From that moment, that boy’s life changed, through formation and the empowerment of exercising his own leadership, and later participating in both local and regional activities.

Yes, after that his life changed, and not only because he was participating in activities and processes within the Federation. He underwent a process of empowerment, of leadership development, of conceptual learning, of awareness of various struggles: the struggles for land, those of the gender-diverse community, and so many other struggles which people face in Latin America particularly.

And that is what the WSCF does, it transforms lives. It makes us believe in ourselves, makes us want to equip ourselves to go out into this world filled with inequality and injustice with a stubborn hope that we can do something. WSCF challenges us to engage the reality of this world believing that we can transform it, believing that the slogan “Another world is possible” is not just a slogan, but a dream that can become a reality. To be part of the WSCF is to believe in utopias, and as Eduardo Galeano has said: Utopia helps us to keep walking the path. And this walking is much easier when we are together as a Federation.

The child in the preceding story is me, but even though these were my own experiences, they are also experiences shared by many young people in Latin America and around the world for whom WSCF has been an opportunity to change their lives, an opportunity to feel oneself part of something larger. People whose lives have been impacted by the history of the WSCF, whose struggles have been undertaken using the spaces for dialogue and empowerment they developed in the WSCF. People who are emerging as leaders and have important roles in our region.

The Latin American region, historically impoverished, plundered and dominated, has a history of resilience which WSCF has accompanied. In the midst of dictatorships, imperialism and neoliberalism there has always been the voice of the Federation, many times coming from members forced into hiding, but always a strong voice which has accomplished a great deal in our societies in the region.

And there is still much to do. Hope continues to be reborn in each Movement, in each young person. We keep on believing, walking the path, celebrating. Long live the WSCF! Long live the young people who resist! Long live the struggles of our people!