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Christian students gather for 'Prayers of Freedom'

Candlelit service

Candlelit service

More than 200 people from all over the world gathered in Manchester Cathedral on Saturday for a candlelit Taizé service. The service was the highlight of the 'Prayers of Freedom' weekend organised by the Student Christian Movement and the Taizé Community, which brought together nearly 100 students and young adults from more than twelve different counties, many of them studying in Britain. Brother Paolo, a brother of the ecumenical community in France, shared reflections on the meaning of freedom, and encouraged participants to reflect on what they were doing with their freedom.

Participant Matt Bewers said: “This weekend has been spiritually refreshing, helping me to reflect on my life and the lives of those around me – there's never been a dull moment!”

The weekend event included Taizé prayer services, discussions and workshops on creativity, poverty, vocation, and simple living, and a small group volunteering to help clean a house for destitute asylum seekers. The group of students and young adults stayed at St Peter's House Chaplaincy and shared worship space with St Augustine's Catholic Church.

Brother Paolo, reflecting on the weekend and student Christianity more generally said: “In the world of Student Christianity it is so important that people's freedom and integrity are protected – and the Student Christian Movement does that”.

The success of the 'Prayers of Freedom' event is just the latest indication of a growing interest amongst students in a Christian faith that links spirituality, prayer and action for social justice. The SCM conference in February 2010 saw the highest turn out for 20 years, and organisers of the 2011 conference, which will take place from 4-6 February, are hoping for the highest turnout since the 1970s.

The Student Christian Movement is an ecumenical student-led movement passionate about faith and justice.  We bring students together to explore how to live out the Christian faith in today’s world. See:  www.movement.org.uk