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Students explore prayer and action at ecumenical conference

Group picture by Rachael Emerson

Group picture by Rachael Emerson

Catholic students from across the country travelled to Derbyshire at the  weekend (4-6 February) for the annual ecumenical conference of the Student Christian Movement.  The conference, which saw another record turnout, was this year titled: Still Small Voice and explored the theme of prayer and action.

Students heard from key note speakers Revd Dr Ken Leech and Dr Nicola Slee both speaking on the theme of prayer.  Ken, who founded the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, and has written widely on prayer and spirituality, shared some of his journey of faith, citing Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement as key influences on his prayer life, and on its outworking through social action.

Georgie Hewitt, a Catholic student from Manchester, said: "It's been really great to spend time in such an ecumenical environment, where denomination isn't a big part of the weekend, but where we were united as Christians."

There was also an opportunity for students to vote for the campaigns which SCM will run in the next year.  The highest numbers of votes were for campaigns and practical action to fight poverty and homelessness in the UK, as well as to work for greater inclusion in the churches.

Holly McGuigan, a member of SCM's campaigns group said: "I'm really excited that so many people want to engage with campaigns and activism. Jesus' message of peace and justice is at the heart of the gospel and central to SCM's vision of a radical, inclusive and challenging faith."

Workshops on the theme of prayer were also a big part of the weekend, from Christian meditation and Orthodox chanting to Ignatian prayer, as well as opportunities to explore community organising, spiritual activism, mental health and ways of engaging with the Bible.

The Student Christian Movement is an ecumenical student-led movement passionate about faith and justice.  SCM brings students together to explore how to live out the Christian faith in today's world. For more information see: www.movement.org.uk/

(Headline page photo:  prayer candles - Rosie Venner)