Newsletter from the Queensland SCM February 2014


A new year starts. Already we encounter good and sad news.

The good news is that our SCM Staff Worker at Griffith University (and GU student) Bart Seaton, has organised an attractive program of SCM sponsored events at GU in first semester.



·         20 March    'Harmony Day'  - Celebrating (and Inviting) our International Students

·         21 March    St Patrick's Delight - IHRH Concert

·         9 April     Pope Francis - getting real. A discussion led by Prof. Gerard Hall (ACU) with attendance of the Chancellor of Griffith University  Dr Leneen Forde. [Dr Forde had previously been Governor of Queensland.]

·         16 April Contemplative Dimensions of the Gospels - an afternoon with Zen master (and Anglican priest) Rev'd Dr Mervyn Lander.

·         21 May   Towards Marriage Equality with Rev Chris Tyack. [Chris is on the staff of St John's Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane.]

The sad news, which comes from the international SCM ( The World Student Christian Fellowship - Asia Pacific Region) is as follows:


It was with utter shock and disbelief that we learnt about the tragic deaths of our comrades from the Indonesia Student Christian Movement (ISCM) and of people living in the Tana karo Regency region of North Sumatra due to the volcanic eruptions of Mount Sinabung.

On that direful day of 1st February, 2014, seven members from the Kutacane branch of ISCM, North Sumatra went to Suka Meriah village in Kabanjahe as part of the ecumenical visit for the refugee programme. The seven members visited the region prior to a bigger group’s visit due on 2nd February, to study the situation in the area. Members from 8 branches of ISCM, North Sumatra, planned to join them on the following day for an emergency relief work in Tana Karo Regency, North Sumatra.

This was to be relief work for the victims of previous volcanic eruptions in the recent past in the refugee shelter nearby and to warn the farmers, who were in the refugee shelter, to refrain from climbing up trees for plucking coffee beans, since the poor farmers continued their work for their livelihood despite the warnings. For the last 3 months all the members of ISCM have been raising funds to help the victims of the volcanic eruption since October 2013. However, while they were within relatively "safe distance" of the volcano, suddenly the volcano erupted, spewing ash and sulphur gas and engulfed the people before they could run away to save their lives.

This incident is certainly a horrific tragedy which claimed 14 lives and many injured and some are in critical conditions. All the seven SCMers from Indonesia on this ecumenical visit were killed!

WSCF AP mourns with the ISCM communities and expresses her heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, friends and their loved ones. This is a great loss not only for the ISCM but for the whole federation, the Church and society to lose these brave young students who had dared to help the victims under hazardous conditions near the volcano.

We thank God for the lives of these seven who died -  Ms. Fitri Napitupulu (Chairperson of Kutacane Branch of Indonesian SCM), Mr. Marudut Sihite (Secretary of Kutacane Branch of ISCM), Mr. Santun Siregar (Board member of Kutacane Branch of ISCM), Mr. Julfandi Siregar (Board member of Kutacane Branch of ISCM), Mr. Daniel Siagian (a member of Kutacane Branch of ISCM), Mr. Asran Lubis (a member of Kutacane Branch of ISCM), and Mr. Mahal Surbakti (Board member of Kabanjahe Branch of ISCM).

They will always remain in our hearts for their bravery and commitment to help the needy and will continue to inspire their fellow SCM'ers. May the departed souls rest in peace and be a driving force for all of us.

With sincere sympathy and solidarity,

Sunita Suna, Regional Secretary – WSCF Asia Pacific               

Note:  Just a couple of years ago I (Ray Barraclough) wrote a book that sought to face such a calamity as this. I entitled it:  WHY - The challenge of giving explanations for tragic experiences in life. If you would like a copy to read, simply reply to this email giving your postal address.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


Ray Barraclough staffed the SCM Stall at the ACU Market Day from 9:00am to 2:00pm on TUESDAY, 25 February, 2014. It was a successful time.


This SCM Newsletter was compiled and sent out by Ray Barraclough - Secretary of the Qld SCM Area Council.