Australian Student Christian Movement
active – open – critical – ecumenical
Welcome to 2020
Upcoming ASCM and WSCF events
30 March: Victorian SCM discussion on climate change
The first SCM discussion meeting/bible study for 2020 will be held at Zak Hanyn’s apartment on Monday, 30 March from 6:30 p.m.
The topic will be ‘Climate Change’. We will be assisted in this discussion by Professor Peter Rayner (University of Melbourne) and the Rev. Dr. Morag Logan (Interim Chaplain at the University of Melbourne).
This will be our usual informal discussion following a shared meal.
All bookings via the ASCM website.
18 June: Why Stand Up for Social Justice? An Interfaith Conversation (Swinburne University, Melbourne)
An Interfaith Gathering about Social Justice
To connect and converse
Talking and walking together
Searching for Truth and Justice
All bookings via https://trybooking.com/BHRWA
11 July: National Conference – Climate Change: Could it be too late? (Melbourne)
There will be a national day conference in Melbourne on this Saturday, 11 July (to be followed on Sunday, 12 July, with the Annual General Meeting of ASCM).
The focus will be on our responses to Climate Change, under the working title, ‘Climate Change: Could it be too late?’
Please reserve the time and plan to come.
Two speakers have already accepted our invitation speak.
They are Professor Peter Rayner, a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne and the Rev. Glenn Loughrey, a Wiradjuri man and priest at St Oswald’s Anglican Church, Glen Iris.
We will probably be needing offered of accommodation for interstate participants. If you have this need, or can offer hospitality, please contact Sandy Yule (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Regional Committee Meeting postponed
The 23rd Regional Committee Meeting (RCM) of the World Student Christian Federation Asia Pacific was due to be held in Lake Toba, Indonesia, on 13-18 March 2020. Because of concerns about coronavirus, the RCM has been postponed, with a new date yet to be set - although the RCM needs to meet before the WSCF General Assembly.
Although the forthcoming General Assembly and senior friends' gathering in June in Berlin, Germany, has not yet been postponed, WSCF Officers recently sent a communication to SCMs asking for prayer that the coronavirus situation will be contained by June to avoid travel restrictions and potential complications.
ASCM environmental policy
ASCM wants to hear from YOU!
At our recent national executive Skype meeting in February, we decided to develop an environmental policy. This policy may include our position on global warming and concrete steps we can take as an organisation to reduce our environmental impact.
We want to hear from our students and senior friends about what you think the policy should include. Here are some of the questions we'll be considering:
What should our theological position be on the environment?
What should our theological position be on global warming and climate change?
What should our position in general be on the environment, global warming and climate change?
What practical steps can we take to reduce our environmental impact in areas like travel, food, technology, lobbying and information sharing? If we offset, what principles should guide our decisions about offsetting?
Send your ideas to email@example.com.
Opinion and reflection
From a sermon preached by Queensland SCM Friend Ray Barraclough.
While we Western Christians seem to be preoccupied with our individualistic faith, Orthodox Christians – Greek, Russian, Serbian – as well as those drawn to Celtic and Franciscan Christianity, have a much wider vision of God’s transfiguring presence and activity. They celebrate God’s promise of transfiguration of the universe…And that is a process continuous with now.
An inspiring source for that theology can be found in the Christian scriptures, especially in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Let me quote the pertinent – one could even say the ‘purple’ – passage found in Romans 8:19ff.
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God…in hope that the creation will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Here Paul daringly speaks about Nature using anthropomorphic language. That is, he refers to the earth as having consciousness. He declares that the earth ‘waits with eager longing’. He speaks of it having a will and experiencing freedom.
What Paul dares to say is that the destiny of the natural world is inextricably bound up with the existence of humanity. Or to say that again and backwards: the destiny of humanity is inextricably bound with the existence of the wider natural world. In our present era, it has been the initiative of the international Green Movement that has caused this biblical passage, and this theology, to be welcomed into the Western Church.
Have you noticed how the services in Anglican Prayer Books over the last 45 years have changed to include more and more ‘ecological theology’. The old Book of Common Prayer scarcely said a word about it. But now, even in the Great Thanksgiving in the eucharist, at last and at least, it has been given a voice.
But there is a much stronger recognition of St Paul’s ‘purple passage’ in Thanksgiving 5:
We thank you for this world of wonder and delight,
You have given it to us to care for,
so that all your creatures may enjoy its bounty. - Thanksgiving 5, p. 139.
Our liturgies are not neutral as regards our obligation to our environment. In the Fourth Great Thanksgiving these words are said in addressing God: You have given us this earth to care for… (p.136) So we are called as Christians to share in the transfiguration of the earth, not its disfigurement. The debate about climate change, which sadly divides both our nation and the USA (but not, let it be noted, the UK or Europe) is also a theological issue.
And we as carers of the earth are implicated in responding to changing climate, whether we like it or not. Whether we wish to do something about it or do nothing about it. Either way – what does our theology say about how we are to care for this gift, for the earth is that - a gift. We don’t own it, or possess it. As carers of the earth surely we are also to be custodians!
Transfiguration is tied in with the destiny of the Amazon Rainforest, with land-clearing in Queensland (Clearing the land for how long?), with the tensions between ongoing urban expansion in Australian cities (and the Gold and Sunshine Coast) and living habitats for flora and fauna.
He whose Transfiguration we celebrate was certainly one who catalysed transfiguration in human experience. And his words from the gospels about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field being clothed and fed in God’s care for the creatures of the earth – they are from the same environmental song sheet that Paul sings.
Meet an SCMer
My name is Yixin, I am a third-year psychology student in ANU. I am from Taiyuan, China and have studied in China, Singapore and Australia.
I grew up with a non-religious background where there were no Christians in my neighbourhood. My journey with Christ started from secondary school, when my best friend in Singapore was a Christian. I slowly transformed from going to church with my friend for free food to going to church because I wanted to learn more about Christianity. My own personal self-actualisation has guided me to help more people who come from non-religious backgrounds to get to know Christ. I also work as a student leader in ANU as the president of Christian Students Uniting Club, as well as helping as a volunteer in Young Life Australia. I have also been nominated as a church councillor at Canberra City Uniting Church. All the volunteering roles I am doing currently are because I want those kids or students to find Jesus' love in me. I see myself as an ambassador of Christ and I hope what I do could tell the students/teenagers from a nonreligious background that there is someone there who is willing to help them with no cost but just because of the love of Christ.
My mission is to find more potential members of ASCM but I would like to have a special focus on tertiary and high school students. It is my pleasure to meet you all here!
We want to hear from you
Do you have news about friends of ASCM and WSCF or other items of interest? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.