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Historic U.S. Student Christian Movement
to be reborn October 8-11 at Morehouse
 

Atlanta, July 21, 2010 -- The U.S. Student Christian Movement (SCM), which has lain dormant for more than 40 years, will be reborn October 8-11 at a historic gathering at Morehouse College in Atlanta. 

The organization, called the University Christian Movement in the U.S. was known for its witness for civil rights and peace in the first half of the 20th century. The group voted itself out of existence four decades ago as its members turned to other forms of Christian activism. 

But sensing a growing need for new structures to respond to moral and social crises today, students have been gathering in campus chapters of the SCM around the country. In October, student representatives from seminaries, colleges, universities and current SCM USA chapters will gather here to launch a national SCM movement. 

"Students will come together to discuss how they will collectively put their faith into action towards progressive Christian concerns," said Luciano Kovacs, North America Regional Secretary of the World Student Christian Federation.

"SCM USA will provide the coordination of ecumenical student activities in the U.S., and subsequently connect U.S. students with the rest of the global federation." 

The theme of the gathering is, "Overcoming Violence: Encountering the Past, Engaging the Present, Empowering the Future." 

Momentum for the event began in January 2009 the World Student Christian Federation held a regional conference and consultation in San Francisco called "Raising New Prophets, Arising of a Movement." That event marked the official launch of the newly recreated North American Region of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF-NA) and spearheaded the formation of a Steering Committee that was tasked to lead the building of a new Student Christian Movement (SCM) USA. 

Historically, Student Christian Movements have been deeply involved in enabling young Christians to respond to crisis and current events from the basis of their faith. These responses have played a part in the confessing church in Germany during the Second World War, in the formation and action of churches and students Christians during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950ís and 60ís, and today in the response to issues of oppression, devastation, injustice, war and homophobia.  

Current leaders of the ecumenical movement recognize the debt they owe to the Student Christian Movement. The rich legacy has fostered nascent leadership for over 100 years, including the involvement of such figures as Martin Luther King Jr. and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 

"Students have struggled, and sometimes even died, to build a movement that follows the radical life of Jesus Christ," said Alice Hageman, an alumni and co-chair for the US trustees of the World Students Christian Federation. "It is they who paved the way."

The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) is a network of more than 100 national movements in every region of the world. Founded in 1895, the WSCF was a precursor to the World Council of Churches (WCC) and now has advisory status with the WCC as well as consultative status with the United Nations and UNESCO. 

The Student Christian Movement of the United States of America (SCM-USA), founded in solidarity with the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), is a student-led, grassroots organization rooted in Christ which actively seeks justice and peace, speaks truth to power, and works to overcome oppression in communities on local, national and global levels by empowering students and young people to claim their voice, exercise leadership skills, and build transformational networks of relationship.

Registration and other information is available at scmusa.org. or by emailing SCMalerts@gmail.com.

For more information, contact:  Luciano Kovacs, North America Regional Secretary, World Student Christian Federation, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 810, New York, NY 10115, 212-870-2470, wscfna@gmail.com                        


Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 36 member faith groups -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell), pjenks@ncccusa.org

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