Report on National Leadership Training held on 23 March-26 March 2017, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California.

Introduction

The Student Christian Movement-USA is a nascent grassroots ecumenical student movement.

Its commitment to social change and development of young people through critical theological reflection and social activism is most concisely found in its Mission Statement: “The Student Christian Movement of the United States of America (SCM-USA), a member of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), is a student-led, ecumenical, grassroots organization, that actively seeks justice and peace, speaks truth to power, and works to end oppression in communities on local, national, and global levels by empowering students and young people to claim their voice, exercise leadership skills, engage in innovative theological reflection, and build transformational networks of relationship in the Church and the wider world.”

The WSCF provides opportunities for ecumenical leadership formation, peace and justice activism and interregional exchanges. The WSCF’s mission is to empower students to be agents in the constructive transformation of the world by providing a space for prayer and celebration, theological reflection, study and analysis of social and cultural processes, and solidarity and action across the boundaries of culture, gender and ethnicity.

Theme of LTP 2017

Resisting Empire

Scriptural Focus: Exodus 32 “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

The SCM-USA Leadership Training Program its focus was on Racial Justice and Indigenous People’s

Rights. The attendees reflected on the intersectional fight of Black Lives Matter and the

Native/Indigenous Movement that has been unfolding worldwide for the past 4 years. Attendees heard issues people living in USA are facing and examined how they can resist the empire in their vocation, studies, analysis, and move forward with the tools gained to engage in movement building through SCM-USA in their region. The training was a time to hear from each other and leaders in the Bay Area, who presented workshops on what resisting empire looks like on the ground, committing to doing same, and calling others to resist.


Objectives of LTP 2017

  • To introduce the work of SCM to participants and provide resources for them to commit to bring an SCM chapter to their region
  • To provide current SCM leaders with training on sustaining/re-igniting the movement on their campus and community
  • To engage participants in discussion on the theme and analyzing its impact in their region
  • To worship amongst a diverse family of God through musical worship and studying scripture
  • To help participants develop their next “faithful step” post-LTP with resources and connections with the SCM/WSCF network of leaders and senior friends
  • To share resources with participants on organizing and leading their community in discussions on racial justice
  • To provide a time for participants to hear from God through individual reflection and communal engagement

 

Sessions

LTP 2017 had numerous sessions. All sessions went well and what they had in common was to lecture participants on how to recognize any empire you live in and how you should resist. To resist an empire there is basic knowledge that you have to acquire like social, economic, political, religious,….Participants were encouraged to resist and lead others to seek justice and love.


Examples of sessions:

  1. Welcome note and 122 years of resistance of the Pacific School of Religions by PSR President David Vasquez-levy
  2. Welcome to the World by Yvette Mukagaju, WSCF Africa region representative
  3. Resisting empire here and now by Jakada Imani
  4. God empire and Capitalism by Dr Filipe Maia
  5. Faith-Rooted community organizing by the interfaith movement for human integrity
  6. Passion, purpose and power for change by Leslie leasure and Mahsea Evans
  7. Facilitating meetings and Movements by Lisa Smith
  8. Faith and Resisting Empire by Rev Dr Dorsey Bake
  9. Senior Friends and SCM Fellowship and reception by Diana Cruz celis from Colombia, Elizabeth Rueda Herrea and Zaya Kuyena from SCM USA and SCM Canada
  10. Bible study by Peter Haresnape
  11. Theater of the oppressed: Rehearsal for the revolution by Jiwon Chung 12. Liturgical Direct Action by Xan West and Cherry Murphy
  12. A presentation by Rana Khoury, SCM Lebanon.


Participants

The leadership conference was an intergenerational and inter regional event where participants of various intersecting identities interacted with SCM USA members and WSCF/SCM Senior Friends and other partners on issues surrounding global organizing and movement building.


Acknowledgements

We acknowledge WSCF/North America for having organized such training, it is for sure a good occasion for senior friends, young adults and students to discuss issues going on around the world. We acknowledge WSCF Africa region for having chosen us to represent the region, it was a great honor and pleasure, and we learned a lot from the training.


Prepared by: Yvette Izabayo Mukagaju

MESSORWA Rwanda

WSCF – Africa Regional Office
AACC – Ibiam House, 4th Floor, Waiyaki Way – Westlands
Website : www.wscf-africa.org