SAVE the DATE: WSCF NA Symposium "Glo-cal"
In a nutshell:
What? SCM-USA/WSCF-NA Northeast Regional Symposium on the theme of eco-justice local activism
Where? Presbyterian Church in New York City
When? November 9-10, 2012
Who to Contact? WSCFNA@gmail.com
The “Glo-cal”: Approaching global problems with local solutions.
The Student Christian Movement–USA provides a space for students and young adults to be formed ecumenically, to be trained as leaders to engage in critical thinking on social issues and to reflect theologically from a contextual perspective while affirming liberative and justice-affirming theologies. What is distinct about the SCM is its affiliation to a global ecumenical student movement and its ability to connect local faith based activism with national and global social movements. Moreover, the relationship of SCM to its alumni (Senior Friends) and to other partners is an important tenet of the life of the SCM and of the Federation. The symposium will offer a space for Senior Friends to engage in conversations with students on how to support the work of the SCM in this region.
In an age when communication and the global economy have increasingly coincided with the stock market and technology, the role of the local community and how individuals participate in their surrounding space is becoming increasingly questioned. Yet, even at the extent in which nations are integrated into the global market, local infrastructure and communities have not lost pertinence. Indeed, they continue to be repositories of conscience-raising efforts and venues of resistance to the market ideology. In the midst of the global economic, ecological, and food crises, the importance of the local civic sector has regained its place on the public discourse as the foundation of and structure within a strong national economic, political, and social society.. Recent events of the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movements demonstrate how students and young people are continually at the forefront of new forms of organizing and participatory democracy. The SCM constitutes a potential agent of transformation within the struggle for local justice work. SCM-USA has the ability to foster local activism and community with an eye toward the global community.
With the rise of global free-market capitalism – which continues to deepen and extend the gap between the haves and the have-nots – and the continued destruction of the Earth through unrelenting dependence on fossil fuels the issues of ecological and economic justice seem to be more and more intricately woven together. And so a new approach combining practices of ecological and economic justice (eco-justice) is on the rise and is becoming an increasingly important local organizing tool. The ecumenical community and SCMs around the world have been playing an important role in this process and are very well poised to challenge the spiritual and ethical crisis global capitalism presents to local communities and to the whole world by linking new eco-theologies to an economy of life for the whole planet.
The Theological Foundation
At the heart of working toward justice and social change lies the question of where the organization’s vision and hope for change comes from. The Student Christian Movement-USA is an organization that finds justice most accurately lived out in the life of Jesus Christ. As a national member of the World Student Christian Federation, the pre-convening body to the World Council of Churches, a foundational tenet of these organizations is the work of acting as and embodying the Body of Christ in community and advocacy. It is within and through the life of Jesus Christ and the stories imaged in the Bible that young people today can find the values of justice, forgiveness, and equality and love. This is the project of creating a new culture, of rewriting the narratives that guide our lives and focusing the work on the effort to accurately live out the just Kingdom of God here on Earth.
The 2012 SCM-USA Symposium is a one-day event with three main objectives. First, it is an event providing an opportunity for the SCMs of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and for students from other parts of the Northeast to come together to reflect, connect, share and experience a brief picture of what this work can look like in the Northeast Region of the SCM-USA. Second, the event will engage participants in addressing the issue of eco-justice, one of the major work areas for the WSCF. Speakers will link the theme of Eco-Justice, with other topics such as Racism and Poverty and local organizing. Interspersed between the presentations and speakers will be various breakout sessions where attendees will have conversations with each other focusing on their work, a theological reflection on advocacy (Bible Study) and time to relax. Third, the Symposium will promote intergenerational dialogue between students and Senior Friends. The Symposium will also be a time for Senior Friends and partners to strategize ways to support the growth of SCM in the area.