The Student Christian Movement (SCM) have reported another record turnout at their annual conference. The rise in participation in SCM has been linked to the growth in both student activism and politically radical Christianity.
Students from across Britain gathered in York for the weekend gathering, entitled ‘With all your mind’.
They explored the relationship between faith and academic study, and the value of time spent at university amidst the ongoing debate about higher education funding.
The keynote speaker was mathematician, teacher and author Kester Brewin. Through a re-telling of the parable of the prodigal son, he challenged students to be “wasting time while you have it” to decide what they will do when they leave university. He encouraged them to change the world rather than conform to it.
Charlotte Gibson, a student at the University of Birmingham said, "At a time when university fees are continually rising, it was inspiring to listen to someone who still believes that higher education serves more of a purpose than economic growth”.
Workshops on offer included “Why should a Christian be a scientist?”, “Practical theology”, “Liberating education”, “The arms trade and your university’, ‘Disability and education’ and ‘The struggle for higher education’s future’
"The workshop on higher education reiterated that the changes to university funding will restrict access,” explained Bangor student Paul Parker. He constrasted this with "the inclusivity of the Gospel", which SCM seeks to model.
“As a student and as a Christian, I see the rigours of my degree as part of my worship; loving God with all of my mind," explained Parker, "Those who wish to pursue academic study should be supported to do so, irrespective of social or economic background.”
The conference also featured a "scratch university" at which students had the opportunity to run short workshops and discussions on topics including Christian hospitality, hand massage, film making and essay writing.