Students from across the UK will gather together this coming weekend at the Student Christian Movement‚Äôs annual conference to explore the theme of Reading the Bible - against a backdrop where there is increasing public concern aout the way religious texts are often abused by extreme and fundamentalist movements.
SCM says the event will be celebrating the diversity of approaches to scripture that exist in the Christian tradition, and asking how it is possible to share the Bible‚Äôs good news of hope in a pluralist world.
The conference is taking place in Shropshire from 16 -18 February 2007. The theme has run through all the work done this academic year in the Student Christian Movement network, with workshops, online resources and social action - as part of the 'set all free' campaign to mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the atlantic slave trade.
There will be two keynote speakers: Professor Morna Hooker (a distinguished Methodist scholar who worked on the Revised English Bible) and Professor Lisa Isherwood (Professor of Feminist Liberation Theologies at Winchester). There will also be workshops on storytelling, lectio divina, vocational Bible reading, textual art, scripture in other faith communities, and slavery, with contributors from a wide range of fields and partner organisations.
The Christian think-tank Ekklesia has welcomed the theme of the conference, noting that it is particularly important given "the relative neglect of mature approaches to the Bible in the mainstream culture and the churches".
SCM‚Äôs book on the same theme, published in September 2006, was welcomed by church leaders and theologians including Dr David Deeks, the Rev David Cornick (moderator of the United Reformed Church), Anglican Bishop John Saxbee and Dr John Drane - a specialist on Christian mission in postmodern contexts.
The conference is a key meeting place for all students involved in SCM. Communal worship and student-led small group activities offer many opportunities to create community and build new links between individuals and groups all over the country.
Booking for the event officially ended last week, but there may be some last-minute places available. See www.movement.org.uk/bible  for more on the Reading the Bible theme and conference, or www.movement.org.uk/rtbsample  for the accompanying publication.
The Student Christian Movement is a UK-wide network which seeks to bring together students of all backgrounds to explore the Christian faith in an open-minded and non-judgemental environment. It seeks to promote a vision of Christianity that is inclusive, aware, radical and challenging.
[Available through Ekklesia: Morna D. Hooker, Beginnings: Keys That Open the Gospels; The Signs of a Prophet: Prophetic Actions of Jesus; Endings: Invitations to Discipleship; Lisa Isherwood, The Power of Erotic Celibacy (with Marcella Althaus-Reid).]