On living out faith

through politics



What creative things do

you do to deepen your





Revd Dan Woodhouse





How can we be truly

inclusive in our activism?





NEWS 6-8







The co-Leader of the Green Party

shares his thoughts on living out

faith through politics.




A re-reading of the Parable of the

Workers in the Vineyard.


How can gentle and beautiful

activism create a more gentle and

beautiful world?






Find out what the new campaigns

focus will be for the coming year.




Paul Northup explores Greenbelt’s

long history of activism.








FAITH? 25-26




JESUS? 27-28

Revd Dan Woodhouse reflects.




ALITY 30-33

Dr Kat Gupta on how we can make

our activism truly inclusive.




Advice on building friendships

and maintaining relationships at





We asked students to share their

experience of activism.


2 MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158


Welcome to Issue 158 of

Movement magazine! In this

issue we’re taking a look at the

ways that we put our faith into

action to challenge injustice

and enact change. When we

hear the word ‘activism’ most of us will think of protest

marches and placards, but in reality activism is much

more than that.

On page 19 we take a look at the gentle, beautiful activism

which is craftivism, and on page 37 three students share their

experience of putting their faith into action through different

methods of activism. Inside you’ll also find details of our newest

campaign around Student Mental Health, as well as a guest

feature from Greenbelt.

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of The Green Party, reflects on how

his faith informs his politics in our interview on page 12, and

Revd Dan Woodhouse explores what activists can learn from

Jesus on page 27.

Finally, this is my last issue of Movement as Editor, where has

the time gone? It seems hardly any time at all since I took on

this role two years ago. On a more personal note, I wish to

thank the editorial team for bearing with me while I learnt the

ropes of editing Movement. And thank you for reading!




SCM is looking for volunteers to form an editorial group to oversee

the publication of future issues. Do you have ideas for potential

features, or want to hone your skills as an interviewer? Visit the

website to find out more –

If you find it hard to read the printed version

of Movement, we can send it to you in digital

form. Contact

Student Christian Movement

Grays Court, 3 Nursery Road, Edgbaston,

Birmingham, B15 3JX

t: 0121 426 4918





t: 0121 426 4918

Movement is published by the Student Christian

Movement (SCM) and is distributed to all

members, supporters, SCM communities, Link

Churches and Link Chaplaincies.

SCM is a movement of students, past and

present, responding to the call of Jesus to

follow him and show the love of God on

campus, in our communities, and in the world.

We come together as an ecumenical and

inclusive community, fostering unity in diversity

and exploring faith through worship, discussion

and intentional action.

SCM staff: National Coordinator: Hilary Topp,

Operations Manager: Lisa Murphy, Finance and

Communications Officer: Ruth Harvey,

Regional Development Worker (North West):

Rach Collins, SCM Connect Project Worker:

Rob Chivers, Regional Development Worker

(North East): Emma Temple, Administration

Assistant: Callum Fisher.

Editorial Team: Gemma King, Robin Hanford,

Ruth Harvey and Lisa Murphy.

The views expressed in Movement magazine are

those of the particular authors and should not be

taken to be the policy of the Student Christian

Movement. Acceptance of advertisements does

not constitute an endorsement by the Student

Christian Movement.

ISSN 0306-980X

SCM is a registered charity in England and

Wales, number 1125640, and in Scotland,

number SC048506

© 2018 Student Christian Movement

Design: &






22-23 OCTOBER 2018

SCM’s annual training course for

all those working with students,

including church leaders, chaplains,

student workers and volunteers.

Learn new skills, share ideas and

be equipped to start or maintain a

student ministry in your church or






26-28 OCTOBER 2018

Join with students from around

the North East and Yorkshire for a

weekend in Leeds, exploring how

faith should and does impact our

lives. On the Saturday we will join

with Project Bonheoffer for their

‘Faith in Political Action Today’

conference, with guest speaker Dr

Jennifer McBride, President of the

International Bonhoeffer Society.

Also featuring food from the Real

Junk Food Project Cafe, worship,

workshops and time to get to know

other students.



17 FEBRUARY 2019

SCM invites you all to join us in

celebrating the 2019 Universal Day

of Prayer for Students. You can

download a pack of resources from

the SCM website at www.movement. The resource

pack includes reflections, all age

worship ideas and intercessions that

can be used with your group or in

your church service.

If your church or group is planning

a service or activity to mark the day

please let us know via our social

media channels using the hashtag






4 MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158




Students from across the country

gathered in Glasgow over the

weekend of 9th – 11th March to

explore themes of forgiveness,

peace and reconciliation. Twentyfive

students made the journey

to Glasgow, including hardcore

students from SCM Southampton

who travelled overnight to take

part in the weekend, which was

organised and hosted by SCM


On Saturday morning we began

with a talk from David Kenvyn, who

was heavily involved in the antiapartheid

movement. It was a funny

and sometimes moving account of

years of committed activism, and

many participants had questions for

David during the coffee break.

After lunch SCM Glasgow led

a bible study called ‘First Be

Reconciled’ looking at Matthew

5:21-26, which led to interesting

discussions regarding how we

deal with righteous anger and

how to have healthy conflict.

Later that afternoon Jo Russell,

a psychotherapist specialising

in gender, sexual and relational

diversity, led a workshop on


The final session of the day was

a look at the role of forgiveness

in Judaism, led by Rabbi Kate

Briggs, a Reform Rabbi and NHS

chaplain. At the end of a very full

day, Lancaster SCM led a compline

service before students retired

to their sleeping bags. The next

morning students joined Wellington

Church for their morning service

before making the journey home.

Thanks go to Wellington Church

and members of SCM Glasgow for

hosting the event!



At the end of July, many of the

current members of SCM’s General

Council (GC) came to the end

of their term of office. We said

goodbye to Caitlin Wakefield,

Freddie Alexander, Gemma King,

Ross Jesmont, Sarah Derbyshire

and Simone Ramacci, all of whom

had served as members of GC for

two years.

Since being elected two years ago

they have guided the movement

forward, instigating projects

such as SCM Connect, reviewing

the strategy and vision for the

movement and having often

difficult conversations about SCM’s


Stepping into the gap we have a

new board of trustees who took

up office on the 1st August. Alex

Akhurst, Emilia de Luca, Feylyn

Lewis, Helena Ripley and Tristan

Marris join GC along with Robin

Hanford who starts the second year

of his term.

Feylyn Lewis, taking up the Black

and Minority Ethnic Students’ Rep

portfolio, said, “I want to cultivate

a deepened spirit of inclusiveness

in SCM, and that work must truly

begin within the leadership of SCM.

Furthermore, it’s important to me

to see SCM thrive as a sustainable

organisation for many years to






SCM attended both of the Big

Church Day Out weekends this year

to spread the word about SCM and

reach out to young people heading

to university this September. Rob,

the SCM Connect Project Worker,

along with volunteers Josh and

Curtis from Newman Christian

Union, travelled the country loaded

with goody bags full of useful

resources to give away.

Over both weekends, Rob, Josh

and Curtis had many conversations

with young people preparing for

university as well as churches,

and parents, looking for ways to

support students as they make the

transition to university.

Reflecting on the events, Rob

said, “We had many conversations

with people who felt like there

was much more to discover about

their faith. They were looking for

a place where they felt able to

explore some of these questions

more deeply or put their faith in to

action in some way. I felt a longing

from people I spoke to for more

than a society to attach their name

to; they wanted to be a part of

something that they would grow

and flourish in.”

If you would like to find out more

about the SCM Connect project,

you can get in touch with Rob by




In February we were sad to say

goodbye to Lizzie Gawen, SCM’s

Groups Worker, after six years with

the movement, and in April we

said farewell to Simon Densham

who had joined the team as

maternity cover for SCM’s National

Coordinator. Jen Nicholas, our

Fundraising and Communications

Officer also left for pastures new

in August. We wish Lizzie, Simon

and Jen all the best in their new

ventures and thank them for their

contribution to SCM.

In May we welcomed two new

staff to the team as part of our

Regionalisation Project. Emma

Temple took up the post of

Regional Development Worker, and

Callum Fisher joined the team as

Administration Assistant. Working

alongside Rach Collins who is

based in the North West, Emma

will be supporting SCM’s members,

communities, Link Churches and

Link Chaplaincies in the North East

and Yorkshire, and will also be the

lead project worker for the Faith in

Action project.

Both appointments were made

possible thanks to generous

support from Project Bonhoeffer.


MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158




John-Sargeant / Greenbelt





Another dry-ish and wonderful

August bank holiday weekend at

Greenbelt festival is over, with

staff and volunteers braving the

unpredictable weather to tell festival

goers all about SCM.

At the SCM stall there were

numerous conversations with new

students who each received a goody

bag with the second edition of

SCM’s Going to Uni guide. We also

caught up with former SCM trustees

and Friends who shared their stories

of their time with the movement.

Along with our friends at Winchester

University we ran a ‘Going to

Uni’ panel discussion for young

people on Saturday evening, with

questions from participants covering

everything from how to make

friends to navigating student culture.

We also held a ‘Student Meet Up’

in the Jesus Arms each evening,

and all thoroughly enjoyed Beer and

Hymns on the Monday afternoon!

It was a pleasure to exhibit at

Greenbelt and meet and resource

so many others who are just

as passionate about justice,

community, inclusion and faith.

Thanks to the Greenbelt organisers

for a brilliant festival, to the eight

SCM students who volunteered with

us and to every one of you that

came to say hello!

During 2018 Lancaster SCM has been meeting regularly

on a twice monthly basis to share in fellowship and lots of

tea. We’ve run Bible Studies and had workshops from our

Regional Worker Rach, and we also attended a talk by Terry


We’ve also been getting involved in the national movement

and attended the Gifts of Grace gathering and SCM AGM

in Glasgow - all of our regular attendees made it which we

were very proud of! We have also been exploring links with

other groups on campus through our existing contacts,

such as Green Lancaster (associated with the Students

Union), the Quakers and Liminal, an LGBTQIA+ faith group

that meets in the Chaplaincy.

The new academic year holds lots of potential for Lancaster

SCM and we are looking forward to getting stuck into some

campaigning work. A campaign focusing on recycling on

campus has been motivating us during the summer term,

and we hope to properly launch this in the new academic



This past academic year has been the first that York Christian

Focus has been in full operation! Rest assured, we’ve been

up to lots since we last appeared in this magazine. Some

highlights include a workshop on Bible stories and the

impacts of healing, a pilgrimage to Selby Abbey, a talk from

the Dean of York (who is now Bishop of Bristol!) and mindful

colouring film nights!

One of the important aspects of what we do is to encourage

open discussion that allows people to explore questions

related to faith. We’ve run a student-led discussion with the

topics being picked at random out of a (metaphorical) hat,

covering a range of topics from the theology of superheroes

to whether Jesus is truly without sin. It was so successful we

have another one planned for the upcoming term.

Over the next year Christian Focus has lots of plans to

help show the diversity of our different faiths, including an

‘Ask a Priest’ event where we intend to get ministers from

different churches to answer questions. We are hoping

this will highlight the diversity of Christian traditions whilst

also showing that we are all united through a set of core

beliefs. Of course, alongside all this we will be continuing the

Christian Focus tradition of drinking lots of squash and eating

far too much cake!




MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158




SCM’s model of engagement with the Christian faith led us to

sign up as a Link Chaplaincy as it allows students to engage

with difference while at university, celebrate with those who

identify differently and respond with a measured, positive

expression of their faith that builds them up for living in a

diverse world. All of these things are important to me and are

things that I try to do in my chaplaincy work and life.

Over the past year we’ve been doing lots of activities with

the wider college community. For example, we have taken

staff and students to a community Iftar to break the fast with

a local group of Muslims during Ramadan, and we also raised

the rainbow flag on campus during LGBT History Month. I

joined staff and students at the flagpole and offered short

prayers and a blessing.

I have also joined with colleagues in the university to reach

out to students during January, and we attempted to replace

‘Blue Monday’ with ‘Brew Monday’, an opportunity to get out

of lecture rooms, meet others over a hot brew and discuss

mental health.




Last academic year we had a twofold aim: to build a positive

relationship with the Islamic Society on campus and to raise

money for a good cause. We realised that there was a view

that Christians and Muslims cannot work together for good,

and we set out to challenge this stereotype to run a joint

fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support.

We planned and delivered a jampacked week of fundraising

events, including bake sales, raffles and even face painting! On

the final day we had a closing ceremony with entertainment,

including speakers, musicians and magicians. When we as a

group reflected on the event we noticed how much good a

group of individuals can do when we focus on what brings us

together and not what sets us apart.

This reminds me of the commandments Jesus gives us, with

the greatest being to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your

heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And the

second to ‘Love your Neighbour as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:

37-39). With these in mind I’ve realised that if we truly love

God we should love others and work with them to do God’s

amazing works.



SCM Winchester is a new group who meet in the chapel at

the centre of Winchester University’s main campus. We are

still a small group (and a small University) but growing and

very enthusiastic!

In March we ran an Open Mic night with SCM Southampton

to raise money for MIND. It was great fun to see some

new faces and everyone got into the spirit of supporting

the charity, raising £32.38. We had a great range of songs

- everything from Snow Patrol to Elton John and Sara

Bareilles played on the gorgeous chapel piano, some classic

Dylan and even some Russian folk songs, followed by a

good singalong to Amazing Grace.

We’ve also held a discussion with a Pagan Chaplain, a talk

from a Catholic Pilgrim about his experience of the Camino

de Santiago, a relaxing art session and talk about spirituality

and self-expression, and even an evening service of relaxing

Taizé chants and prayers, which helped us to become

centred on God during the final two weeks of term!

This term we’re planning to visit Southampton to get

involved in some of the amazing events they’re putting on

to encourage students there. We’re really excited to keep

deepening faith, seeking justice, celebrating diversity and

pursuing Christian Unity on campus and to see what next

term will bring!




Last term was an eventful one for Durham JAM. We began

the term with a joint meeting with Durham Quaker Society

where we discussed current affairs and what social action

projects our members could do together. We continued this

discussion across the term through our weekly bible studies

on the theme of ‘Justice and Righteousness’, using SCM’s

bible study resources, which have helped us to discern two

campaign focuses for the coming year.

Several of us have joined the intercessions team at one of

our Link Churches, where we also helped run this years’

Christian Aid ‘Big Brekkie’, and we also lead worship termly

in our Methodist Link Church. Our Anglican rep, Maya, and

our Secretary, Tristan, led the bible reflections which is no

small feat on Trinity Sunday! The service also happened to

be on the day of Durham Pride, so there was no absence of

colour in the worship team!

Finally, we ended the term with a reunion event kindly

hosted by St Chad’s College Chaplaincy. We were very

excited to hear about the Guatemalan children’s charity

project being supported by the local Methodist circuit, and

also to welcome SCM’s new Regional Development Worker,

Emma Temple, who we introduced to our members, alumni

and chaplains.


10 MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158




Green Party

Jonathan Bartley studied at the London School of Economics and has been involved in campaigning and

politics since his student days. Founder of the Christian think-tank Ekklesia and drummer in the blues-rock

group The Mustangs, Johnathan is the current co-chair of the Green Party alongside Siân Berry.

Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself? How

would you describe your faith journey?

I grew up in quite an evangelical, charismatic Christian

family, but, like a lot of people I think, I questioned the

faith that I grew up with a lot. Things like Greenbelt were

very important to me, and I used to go quite a lot when I

was younger. I’m descended from Elizabeth Fry who was

a Quaker and Prison Reformer, so that strand comes down

through the family too.

While I was studying at the London School of Economics I

found something called Workshop, an Anabaptist course run

by Noel Moules. For anyone not familiar with Anabaptism,

it’s very committed to equality and social justice, and has

a similar background tradition to Quakerism. Workshop

opened up a whole new world to me in terms of faith. The

things that I wanted to believe made sense, and it gave me

a rationale to believe them. For example, I’m passionately

a proponent of non-violence and Workshop enabled me to

see that within my faith which was amazing.

For me, joining the Green Party is very much an outworking

of my faith. Of course, you don’t have to be Christian to

be in the Green Party, and there are Christians in other

parties too. I’ve realised that there are many different

types of Christianity, and there are different value sets

that people hold as Christians. It’s astonishing that you

can find Christians on both sides of some debates and I

find that really strange, because when I look at Christianity

it’s as much about how you live, in fact more about how

you live, than the doctrines that we hold dear. When we

look at the early church and early Christians, and the

Epistle to Diognetus in the second century, when they are

asked ‘What is a Christian?’, they don’t respond with a

set of beliefs and doctrines, they respond with a set of

behaviours and describe themselves as following ‘the

way’. In the Acts of the Apostles, after the spontaneous

outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the response is

one of collectivising, pooling all they have and giving it to

the poor. And so that is the faith tradition that I find myself

in and following really.

You’ve said before that your faith informs your

politics. Do you think that there is an overlap between

the message of Jesus and the aims of progressive


Yes I think there is. Ghandi, and I’m paraphrasing him

terribly here, said that Christians would be great if they just

followed what Jesus said. Martin Luther King was someone

who did that in his nonviolent direct action. There is a very

strong strand of nonviolent direct action in my faith that I

feel a great affinity with.

In 2003 I wrote a book called The Subversive Manifesto:

Lifting the Lid on God’s Political Agenda, which looked at

the way Jesus took part in nonviolent direct action. Look at

his interplay at the Synagogue at Capernaum where he has

that interaction with a demon - Ched Myers is very good

on this, and he points out that Jesus is calling into question

the authority of the religious and political leaders of the

day, and the Gospel writers notice that he had an authority

that the scribes didn’t have, so this demon manifests and

belittles Jesus and tries to reclaim the authority by saying

‘I know who you are Jesus of Nazareth’. And we know that

it is an attempt to undermine Jesus, but Jesus regains the

authority. And again when he looks closely at both sides of

the coin and answers the question about taxation. There’s

this very strong political strand that runs right the way

though the Gospels, and you can only understand Jesus

as a political figure. When he’s tempted in the desert there

are three temptations to take power, and to bring about a

top-down revolution, and Jesus rejects all three of them.

I wrote another book, Faith and Politics After Christendom:

the Church as a Movement for Anarchy, which traces the

idea of Christians being passionate about social justice

and living ‘the way’ being annexed by political power

by Constantine in the 4th Century. The cross, which

was a symbol of torture and oppression, became under

Constantine a symbol of conquest and righteousness.

And now 1700 years later Christianity takes its place as

an oppressive force within western Europe, and actually

persecutes Christians who don’t see things in the same

way as the church.

12 MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158


I think we need to recover that political edge to Christianity,

not in a top-down way but in a bottom-up way, not in an

oppressing way but in a liberating way, and that’s the

overlap that I see between Christianity and progressive

politics. I’ve seen some wonderful things happening over

the last 20 to 30 years, like the Jubilee Debt Campaign in

the late nineties to cancel debt in the developing world, and

with the Jubilee 2000 coalition when I was working in the

House of Commons then. I saw it having a huge impact on

changing the agenda around how we deal with debt. And

it’s been great to see some very strong Christian voices

around climate change. It’s come up through aid agencies

like Christian Aid very strongly, and they’ve dragged the

churches into the forum as well which is good, getting

churches to think about divesting from fossil fuels.

SCM’s Faith in Action project aims to get students

to think about how they live out their faith, and also

explores Bonhoeffer’s approach to theology. He

famously wrote about the ‘Cost of Discipleship’ saying

that following Jesus requires a huge commitment on

our part. Do you have any words of encouragement for


That’s a challenging question and quite a wide-ranging

question, and I want to be very careful about how I answer

it. I think it is very easy to beat yourself up all the time, and

to aspire to high standards and high ideals.

Underlying ‘the way’ is this gift of grace that for me, and

I speak personally here and people are free to disagree

with me, is that walking the way is an invitation, and it’s

an exciting invitation. And it’s not something that’s saying,

‘you must do this, or you must do that’, but it’s an invitation

that’s saying ‘how far will you go? How much would you

like to do this? Let’s share this exciting journey together.’

And it’s not something we should be beating ourselves up

over when we fail, or if we don’t reach these wonderful

ideals. For Jesus the journey ended in crucifixion, but

Jesus was crucified so that we don’t have to be. And so

he’s saying, ‘come along with me on this journey, let’s

be in this together, let’s be radical and lets be bold and

lets encourage one another to be better and be stronger

and be bolder and more courageous.’. It’s a journey that’s

absolutely surrounded by grace, and when we fall, and we

don’t meet those ideals, when we mess up, which we will,

it’s OK. So that would be my message, see it as something

exciting and something liberating, but let’s not judge each

other when we fail and when we don’t make those ideals

because none of us are going to make them.

Some would be surprised to hear that you once

volunteered with John Major’s leadership campaign in

1995 given that you are now the co-leader of the Green

Party. What attracted you to the Green Party? Where

do you see the Green Party’s place in the current

British political scene?

That thing about Major has been very overegged! I worked

on a cross party basis at the time and someone asked me if I

wanted to get a bit of experience on John Major’s campaign

team, so I did. It was really great experience for six weeks,

and I made the tea. I’ve never been tribal about my politics,

I’ve always thought it is better to work together where we

have a common cause. And I am so far from the Tory party


I found that whole period in the House of Commons very

very dark and very oppressive actually. I quit Westminster

politics and did other things for a while like the think tank

Ekklesia, because I wanted to be campaigning but not in that

Westminster village. And then I had that confrontation with

David Cameron in 2010, by chance. Immediately after that I

took a long hard look at the party manifestos, and I thought

‘I’m going to have to walk the talk, and I’m going to have to

re-engage’. And the Green Party was the obvious place for

me to go, it was the obvious outworking of my values.

In the current political scene, right now, a vote for the Green

Party is the most powerful vote that you can cast, and

the boldest vote that you can make. We have Green Party

councillors on every council, and just having one or two

greens at the table, in the council chamber, in the room,

makes a colossal difference. Green changes everything.

There is a lot that we share with the Labour Party and with

Jeremy Corbyn, but fundamentally, we have a different outlook

on the world, and on the kind of response that we need to the

social crisis, the environmental crisis and the economic crisis.

No one else is really advocating the kind of change we need to

our economy and our society except the Green Party. I’m very

proud of what we do and what we’re standing for.

One of my great sadnesses is to see Labour being willing

sacrifice freedom of movement, and not standing up

against Brexit. We will stand up for a people’s vote on the

final deal because democracy is not a one-off thing, winner

takes all. It’s an ongoing process of engagement. The whole

population is split at the moment, and there needs to be

healing across the country. And that healing is only going

to come with proper engagement, and not with one side

winning and one side losing, and one side imposing their

will on the others. This has got to be an ongoing process

where everyone can be heard, and we’ve got to listen to the

people who voted leave too.

What would you say has been Ekklesia’s greatest

achievement since you helped to found it?

I haven’t been involved for a few years now, since

becoming a Green Party leader, but the biggest substantial

achievement of Ekklesia was helping to shift the narrative

within institutional religion in the right direction, and giving

a voice and a platform to the dissenting voices. There were

groups like the Courage Trust who were an evangelical

LGBTQIA+ affirming group, and when they got kicked out of

the Evangelical Alliance we were able to give them a home

and a voice and draw attention to what was going on. And

at the same time, when those who were involved in peace

churches who were arrested for nonviolent direct action

- groups like the Campaign Against the Arms Trade - we

were able to take these stories and highlight them to the

churches and show them that it was Christians doing this

stuff, and it wasn’t being covered and people didn’t know

about it.

It was about filling a space that no one else was, and saying

that as Christians we can advocate for divestment, for

restorative justice, we can be more radical in our economic

thinking, and that Christians do care about these things.

And it also challenged some very hard-line religious voices

who were doing a lot of damage at the time and had quite

a dark agenda. Providing a counterweight to these voices

was really important.

We’ve noticed that you’ve been tweeting about

veganism recently. Do you think there’s a Christian

case to be made for veganism/vegetarianism?

Yes, unequivocally. There is a very strong Christian case, and

it’s not to stand in judgement or to beat people up about not

Green Party


MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158


eing vegan. Noel Moules who ran Workshop had a great

phrase, he talked about a commitment to live gently, and I

think it’s a lovely phrase.

done about ten albums of original music and we also got to

number two on the Amazon Blues Chart with a single we

did not so long ago.

I think there is a Christian case on several levels, most

particularly regarding animal welfare. You know, stewardship

is such an abused phrase, that phrase of dominion in

Genesis has been so misused historically by the churches

to impose domination, which is wrong. It’s about service,

cultivation and stewardship, and about animal welfare and

about everything flourishing. And there is the imperative

around climate change too. We know what a massive toll

meat eating and the meat industry, and farming practises

in the dairy industry, have on the environment and C02

emissions. There is a strong argument that the biggest

thing that anyone could do if they had to do one thing in

their lives to change their environmental impact and their

carbon footprint, it wouldn’t be to do more recycling but

would be to give up meat and go vegan. We need to take

that seriously.

It’s taken me a long time to get there though! My idea

of a balanced meal was a burger in each hand, I was a

real carnivore! I’m excited about it and encourage others

to go vegan too, but won’t stand in judgement of others.

I’m passionate about it and I’m loving cooking, and really

suddenly I’ve got a new interest in cooking and using spices

and things.

Do you have a signature dish?

Nothing posh, three bean chili. I’ve been experimenting

with the spices and doing something different each time.

In the Green Party we’ve been organising these refugee

dinners in local communities, where people can come and

hear the stories of refugees. I hosted one and made my

best chili yet, and I’m still trying to recreate it!

You somehow manage to find the time to be the

drummer in a blues-rock group, The Mustangs. Are

you and the band working on anything new musically

at the moment?

Yes, we might even be playing at the Green Party

conference in October. We’re doing a lot of festivals, and

we did Glastonbury last year which was great fun. We’ve

We’re constantly writing and, in the summers, doing

festivals. Much less than we used to though, we used to do

about 50 a year but now it’s more like ten!

Do you have a favourite piece of scripture or book of

the Bible?

I think probably Mark’s Gospel is my favourite book. I love

Ched Myers’ commentary on Mark, Binding the Strong

Man, and really recommend it. It’s very radical and brings

the political dimension out so well, and it made me see

Mark in a whole new way.

What was your university experience like? What advice

would you give to today’s students?

I was involved in the Christian Union and had all sorts of run

ins with UCCF. I introduced a rotating chair, so three of us

did it in one year, which was too progressive I think! I don’t

think I lived my student days to the fullest and embraced

them. You don’t miss them until they are gone, and they

just fly by. So, my advice would be to enjoy them, and live

your student days to the full.

If there was a book or a film about your life, what

would it be called?

I Could Have Done That Better. I’m quite a perfectionist,

and I’m always looking back and thinking, ‘that’s what I

should have done.’. I think the reason I’m telling people not

to beat themselves up about things is that I do it to myself

quite a lot!




David McLoughlin, a founder member of the Movement of Christian

Workers, reflects on Jesus as a provocative teacher, re-reading Jesus’

teaching in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Mt 20:1-16) in

it’s original context.

In this parable we have different groups of

workers vying with each other for limited work.

There are day-labourers, some of whom would

have been smallholders trying to supplement

their subsistence living, some landless and

destitute, no longer with the support of extended

family or local community, and some who would

be wandering, strangers to the locals. Any sense

of solidarity and common identity has long gone.

Normally a steward would hire the workers,

as the land-owners tended to live in the new

cities and had little to do with the day to day

running of the estates. But Jesus deliberately

includes the landowner here to make the link

between those at the top of society and those

at the base. The normally invisible elite are here

made present and, as such, accountable. Jesus

heightens the conflict.

16 MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158


The workers are harvesting grapes, and the harvest is

a bumper one. The owner must harvest at the optimum

moment for the fruit and so he goes back again and again

to the marketplace until he has enough labour to bring in

the harvest. The owner offers the first group a denarius - a

reasonable amount for a day’s work, but not generous. It

was enough to keep a small family fed and housed for a

day. When he comes back, he just tells the next group to

go to work and he’ll give them what is right. There is no

negotiation. The next are told to go without any reference to

pay; similarly the last lot for an hour. Throughout the story

the landowner has total control.

The landowner tells his steward to pay the workers in reverse,

but orders him to give them all a denarius rather than a

proportion of the daily wage equivalent to their hours. The

owner is playing with them, it is a gesture of contempt, an

insult implying that those who have worked all day are no

more valuable than those who have worked for an hour. So

shaming is the insult that the workers protest. If they don’t,

then the value of their work in the marketplace is undermined

and they are implicitly accepting his right to pay less the next

time, with disastrous consequences in that economic climate.

Note the owner does not address the group. He makes an

example of one labourer, ‘My friend, I do you no wrong, did

you not agree with me for a denarius?’ This falsely implies a

mutually agreed contract. Then he expels the labourer; ‘Take

what is yours and go’. He is sacked, he will not be hired again.

The seemingly generous boss is revealed as something quite

different: wilful, and manipulative.

He turns to the group and gives his justification, ‘I choose to

give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you’. The

money is now his gift, no longer a wage earned. He says their

complaint is evil in response to his goodness (literally ‘is your

eye evil because I am good?’). He speaks as though the land

is his and he controls its fruit and profit, but the Hebrew Torah

teaches the land is God’s and God alone distributes it to the

people of the land. The Torah demands re-distribution in times

of need and condemns hoarding for profit. Even the denarius

he so generously gives is a subsistence wage.

Read in this way, Jesus’ story takes his listeners into the heart

of the Covenant and its liberating effect. It heightens the

perversion of the covenant by the powerful rich, but it also

shows up the lack of solidarity among the workers themselves

– the rich man can isolate one worker and silence the group’s

initial protest. The debate after Jesus first told this parable in

one of the Galilean villages must have gone on a long time!

Above all, the parables are texts to provoke collective

reflection, renewed imagination, discussion and debate,

starting from the conflicted reality we find ourselves in. Jesus’

life did not offer an alternative based on abstract ethical

demands. It is not a worked out system. But it does provide

some basic principles for an alternative critical practice: the

practice of the reign of Abba, based on a common life of

mutual compassion, forgiveness and engagement. His life

inspired his disciples to prolong the logic of his practice in

the new historical situations they would have to face. The

main reason for the Church to exist is to bear witness to the

possibility of that reconciling practice of Jesus continuing in

the world.

Note again what Jesus is doing in the parable. He is drawing

on the experience of the people, provoking them to see their

world clearly but from a renewed perspective, ‘the kingdom

of God’, and inviting them to become subjects of their own

history. He empowers the exploited and oppressed to reclaim

their history, to see it anew, and to participate in creating it.

There is a danger when we read these texts in Church that we

spiritualise them and tend to take away a personal message,

asking ‘what do they mean for me?’. We miss their essential

provocative nature and their call to renew our collective

vision of a creation under God where all are of equal worth,

and where the distribution of the goods of the earth and the

sharing of them, and solidarity in service, are at the centre

of our collective concern, rather than accumulation for profit

and personal security. Above all, these are texts to provoke

collective reflection, renewed imagination, discussion and

debate, starting from the conflicted reality we find ourselves


David McLoughlin is a Lecturer in Theology and a theological

advisor to CAFOD. He has over 30 years of experience in

training Christian activists.


“If we want our world to be a more beautiful, kind and fair place,

then shouldn’t our activism be more beautiful, kind and fair?”

Sarah Corbett, How to be a Craftivist

Craftivism has gained momentum in recent years

as an alternative form of activism. The term was

first coined by Betsy Greer ( and

has inspired many to take up craftivism in their

campaigning activities.

The main idea behind the movement, as Sarah Corbett

describes in her book How to be a Craftivist, is to

build a form of activism which is slow, intentional,

and nurturing. Corbett was a typical burned-out

activist in desperate need of a new approach when

she discovered craft after buying a cross-stitch kit to

keep her occupied on a train journey. She found that

the slow, methodical stitching and delicate materials

were soothing to her anxious mind, and she wanted

to channel those things into her desire to make the

world a better place.

Craftivism is about aiming to make the changes

we wish to see in the world through gentle nudges

rather than aggressive shoves. It’s about celebrating

the slow, organic nature of creative solutions, and

subverting our society’s obsession with instant,

reactionary change. This is a more gentle, beautiful

activism, which can be used in the journey towards a

more gentle, beautiful world.


MOVEMENT Issue 158

MOVEMENT Issue 158


Does it work?

That would depend on what you mean by ‘work’. There

are obviously some situations where big, bold, loud

messages and actions are needed. Craftivism is not

a replacement for traditional activism, and the aim,

rather than to make all our campaigning gentle and

creative, is to open up paths into the activist world

to people who don’t feel called or able to partake in

traditional forms of protest.

That being said, there are situations and campaigns for

which craftivism works well. The small, slow actions

attract many who wouldn’t otherwise be interested in

activism, and beautiful, intriguing creations catch the

attention of people who usually block out the noise of

protests. In that way, it can be much more effective

than traditional forms of campaigning.

Is it for me?

In short – yes! Craftivism is for everyone. Whether

you’re a regular stitcher or wouldn’t know which way

up to hold a knitting needle, craftivism isn’t aimed at

perfection, and I would recommend everyone to give

it a go. In fact, for people who have never been very

creative or crafty, it can be even more powerful as a

tool for reflection, due to the need to really slow down

and concentrate on the activity. It can be frustrating to

start with, but once you get into it, it is really rewarding.

Equally, if you wouldn’t necessarily see yourself as an

activist, remember that the term can be much broader

than most people realise. Whether you’re making craft

projects to sell for charity, designing something to

inspire people reflect on an issue, or just using craft as

a way of subverting and escaping the hectic nature of

the world around us, craftivism takes many forms and

can be as simple or as involved as you want it to be.

How do I get started?

You’ve decided craftivism is brilliant and you want to

try it out – great! We’ve found a project idea to get you

started, or you could come up with some of your own.

The Craftivist Collective, started by Sarah Corbett, has

loads of good resources online, and you can purchase

ethically produced kits you can craft yourself – there’s

no excuse not to join in the craftivist movement!

Why not try using their suggested footprint craft

project to reflect on SCM’s ‘Loving the Earth’ campaign?

All you need is some fabric cut out into a footprint

shape, a pencil, and a needle and thread – these are

available as a craft kit from www.craftivist-collective.

com, along with detailed instructions if you’re an

absolute beginner (and it includes a free gift!).

Here’s what to do:

1. Write on the footprint any quote that inspires you

to do your bit in taking care of our planet

2. Stitch over the words to create a beautiful,

embroidered reminder to take care of the

environment every day

3. Use the time you spend stitching to reflect on

why you want to be more mindful of your effect

on the environment, and what practical steps you

could take as a result

Once you’ve created your footprint, hang it somewhere

you will see it regularly as a reminder to yourself of

your responsibility to our planet, and of the reflections

you had while you were stitching. And there you go –

welcome to craftivism!


Photos on previous page by Amandine Cornillon (wall painting) and

Emma-Louise Comerford (wool) on Unsplash



Encouraging students to put faith into action through campaigning and social justice

work is a big part of SCM’s vision. We believe faith and justice are inseparable, and

that includes justice for the Earth too! For the past year, SCM’s campaign focus Loving

the Earth has been inspiring members to take action on all things green, and next year

we will be focusing on mental wellbeing too.


Caring for the beautiful creation we’ve been trusted with is so important, now more than ever. As Christians we are called to

speak out to save our God-given home from the irresponsible ways we’ve been abusing the planet. SCM member and former

trustee Caitlin Wakefield wrote a beautiful piece on this in the last issue of Movement – go and check it out!

Here is what’s coming up and what you can do to get involved:

Look out for more green challenge actions coming up from SCM on social media

and in our e-newsletter, In the Loop

Check out the Climate Coalition – SCM is a member of the

coalition and supports the fantastic work they do. Look out for their

#SpeakUp campaign resources on speaking to your MP

about climate change by following them

on twitter @TheCCoalition

Think about reducing your meat

and/or dairy consumption. You can

get inspired and find

out more about how

this helps at www.

Find out about divesting

your church from fossil

fuels with Operation

Noah’s ‘Bright Now’

campaign. Visit

20 MOVEMENT Issue 158 21


Over the years SCM has campaigned on all sorts of topics

such as Tax Justice, Equal Access to university for Asylum

Seekers and Refugees, and hunger in the UK.

For the coming year we’re turning our attention towards

an issue which affects a huge proportion of the student

population, and introducing Mental Wellbeing as our new

campaign focus. According to Student Minds:

“Approximately 29% of students experience clinical levels

of psychological distress, associated with increased risk

of anxiety, depression, substance use and personality

disorders. Universities have, over the past five years,

experienced significant increases in demand for counselling

and disability services.”

It is estimated that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental

health condition at some point in their life, and The Guardian

reported in 2017 that 60% of students say that stress

makes it difficult for them to cope at uni. On top of this, the

Mental Health Foundation reports that mental health issues

disproportionally affect women, disabled people, people of

colour, and the LGBTQIA+ community.

We want to empower students to take action to improve

the mental health provision at their universities, and to get

involved with initiatives to support each other in coping

with mental health at uni. We’ll be supporting Student




Minds’ ‘University Mental Health Day’ in 2019, and we’ll be

continuing to share our health and wellbeing tips with the

hashtag #WorryFreeWednesday. We’ll also be encouraging

members to look at what our faith says about mental health

and looking after our own and each other’s wellbeing

through theological reflection and workshops, so keep your

eyes peeled for those.

Most importantly of all, we’ll be supporting you to run the

campaigns and projects you want to initiate in your SCM

communities, and to get involved locally with projects you

care about around mental wellbeing. If you know of any

groups doing great work around mental health provision, go

along to their events as a group and let them know you

support them. If you see great resources around mental

health campaigning, share them with us on social media.

We’d love to hear from YOU about what you’d like us to

cover with this campaign. SCM is a student-led organisation,

and in order for that to continue to be the case we need you

to take a lead on everything we do. So, if you have any ideas

or suggestions, share them with us through social media,

or get in touch by emailing




to be


rob zs /



SCM has had a presence at Greenbelt Festival for a number of years, and more recently

as an Associate of the festival. We asked Paul Northup, Creative Director, to share

Greenbelt’s journey from a Christian music festival to an event that nurtures activism

and seeks justice.

After its birth in 1974 as a Christian Arts Festival

predominantly featuring Christian music, Greenbelt soon

grew to encompass global justice concerns. Faith, arts and

justice soon became its three-stranded DNA. It was clear

that the festival wasn’t just going to be about creativity

and escape; but that those impulses to imagine and create

different worlds were going to connect resolutely with

empathy and the desire to see a better world for everyone.

This liberation theological view meant that by the time the

1980s arrived, the festival was already deeply connected

with the struggles for human rights in apartheid South

Africa, the Palestinian story and people, and the internal civil

struggles in Nicaragua – to name but three interests. And,

as a result of these connections and concerns, Palestinian

Melkite Priest Elias Chacour from the Galilee, the young

black community leader Caesar Molebatsi from Soweto

in South Africa, and Gustavo Parajon, a Baptist Minister

and civil rights leader from Nicaragua all featured on the

Greenbelt programme. Greenbelt discovered its rootedness

in an interconnected world where God’s people were

struggling for justice. The festival became a platform for

the voiceless, the overlooked; a window into the world for

all those attending.

Jonathon-Watkins / Greenbelt

These concerns for justice and activism grew, and in the

mid-1990s the festival staged a special day event focussed

on the rights of refugees and migrants, Overground, inviting

MOVEMENT Issue 158


ig-named artists such as Lamb, Three Colours Red and

Goldie to perform on the bill to raise awareness. Also in the

1990s, Midnight Oil performed, their lead singer Pete Garrett

being one of the very early voices to raise awareness around

the impact of climate change. “How can we dance / When

our earth is turning / How do we sleep / While our beds

are burning?” Pete would later become a prominent Green

politician in Australia.

It was around this time that Greenbelt also formed a new

partnership with Christian Aid, a partnership that has

endured to this day. Through this relationship the festival

and festivalgoers have learned about the interplay between

campaigning, advocacy and aid, and so developed a mature

understanding of the way in which modern-day aid and

development works. These days, Greenbelt campaigns

jointly with Christian Aid each year on a particular justice

concern in the run-up to, at, and after the festival. At one

stage even the Department for International Development

partnered with the festival, recognising in the Greenbelt

constituency a group of engaged and activist people

committed to making a difference.

In the year 2000, Greenbelt joined forces with Christian Aid

and other agencies to host a special ‘Drop the Debt’ day to

mark and focus on the Jubilee 2000 campaign designed to

write off the debts of the developing world and give those

countries a fresh start. In 2005, the festival had a special

focus on the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign – including

building a giant yellow-brick road onsite!

Other agencies besides Christian Aid – both domestic and

global – have partnered with the festival along the way,

deepening and broadening its sense of justice, advocacy,

activism and campaigning. From working with the Children’s

Society to campaign for the reintroduction of free school

dinners to collaborating with the Flesh and Blood campaign

to record the world record amount of organ and blood donor

pledges at a festival, Greenbelt has sought to embed itself

with a wide range of justice activism.

Today, the festival is committed to dialling up its activist

edge still further – and is consciously focussed on climate

change, UK poverty, migration and Israel-Palestine.

Having mainstreamed its commitments to the human rights

of Palestinians and Israelis through a special three-year

‘It’s Not Just’ campaign and its inclusion and celebration

of LGBTQIA+ contributors and festivalgoers, Greenbelt is

always looking to break new ground as it seeks to follow

after a God whose heart is for justice and the flourishing

of all. Most recently this has led the festival to develop

conscious attention on issues of racial inclusion and justice,

intersectional concerns, and gender justice.

As a creative space, Greenbelt is always restless, never

content to rest on its laurels. It is a festival always seeking to

keep up with the work of God’s Spirit in the world; to seek

the Spirit’s presence out and then to join in. Its commitment

to creativity and the imagination mean that it is not only an

arts festival – celebrating human creativity in all its forms –

but also a justice festival – imagining what it’s like to be in

someone else’s shoes and working to create a better world

for everyone. And in all this, the festival is informed by the

life, teaching and example of Jesus Christ of Nazareth who

came that all might have life in all its fullness.

To find out more about Greenbelt and to book tickets for the

2019 festival ‘Wit and Wisdom’, visit



As part of a blog series on Discipleship, we asked the movement....






“I follow Michael Hardin’s live video

teaching on Facebook and read

Anabaptist theology online, mostly

Ted Grimsrud.”

Social media isn’t necessarily evil, it’s just a tool. We

can use it wisely (or not so wisely!) to help us further our

understanding of God and deepen our relationship with

God (or to waste hours mindlessly scrolling...). Following

theologians, reverends, priests, the Pope(!), authors,

speakers or other Christian friends on Facebook, Twitter

and Instagram can be a great way of interspersing our feed

with bits of nourishment throughout the day, especially

if we’re being mindful of what we’re looking at and even

seeking it out for specific purposes.

We find these people on Twitter in particular really

challenge and deepen our own faiths and remind us that

though the world may be burning, there is still some good

out there: Dr Rachel Mann (@RevRachelMann), Rachel Held

Evans (@rachelheldevans), Jason Chesnut (@CrazyPastor),

Broderick Greer (@BroderickGreer) The Pope (@pontifex),

Father James Martin (@jamesmartinsj), Nadia Bolz-Weber

(@sarcasticluther), Revd Rob Lee (@roblee4), Bernice King

(@berniceking), Congressman John Lewis (@repjohnlewis),

Revd Sally Hitchiner (@SallyHitchiner).



“I lead intercessions at church

sometimes, and I’ve found that just

sitting with the readings and hymns

for the week and physically writing

out the intercessions by hand is a good

contemplative practice for me.”

“Contemplative prayer”

Leading other people in worship means putting in the prep

time ourselves! If you struggle to make the time to read the

Bible or pray and you want to give more of your time to it,

this might be a good option for you. Why not volunteer to

lead a study at your small group?

Contemplation and meditating on the scriptures is a great

way to deepen faith, as it gives you a focus and a longer

period of time in which to really chew the words over and

let them resonate with you deeply. Contemplative prayer is

a great practice that can help focus our mind and connect

with God in a really deep way.


MOVEMENT Issue 158

MOVEMENT Issue 158




“I read books about Celtic spirituality and

mysticism, outside if possible but then I

often get distracted by ducks or trees.”

“When I’m well enough, I read writings

by Roman Catholic female mystics, e.g.

Teresa of Avila. When I’m less well, I

have a “faith journal” with Bible and

saints quotes that I copy out in Disney

font and doodle around/colour in.”

“…making art and playing instruments/


Reading the writings of Christians from a specific time or

tradition, such as the mystics, can be a really helpful way

to get a new and different perspective, or sometimes to put

into words what we think or feel about things that we didn’t

quite have the vocabulary to express previously. If you find

writings that particularly resonate, inspire or challenge you,

lean into them!

Journalling and being creative are excellent ways of

deepening faith. Journalling can help you process your

thoughts and feelings about a situation or a part of the

Bible and also lets you look back over time and see what

you’ve learned or how God has been faithful. Being creative

lets us express a God-given part of ourselves in a way that

brings God glory and is also just enjoyable! It can help us

connect with God in a really unique way.


“I do love a good podcast (Greg Boyd

is my dude).”

“Podcasts!!! I’ve collated a list that

are SCM-values friendly and love

exploring these.”

We’re big fans of podcasts at SCM; not only are there

loads of excellent ones out there, they’re great for people

who don’t have a lot of time to sit and read (or don’t have

the inclination to) as they can be listened to on the go or

whilst doing other things. You can find a list of suggested

podcasts on the SCM blog.


“Asking questions and discussing

ethical issues with friends.”

“…for me there isn’t much that beats

a deep and meaningful chat with a

friend about life and God and just being

excited about it together usually over a

drink or with food, which I think is very


This links back to SCM’s aim of Creating Community, a

key element of deepening faith. We need other people

to bounce ideas off of, discuss the tricky bits of life and

faith and get excited about God with. Why not try to get

involved with your local SCM community at uni for a place

that is inclusive and a safe place to explore faith? You can

find them on SCM Connect –






SCM believes that faith and justice are

inseparable, so how can we follow Jesus’ lead to

change the world? Revd Dan Woodhouse reflects.




MOVEMENT Issue 158

MOVEMENT Issue 158


Students take to the streets to

protest against Italian austerity,

Milan, October 2013.

At the heart of my

activism is my faith

as a Christian, the

example of Christ,

and the Prophets

who walked the earth

before Him. Scripture

teaches us to peacefully

resist evil, to speak

truth to power; always

looking to, and usually

on behalf of, those who

have no voice.

My activism is much like an iceberg. Ninety

percent of what I do is unseen, and the

10%, such as breaking into a BAE Systems

airbase during an attempt to disarm Saudi

planes used for war crimes in Yemen, is

seen and sometimes sensationalised. The

90% is sitting in meetings, talking to MPs,

going on protests, writing letters, talking

to and, most importantly, listening to

people. The 10% is risky and usually the

last resort. Both, however, are subversive

and a danger to those who hold power

and use it unjustly.

At the heart of my activism is my faith as

a Christian, the example of Christ, and the

Prophets who walked the earth before

Him. Scripture teaches us to peacefully

resist evil, to speak truth to power; always

looking to, and usually on behalf of, those

who have no voice.

Going back to the image of the iceberg, I

wonder if the life of Jesus was likely split in

a similar way, with 10% drawing attention

to him but the rest happening in the every

day. The sensational stuff is there, such as

illegally blessing the woman who suffered

from haemorrhaging after she touched

his cloak in the hope of being healed. It

was against religious law, which for Jesus

was the law, for her to be in contact with

others whilst suffering from a bleeding

condition (Matt 9.18-26). Jesus illegally

healed on the sabbath (Mark 3.1-6), and

his disciples illegally picked food to eat

on the sabbath (Mark 2.23-28). This led

to Jesus reminding us that “the Sabbath

is made for humans not humans for the

sabbath.” (Mark 2:27). We might say

‘laws are made for humans not humans

for laws’. So, if a law prevents justice then

it’s just to ignore that law, remembering

that we are justified by God’s law of

peace, love and justice; regardless of any

legal findings of guilty or not guilty.

Then there are the less sensational

things which didn’t find a place in the

scriptures. The simple conversations

with ordinary people which you just know

is what Jesus spent most of his time

doing. We get a sense of this even if it’s

mostly not written. At the end of Matthew

chapter 21, Jesus was not arrested due

to the religious leaders being “afraid of

Eugenio Marongiu /

the crowd” (v46). Jesus’ ministry had

attracted a following, and a crowd of

questioning, unnamed, unremembered,

non-sensationalised, mostly law-abiding

people are a dangerous thing indeed.

This threat is realised in Matthew 16.18

where it is written: “The gates of Hades

will not prevail against the church”,

suggesting that when Christianity moves

proactively against evil, like a battering

ram against a door, it will not stand

against its strength.

Jesus was a threat to the powers of

the world, and those powers set out to

destroy him. People don’t get arrested,

tortured and crucified for just saying

a few nice things. As it was then for

Jesus, so it is now for those who speak

out against injustice. The life and efforts

of an activist have been ridiculed, and

have become easier to dismiss. It might

be that we are perceived as crazy

hippies; idealists who don’t understand

how the world really works. That we are

anarchists, in the derogatory sense of

the word, who would plunge the world

into chaos. Perhaps we are terrorists, or

at least terrorist sympathisers. Enemies

of the state even, as the chair of BAE

Systems once referred to my Quaker

friend Sam and I as. Most commonly of

all, activists don’t change anything, we

waste our time and should ‘get a job’ to

quote many a protest passer-by.

However, I’m encouraged that we are so

despised and slandered. If we were simply

ignored then it would mean we were not

having any effect. The fact is that we are,

we will and we have done. Just think of

the anti-slave trade movement, apartheid

in South Africa, the civil rights movement,

Gandhi, suffrage, or even simple things

like gaining an extra bin so recyclables

would no longer go to landfill. All of these

things came about because of activists.

The great news is that we can all

be activists, though sometimes the

strangest things might put us off. The

problem with only seeing the 10%,

whether that is Jesus’ badass moves

or an activist’s news-worthy actions,

is that it makes activism seem a little

unattainable. Really, activism is about the

thousands of uncredited people who are

willing to do the smallest of things, and to

keep doing them. Movements are made

by the 99%, not the remembered 1%.

Inspiring figures are important but who

did the most to change the U.S. - Martin

Luther King Jr. or the countless masses

who campaigned for change?

So good news and bad news for activists.

The bad news is that the powers of

this world seek to silence activists and

have done a great job of silencing the

church. The good news is that if we all

became an activist, a word that should

be synonymous with Christian, then the

gates of Hades will not overcome.

So I encourage you to join or start a crowd

with a desire to bring about change. For

when we act together for change, the

smallest of moves are a terrifying threat

to the powers of this world.

Revd Dan Woodhouse is a Methodist

Minster, campaigner and antiarms

activist. Follow him on Twitter


Really, activism is

about the thousands of

uncredited people who

are willing to do the

smallest of things, and

to keep doing them.

Movements are made

by the 99%, not the

remembered 1%.

So I encourage you to

join or start a crowd

with a desire to bring

about change. For

when we act together

for change, the

smallest of moves are a

terrifying threat to the

powers of this world.

28 MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158





When we see a situation of injustice and take

action to change it, we can often overlook the

other factors that can lead to the oppression

of some groups in our society. We need to be

intersectional in our approach to truly make a

difference. But what does that mean?

Intersectionality means acknowledging our various experiences,

often in terms of privilege, and how these affect each other. It takes

as a starting point the fact that we have different experiences, and

that these experiences influence and intersect with each other. If

we have a particular experience – for example, being white – we

experience the world as a white person. This risks blinding us to the

experiences and issues faced by people who are not white.

Think of it as being dealt a hand of cards. You have cards for race,

the sex you were assigned at birth, sexuality, trans-cis identity, (dis)

ability, class, education, immigrant status and so on. A few people

get absolutely rubbish hands and a few people have absolutely

amazing hands. Most of us are in the middle – we have a good card

or two and a rubbish card or two, and some others in the middle.

For example, someone might have cards for ‘white’, ‘cis’,

‘male’ and ‘heterosexual’ but a rubbish card for ‘wealth’. What

intersectionality means is that this hypothetical man experiences

his whiteness, cis-ness, masculinity and heterosexuality differently

than someone who has those cards but has a good card for wealth

– his lack of wealth affects these things in different ways. However,

he also has a different experience from someone who has the

same rubbish wealth card but who also has a ‘woman’, ‘queer’,

‘non-white’ and ‘disabled’ card. Intersectionality can account for

complex situations, like poor white men and rich Black women, and

helps us understand that privilege doesn’t occur along simple axes.

It can also help identify areas where people experience multiple

oppressions and how these oppressions interact in complicated,

sometimes unpredictable ways.

30 MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158


A fairly common

experience for

intersectional feminists

is to encounter white, cis,

middle-class, able-bodied

feminists that are telling

them that they should be

focusing on their particular

interpretation of feminism

and leaving race, class,

disability, trans experiences

etc out of it.

The term ‘intersectionality’ was coined by activist and critical race theorist

Kimberlé Crenshaw to better analyse these overlapping, interacting systems

of oppression.

Here’s an example based on Crenshaw’s analyses of the interaction of race

and gender. Let’s say a company decides to sack all its non-white women

workers. Technically, they aren’t being racist – after all, they’re still employing

non-white men. And technically they aren’t being sexist – after all, they’re still

employing white women. However, people who exist in the middle of those

intersections are being discriminated against.

A fairly common experience for intersectional feminists is to encounter white,

cis, middle-class, able-bodied feminists that are telling them that they should

be focusing on their particular interpretation of feminism and leaving race,

class, disability, trans experiences etc out of it. To draw a parallel, it’s a bit

like being told by lefties that “you can have feminism after the revolution”, or

“how dare you accuse us of sexism, it distracts from class war.”.


I am someone who lives in the intersections. In some ways I am enormously

privileged. I am highly educated; when I was growing up my parents could

afford books and they encouraged and valued my education. In other ways, I

am far less so: I am queer, transgender, non-white, born of immigrant parents.

Intersectionality is the only framework I’ve found that can make sense of

these experiences.

Living in such intersections means you can have no heroes. People who are

good on trans issues can disappoint you when it comes to race; people good

on race issues can disappoint you when it comes to sexuality; people good on

LGBTQIA issues can disappoint you when it comes to disability issues.

As a child, I never saw people in the news or on TV or in books who were

like me. As an activist, there are groups that I won’t go near because of their

racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. As a student, I was never taught

by someone with a non-European, non-white background – and when I teach,

I am incredibly aware that this may have been the case for my students. I am

constantly aware of being the only minority in some way in almost any group

I’m in. I am constantly aware that no space is completely safe for me. For me,

intersectionality is a real, visceral thing.


The issue for me is not about putting aside differences, but about how to

react when faced with them – and especially how to react when you’re part

of the system that unthinkingly perpetuates such hierarchies.

For example, I don’t identify as disabled. I am unaware of what it’s like to

navigate society as a disabled person, and if I’m not careful I can unintentionally

hurt people. What I do try to do is be aware of access issues, never speak

on behalf of people with disabilities if someone who actually experiences

such issues is willing to speak, amplify their voices (this can be through

promoting their writing, events or activism, or literally handing someone the

microphone), listen and learn, and learn the etiquette. If I can help without

talking over someone or denying them their voice I will do so. For example, in

tutor training sessions I’ve pointed out access issues because no one else did.

But basically, I take my lead from them.

Whether or not I am a disability ally is not my decision to make – I don’t get

to decide whether I am or not. Instead I try to behave in a way that supports

that group of people without Making It All About Me.

I don’t get this right all the time. I make mistakes and I am called on them.

When this happens, I apologise. I try to always take the criticism on board

and change my behaviour in light of it. When I am criticised it’s often not

particularly personal; it’s because I’ve blundered into something or screwed

up, and so embodied something that hurts people with disabilities. There’s

a balance between being systematically unaware of issues because you

don’t experience them, and using that as an excuse to not learn and educate


Dr Kat Gupta is a lecturer at the University of Roehampton. Their research

interests include corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, digital

humanities, gender, queer theory, language and ideology and language and

politics. They blog at

I am constantly aware of

being the only minority

in some way in almost

any group I’m in. I am

constantly aware that

no space is completely

safe for me. For me,

intersectionality is a real,

visceral thing.

There’s a balance between

being systematically

unaware of issues because

you don’t experience them,

and using that as an

excuse to not learn and

educate yourself.


MOVEMENT Issue 158

MOVEMENT Issue 158




Advice on building friendships and maintaining

relationships at university.

As you get settled into life at uni, you

might notice that your relationships

with those around you begin to change.

There is a chance that your friends from

school drift from your inner circle to

becoming more like acquaintances, and

that your family dynamic shifts slightly

now that you are more independent.

This is all perfectly normal, and our

relationships with those around us are

bound to change as we go through life.

One of the key aspects of any successful

relationship – with family, friends or a

romantic partner - is communication.

Frustrated with family checking in all the

time to make sure you’re eating well? Talk

to them. Feeling left out of a friendship

group because you can’t always meet

up? Talk to them. Wondering where your

relationship with your significant other is

going next? Talk to them!

Building Friendships

Before heading to university, you might

have made a devout promise to keep

in touch with every single one of your

friends; committing to speaking to them

every day, updating them on everything

uni life throws at you, and visiting them

at least once a week. By the time the

end of the first semester rolls around

you might realise that none of this

actually happened. So, what’s the deal

with keeping up friendships from before

uni - is it an impossible task or do we

just need to manage our expectations?

them and having unique life experiences

together. You will also be changing and

growing yourself and you may come to

realise that you have outgrown some of

the friendships you used to have.

But what about the friendships you really

value and want to continue building?

How do you continue to build them?

Firstly, realise that it will require effort. To

keep up good friendships you must really

invest in them. You are going to be very

busy, so keeping in contact with friends

who are equally busy will be tricky.

Making opportunities to spend quality

time with friends will help. Having a set

time which you both try and protect and

prioritise as much as possible is a great

start - this might be a weekly skype call,

or WhatsApp-ing each other during your

favourite TV show. It is also a good idea

to plan in time where you can visit each

other, to meet each other’s new friends

and check out their new city.

As much fun as it will be to stay

connected with old friends, balance this

with realistic expectations. Investing in

maintaining pre-uni friendships does not

mean that you cannot make new friends

too. Join some societies or sports teams

to meet people with similar interests,

and say yes to invites to coffee from

course mates. You might find that you

have more in common with the person

you thought you were least likely to, so

be open to connecting with others.

But what about the

friendships you really

value and want to

continue building?

How do you continue

to build them?

Firstly, realise that it

will require effort.

Let’s start with this; there is no doubt

that the friends we make at school or

college can be friends for life. But at

uni you are almost definitely going to

form some awesome new friendships

too, because you will be spending so

much time with these people, living with

The main reason it is important to be

investing in friendships is simple; it’s

always good to have someone to lean

on, someone to talk to, someone who

knows you deeply and will help you

grow. These friends can be the most

important people in your life. Building

34 MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158


Simon Maage on Unsplash

Sexuality is more

than the act of having

sex with someone.

It’s about who you

are, and who you’re

attracted to and want

to have a relationship

with. Sometimes

these things can be

difficult to figure out,

and it’s OK to have


this kind of friendship is something that

Jesus modelled with his disciples. He

spent time with them, they knew each

other almost as well as family and they

were very committed to each other

(possibly with one exception…). But

these relationships didn’t just happen

- they were built and chiselled and

grown over years and through shared


Sex and Relationships

Everyone will have different experiences

and views about sex, and there are no

prerequisites for sexual relationships.

You may want to wait until you’re

married or in a civil partnership to have

sex, or to have sex with a partner before

making that commitment. You might not

even want to have sex at all, and that’s

fine too!

For Christians, faith is an important

aspect of a person’s identity. This

faith is lived out in our relationships

with others, and we try to honour one

another because we are all part of God’s

creation. What role does your faith play

in your decision making? Considering

entering a sexual relationship with

someone is a big decision, so take time

to think things through.

It’s okay to have whatever type of

sexual relationship you choose, so long

as everybody involved is happy, healthy,

consenting and comfortable with the

arrangements you make. Remember,

nobody has the right to ask you to do

something you do not feel comfortable

doing and you should never feel

pressured into doing something which

you do not want to do.


Sexuality is more than the act of having

sex with someone. It’s about who

you are, and who you’re attracted to

and want to have a relationship with.

Sometimes these things can be difficult

to figure out, and it’s OK to have


As it’s such an important part of your

life, it’s a good idea to be familiar and

comfortable with your sexuality. Some

people find it easy to identify their

sexuality and feel comfortable with it,

but that’s not the case for everyone. If

you’re uncertain or unhappy about your

sexuality, it’s important to remember

that you’re not alone.

If you can’t talk to your family or friends

about your sexuality, your GP, university

or Students’ Union should be able to

put you in touch with a counsellor. You

can also find lots of support online, for

example and

The NHS Live Well website has lots

of useful information about sex and

relationships –

You can find more advice for Freshers’ on the SCM blog at

blog and also on the Christian Student Guide site – www.thechristianstudentguide.

com. Freshers can also request a Freshers’ Pack full of useful resources like our Going to

Uni guide by visiting


We asked three SCM members to share their experience

of putting their faith into action through activism.

...through taking direct action

My German hometown was, for a long time, the

site of a large annual Neo-Nazi march, and I was

compelled to join peaceful sit-down blockades to

prevent it from taking place. I joined with thousands

of people that stood in the streets and squares to

directly prevent the march from taking place, even

though this action put us in breach of the law and

at odds with the police. But nevertheless, for a few

years, each February thousands of people decided

to take direct action to stop Neo-Nazis. We all

knowingly risked charges for breaking the laws on

public assembly. In the end, the blockades were

successful. This particular Neo-Nazi march is now

history after it had been happening every year for

over a decade.

The keys to this success were preparation,

community and solidarity. Direct action is hard and

risky. Convincing a large number of people to take

direct action is even harder. Many organisations had

to put their differences aside to organise together

which was important as they provided tools for the

participants to be as prepared as possible. They

encouraged us to form small affinity groups which

would stick together during the blockades. We met

beforehand to talk about our expectations, possible

tricky situations and our personal boundaries. A

member of my affinity group shared that she is

extremely scared of dogs, so we agreed to move

away if there were any police dogs. We also

prepared snacks, songs and activities to keep us

warm and cheerful during the blockade. By sticking

together and respecting each other’s boundaries,

we pulled off a large day long blockade in a wet

winter, managed unpleasant interactions with the

police and later even dealt with charges that were

brought (and then dropped) against some of us.

Direct action makes for spectacular photos and

often makes the news, and therefore it is sometimes

seen as a particularly valuable or heroic form of

activism. But it should not be glorified or elevated

over other forms of activism. Not everybody can,

wants to or should take part in direct action.

There are many different forms of activism which

can go hand in hand and complement each other.

The blockades would not have worked without

the people who wrote press releases, designed

posters, collected signatures, donated to the legal

defence fund, made tea and prayed at vigils in local

churches. The blockades would have been pointless

without the continuous activism that equips youth

workers, schools and sports clubs to work against

the spread of Neo-Nazi ideology, or the researchers

and journalists that help illuminate the networks that

connect right-wing parties and violent Neo-Nazis.

There is a form of activism suitable for everybody.

All are valuable and can work together towards a

common goal.


36 MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158

37 a girlguiding advocate

Since 2016 I have been a member of

Girlguiding’s youth panel, Advocate. We’re a

group of 18 young Girlguiding members from

all over the UK, and we lead the charity’s

campaigns and research. I applied to be an

Advocate because I felt young people weren’t

being listened to, particularly in politics,

and I wanted to do something to change it.

I couldn’t, however, have anticipated what

an incredible platform it would be and the

amazing opportunities it would give me.

I’ve learnt so much: we’ve had workshops on

inclusion and accessibility in campaigning,

digital skills and media training to name

a few. It’s also given me some incredible

opportunities. I’ve rallied for support of our

campaign to end sexual harassment in schools

at the Women’s Equality Party conference, I’ve

spoken on national radio about media sexism,

and I’ve been interviewed on TV about women

in politics. Advocate has also introduced me to

some of the most badass women I could ever

hope to meet and given me a group of truly

great friends.

In October 2017, one of the other Advocates

shared an article to our WhatsApp group

about a British family facing extreme poverty.

We were all furious - the teenage daughter

couldn’t afford menstrual products – so

we called on Girlguiding to take action on

period poverty. Fast forward six months and

Girlguiding is running a national campaign to

end period poverty led by us, the Advocates.

We are calling for the Government to allocate

funding for educational establishments to

provide menstrual products for students

who need them, and we’re encouraging our

young members and our volunteers to talk

openly about periods, to try to end the stigma

surrounding menstruation. As part of the

campaign, we’ve got an ‘end period poverty’

badge, which Girlguiding members can buy

and wear with pride. Plus, there are activities

that Girlguiding groups can do to learn more

about periods, and we’re asking groups to

take action and donate menstrual products

to their local foodbanks. There aren’t many

organisations that would let young people lay

the foundations for national campaigns, and I

feel so proud to be part of one.

For me, activism is a natural part of my faith.

I believe that, as Christians, we are called to

make the world a better and fairer place. I

know what a privilege it is to have a platform

like Advocate, and I find it ridiculously difficult

to express how grateful I am. My two-year

term as an Advocate comes to an end this

autumn, but I feel called and empowered to

continue campaigning after I finish.



War Resisters’ International (WRI) is a global

network of grassroots, antimilitarist and pacifist

organisations, and I work on the Nonviolence

Programme, developing resources, books,

websites, and training. From my first encounter

with WRI, the organisation’s broad, radical

understanding of nonviolence has nourished my

own determination to take action to resist war and

create a more just, more peaceful world.

WRI is committed to using nonviolence to

challenge and resist war and it’s causes, which

means we combine active resistance (such as

direct action or civil disobedience) with dialogue,

non-cooperation (by withdrawing our support

from systems of oppression) and engaging in

constructive work to build alternatives that are

equitable, sustainable, and just.

Nonviolence is a tool that can help us to understand

the root causes of violence and oppression. We

recognise that wars don’t happen in a vacuum and

they are not inevitable, but that complex social,

economic and political systems make war more

likely. Peace researchers have described these

‘invisible’ forms of violence as ‘structural’ and

‘cultural’ violence, that make ‘direct’ violence –

from the home to the battlefield – more likely.

When our economic, social, and political

structures are heavily bent towards supporting

our government’s ability to fight wars, we

describe these structures as ‘militarised’. This is

why WRI describe ourselves as an ‘antimilitarist’

organisation, and why we say we resist war and

it’s causes. For example, members of the WRI

network are often taking action against the arms

trade, a form of economic, or structural, violence

that precipitates war.

In turn, this means that what we mean by

‘nonviolence’ goes far beyond just our physical

actions when we attend a protest or take part in

nonviolent direct action – it means we must do

what we can to avoid mimicking the structural

and cultural violence of a militarised society. This

has profound implications for how we organise

ourselves, our understanding of gender roles

and patriarchy, our movement’s decision-making

structures, and many other elements. What do we

need do to demilitarise our lives, our communities,

and our world?

You can find a whole host of stories,

strategies, and tools for exploring nonviolence

on our website Empowering Nonviolence:


38 MOVEMENT Issue 158 MOVEMENT Issue 158








This commentary is undoubtedly a very

prescient endeavour. Along with the rest

of the world, the church is grappling

with how to be not only more accessible,

but also more radically inclusive for

people with disabilities.

This collection presents a variety

of positive and exciting theologies

of disability without shying away

from difficult Scriptures and the

inevitable complexity of the topic.

It doesn’t whitewash and makes

ample reference to less than flattering

interpretations of the Bible in order

to present a comprehensive picture.

It is not light reading, the tone, as

expected, is academic and technical and

presupposes a robust knowledge of the


My impression is that not only is

the scholarship thorough, but the

methodology is solid to match. They

have looked for scholars who straddle

both disability studies and theology and

the result is equally useful to students

of either discipline. There are a variety

of almost universally progressive

approaches in the essays and each has a

slightly different thematic focus.

The commentary covers the whole of

the Western Canon; a huge amount

to digest and to dip into depending

on personal interest. This kind of

rigorous interrogation of Scripture

enables the development of a positive,

radically inclusive and hospitable

theology of disability that challenges

the preconceptions of, and is resilient to

the attacks of, those who seek division

and exclusivity. As such, and with the

proviso that the text is challenging in

its complexity, I’d recommend it to all

those with an interest in a Christian

response to disability.


I read Things a Bright Girl Can Do by

Sally Nicholls on the train home from my

final SCM General Council Meeting. I

felt that it was a particularly appropriate

book to review for an issue of Movement

where the theme is activism.

It is a Young Adult novel which tells the

story of three young women from different

backgrounds who were involved in the

women’s suffrage campaigns in 1914,

and traces their lives throughout the first

World War in a kind of ‘coming of age’

story. In the novel Nicholls explores the

tensions between militarism and pacifism

both within the suffrage movement and

during wartime.

Overall a great read, I would give it a ten

out of ten.




I am very much not a Pagan. Whenever I

attend Pagan rituals with my girlfriend (who

self-defines as a witch) I am struck by their

beauty and by how difficult I find it to suspend

my rational scepticism. As such there are some

areas of my partner’s faith that I find completely

bizzare and that, as it comes so naturally to her,

she struggles to explain to me. It is very difficult

to translate Pagan faith and ritual for someone

who operates in Christian theological language,

especially for a Christian who operates in the

tradition of Free Christian rational dissent.

Despite the difficulty of this task, I am left in no

doubt that Revd Cudby has done a sterling job

with this book, making every effort not to fall in

to the trap of adopting a comparative approach.

Readers hoping to find simple statements such as

“all Pagans believe…” will be sorely disappointed.

This is a good thing. The book covers what are

widely seen as the most common Neo-Pagan

traditions including Wicca, Druidry, Animism,

Shamanism, and Heathenism. It also finds

the space to address the diversity within these

traditions rather well.

That said this is not a dry academic tome

but rather a book that is engaging as it is

informative. Yes, he makes good use of previous

literature from both Pagan and Christian

sources but this is interspersed with accounts of

his own personal spirituality, and those of people

and Pagan ceremonies that he has encountered.

The author does not shy away from being

honest about his own personal experiences, his

theological positions, and his strongly Church

of England context. This can, at times, lead to a

failure to acknowledge the diversity of theological

positions present in the Christian tradition.

That said, as this is a book about Paganism for

Christians and not Christianity for Pagans.

The Shaken Path: A

Priest’s Exploration of

Modern Pagan Belief and


Revd Paul Cudby


ISBN: 1785355201


The Bible and Disability: A Commentary

Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Sarah J. Melcher (editor)

Sally Nicholls


ISBN: 148130853X (?????)


ISBN: 1783446730

40 MOVEMENT Issue 158

MOVEMENT Issue 158



Undivided: Coming Out,

Becoming Whole, and

Living Free from Shame

Vicky Beeching


ISBN: 0008182140


I’ve been a fan of Vicky Beeching for a long time, since

she was known for being a musician more so than her

media work. I was at Greenbelt just weeks after she

came out as a lesbian, where she received a standing

ovation before she even said anything. I was therefore

excited to read her book, Undivided, and it did not


Undivided is the powerful, real and sometimes raw

account of Beeching having to hide her identity

growing up, and how this experience, and the church,

has damaged her both physically and mentally. It also

explores the Biblical understandings that underpin

how she has come to accept how her identity and her

faith can coexist. She tells of the trials of singleness,

about the times she led worship after someone had

preached hate about who she is, and how things have

changed now. It’s heart breaking to read, but important

to see another’s story and learn from it to see what

change still needs to happen.

Beeching is sticking with the church; her worship

habits have changed but she misses the Pentecostal

worship styles she grew up with and is committed to the

Anglican Church, hoping, praying and campaigning

for a more inclusive future. Interestingly Beeching uses

male pronouns for God in the book - she decided to pick

her battles and hopes that evangelicals may pick up the

book and see, as she has, that the Bible might not be

against same sex relationships like it is often assumed.

It’s not an easy read, but it’s an important one.




2019 marks the 130th anniversary of SCM, and we’re asking our

members and supporters to celebrate with us by taking part in

the 130 Challenge!

We’re looking for 130 people to raise £130 over the course of 2019, raising an

additional £17,000 for our work with students. That would most certainly be a

happy birthday to us!

Will you take part?

We are asking people to sign up and take on a challenge of their choice to raise

£130 for SCM’s work, helping us to create inclusive communities for students across


You could try a sponsored event, such as running a mile a day for 130 days, walking

130,000 steps in 10 days or playing 130 songs on a musical instrument.

Or, you could organise a quiz night or a picnic, donating the proceeds to our cause.

You could even give something up for SCM and donate the money you save - one

less takeaway coffee a week for a year will easily save you £130.

To sign up for the challenge visit


MOVEMENT Issue 158

MOVEMENT Issue 158



student christian movement

Grays Court, 3 Nursery Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3JX

t: 0121 426 4918 e: w:

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