THE MAGAZINE FOR CHRISTIAN STUDENTS
ISSUE 159 SPRING 2019
We catch up with
the Methodist Youth
President. PAGE 12
SPACE TO BREATHE
A guest article from
our campaign partner
by Andy Freeman.
THE IMPORTANCE OF
SELF CARE How can
we take control of
our own wellbeing?
Cut out and keep
affirmations to calm
the mind. PAGE 32
COMING UP 5
GROUP NEWS 9-11
The current Methodist Youth President
shares her thoughts on how we can
be more courageous in our faith.
Intercessions from our resource pack
to help you celebrate Student Sunday
with us in February.
SPACE TO BREATHE
Andy Freeman from Space to Breathe,
our campaigns partner, tells us more
about their work.
FAITH IN ACTION:
WORKING WITH A
OF SELF CARE 23-25
Jo Fitzsimmons of SelfHarm UK gently
reminds us that we are responsible for
our own wellbeing and shares her self
2 MOVEMENT Issue 159
Cut out and keep versions of our
popular #worryfreewednesday posts
on social media.
THE LONG READ:
‘SON OF MARY’
AS A RELEVANT
REVD DR RAJ BHARATH PATTA
Why is the tile ‘Son of Mary’
significant, and how can it inform our
HOW CAN WE
DR. FEYLYN LEWIS
Dr Lewis explores some of the issues
facing young adult carers and discusses
what support we can offer them.
Three SCM members share their views.
MOVEMENT Issue 159
Welcome to Issue 159 of Movement magazine!
The theme of this issue ties into our latest campaign and
takes a look at Mental Wellbeing. You might have seen our
#WorryFreeWednesday posts on our social media channels,
where we share a weekly encouragement to take time to look
after yourself. On page 27 you can find a cut-out-and-keep
version, which is especially handy if you’re taking time away
from social media to focus on exams or assignments.
The guest feature in this issue is from our campaign partners
Space to Breathe on page 19. Andy Freeman tells us more
about how Space to Breathe came about and how they work
with people to enhance their wellbeing. Jo Fitzsimmons of Self
Harm UK gently reminds us that we are responsible for own
wellbeing, and shares her advice for taking care of ourselves
on page 23.
On page 12 you’ll find our interview with Jasmine Yeboah, the
current Methodist Youth President. Jasmine tells us about her
faith journey and how she looks after her mental wellbeing in a
busy and demanding role.
With Student Sunday quickly approaching we’ve included some
intercessions that you can use in your service on page 17, and
inside you’ll also find the usual news and updates from the
Finally, SCM is looking for volunteer editors to oversee the
publication of future issues of Movement magazine. Do
you have ideas for potential features, or want to hone your
skills as an interviewer? Visit the website to find out more –
THE SCM TEAM
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
free to all members, supporters, groups, Link
Churches and affiliated chaplaincies.
SCM is a student-led movement inspired by
Jesus to act for justice and show God’s love in
the world. As a community we come together
to pray, worship and explore faith in an open
and non-judgmental environment.
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, Regional Development Worker
(Scotland): Caitlin Wakefield, Church and
Community Fundraiser: Simon Densham.
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
Charity number 1125640
If you find it hard to read the printed version
of Movement, we can send it to you in digital
form. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2019 Student Christian Movement
morsebrowndesign.co.uk & penguinboy.net
4 MOVEMENT Issue 159
17 FEBRUARY 2019
SCM invites you to join us in
celebrating the 2019 Universal Day
of Prayer for Students, on the theme
of Wondering and Wandering. To
help you plan a service or activity
we’ve put together a pack of
resources including sermon notes,
reflections and prayers written by
students, chaplains and theologians.
To download the pack, visit the SCM
website at www.movement.org.uk/
studentsunday. Let us know if you’re
planning a service via our social
media channels using the hashtag
Come along to our National
Gathering and AGM and join with
students and recent graduates for a
weekend of building community and
deepening faith. We will be joined
by our keynote speaker Amanda
Mukwashi, CEO of Christian Aid
England and Wales, who will be
sharing her experience of prayer and
pilgrimage. Also on the programme
you’ll find a session exploring prayer
from an Orthodox perspective,
workshops on lobbying, late night
worship jamming and a Harry Potter
Bible Study, as well as time to relax
and use the swimming pool!
The AGM is your opportunity to have
your say in how the movement grows
as we celebrate our 130th year,
and members will also elect new
representatives to SCM’s General
Council. This is an event not to be
missed, so book your place today at
13 APRIL 2019
Come and reflect at our day retreat
in Glasgow to prepare for Holy Week.
Known as ‘Lazarus Saturday’ in the
Eastern Orthodox Church, the day
before Palm Sunday has traditionally
been a time of preparation and
contemplation as pilgrims would
weave the palm leaves and crosses
for the following day.
We’ll be thinking about the raising up
of Lazarus – how this prefigures the
resurrection of Jesus, and what this
means for our own lives. The retreat
will be a peaceful and reflective day
with plenty of time for prayer and
meditation. Book your place at www.
SAVE THE DATE!
TO FIND OUT MORE AND TO BOOK,GO TO
MOVEMENT Issue 159
SCM came into being in 1889
as a loose network of students
dedicated to missionary work
overseas. It rapidly broadened its
aims and membership to become
the largest student organisation in
Britain. The values of openness,
inclusiveness, radicalism and an
open and challenging approach to
the Christian faith were as important
in the early days of the movement
as they are now.
In 2019, SCM is celebrating its 130th
year with a series of events and the
launch of the 130 Challenge. Will
you celebrate with us by taking on
a challenge of your choice to raise
£130 for SCM’s work? You could try
a sponsored event, or organise a
quiz night or a picnic, donating the
proceeds to our cause.
Speaking about the challenge,
Simon Densham, SCM’s Church
and Community Fundraiser said,
“Taking part in the 130 Challenge
is a great opportunity for SCM’s
members and supporters to use
their skills and talents to support
the work of the movement. If 130
people raised just £130 each they
could raise an amazing £17,000,
which would allow us to continue
to employ Regional Development
Workers to support the movement
at a grassroots level.”
Some of SCM’s members and
Friends have already signed
up to the challenge and will be
undertaking activities such as
running a 5k race, completing
a cryptic crossword a day for
130 days, and selling handmade
greetings cards. Take a look at the
SCM blog or follow us on social
media to find out how others
are taking part, and for all of the
latest information about events to
celebrate this anniversary.
To sign up for the challenge and
to download a fundraising pack
A WEEKEND OF
In October students gathered
together in Leeds for an exciting
weekend of worship, conferencing
and amazing vegan food at our
Interrupted by God event. At the
start of the weekend participants
shared a meal provided by the
Rainbow Junktion Real Junk Food
Project Café at All Hallows Church
and got to know one another over
On Saturday, students joined the
Faith in Political Action Today
conference organised by Project
Bonhoeffer, SCM’s partner in the
Faith in Action Project. Dr Jennifer
McBride, the keynote speaker,
explored Bonhoeffer’s approach
to discipleship, highlighting that
Bonhoeffer claims that costly grace
demands that we are disciples of,
not simply believers in, Jesus.
She went on to explore how
churches must become places of
hospitality to those most neglected
and rejected by society, reflecting
that by entering into mutually
transformative relationships with
the oppressed in our communities,
we all become embodiments of
6 MOVEMENT Issue 159
hope and may all experience the
grace of God. In the evening,
students took part in a theological
reflection workshop and Compline
was led by Durham Joint Anglican
and Methodist Society.
On Sunday, participants attended
local Link Churches before ending
the weekend by sharing lunch
Reflecting on the event for the
SCM blog, SCM member Hattie
said, “My first SCM weekend has
been a roaring success and I would
highly recommend it to anybody.
It has helped me to develop and
deepen my faith and trying new
styles of worship such as Taizé and
Compline gave me plenty of time to
silently reflect on what is happening
in my life right now. I can safely
say that I made some excellent
friendships and I’m already looking
forward to seeing people at the
next SCM event!”
In November SCM attended the
National Youth Ministry Weekend,
a sold-out conference for those
involved in youth and young adult
ministry organised by Youthscape.
Each participant received a copy
of Movement magazine in their
conference pack, and Rob Chivers,
SCM Connect Project Worker, and
Emilia De Luca, an SCM Trustee,
had lots of exciting conversations
with delegates about how SCM
can support young people in their
transition to university.
In December, SCM held a Student
Ministry Forum hosted by the
University of Warwick Chaplaincy,
providing space for local student
workers to network and discuss
student ministry. The forum
allowed participants from a range
of denominations to share their
experiences and to learn from one
another, and plans began to emerge
for a joint celebration of Student
Sunday in February.
Further Student Ministry Forums are
planned across Britain throughout
the year – to find one near you visit
MOVEMENT Issue 159
Regional Development Workers Rach
Collins (North West) and Emma
Temple (North East and Yorkshire)
to support members, communities,
Link Churches and Link Chaplaincies
in Scotland, and Simon will be
working to build relationships with
In November SCM welcomed two
familiar faces to the staff team.
Simon Densham, who previously
covered our National Coordinator’s
maternity leave, has rejoined the
team as our Church and Community
Fundraiser. Caitlin Wakefield, a
former trustee of SCM, also took up
the post of Regional Development
Worker for Scotland. Caitlin will
be working alongside our other
In February we said goodbye
to Hilary Topp, SCM’s National
Coordinator, after nine and half
years with the movement. Tristan
Marris, Convenor of General Council
and Chair of Trustees said, “Hilary
has led the movement through
the changing landscape of Higher
Education, and SCM has flourished
under her leadership. She will be
greatly missed, and we wish her all
the best for the future.”
8 MOVEMENT Issue 159
Last semester we were focusing on the relationship
between faith and activism – a theme which lies at the
very heart of what SCM does across the country! As part
of this we held a political activism workshop with our local
city councillor Jonathan Pryor. In addition to exploring how
to affect change in the local community, we also had a
workshop on Christianity and Climate Change with Matt
Carmichael, an activist and speaker that regular Greenbelt
attendees might have heard from before.
As well as learning about activism, we also put this
knowledge into practice as we got involved in Interfaith
Week at Leeds, attending such events as “Speed Faithing”
and the Mitsvah Day food drive. This semester, we’re
hoping to be even more active with our work as we turn
our focus towards mental health issues and what we can
do to improve the current mental health situation in the UK.
Alongside learning about and engaging in activism, SCM
Leeds has hosted a number of events, including the
‘Interrupted by God’ weekend in October, where we had
the opportunity to get to know some lovely SCM members
from across the country. 2019 promises to be a good year
for us, as we continue to maintain our usual balance of
activism, reflection and pints down the pub!
Due to a large number of our members graduating over
the summer, or studying abroad this year, we were a little
worried at the start of the year about whether our group
would be able to continue at all! It is for this reason that
we are amazingly grateful that God has sent some more
people our way!
Despite the high turnover, the team is just as active and
focused as last year. Last semester we have taken it in
turns to run our meetings, and the subjects and formats of
these evenings have ranged from a discussion on what we
do when we make time for God; Bible Studies; a discussion
on militarism and remembrance; and a talk on last years’
advent campaign by Christian Aid. We have had some very
supportive and, at times, intimate discussions; which have
really helped us grow as a group.
Our biggest achievement last semester was finally
becoming affiliated with the Students’ Union; this will let
us advertise at university events, and hopefully grow more
in numbers. We are currently planning for this semester
(while not studying for exams!) and trying to figure out
how to accommodate for the larger numbers God may
MOVEMENT Issue 159
UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD
The 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War on
11th November 1918 was also the start of the tenth Inter-
Faith Week at The Faith Centre at the University of Salford.
We marked the date by collating a display to recognise the
contributions of people of faith around the world during
conflict. It was a great example of all the Chaplains working
together on one project. Many visitors identified with articles
which echoed their faith tradition including Christian, Muslim,
Hindu, Jewish and Sikh.
The display also remembered the comfort, care and
compassion given by Chaplains who served during WW1.
Photographs depicted the familiar work of Chaplains
conducting services and burials in unfamiliar environments,
with one preaching from the cockpit of a plane and another
conducting trench burials.
David Blake of the Museum of Army Chaplaincy gave
invaluable knowledge and support on individual Chaplain
stories. He made each name supplied to him come alive with
a personal story. Closer to home, the Salford Roman Catholic
Archivist provided source material from ‘The Harvest’, a
monthly newspaper. This included the stories of refugees
who found a haven of peace in Salford.
We had a great term at SCM Sheffield. We started the year
with a very successful stall at the Freshers’ Fair, where we
recruited lots of people onto the email list, and our new
committee had loads of ideas of fun things to do and ways to
mix up our meetings.
We decided to restructure our weekly meetings so that we
now focus on a current issue or debate in the media before
leading into wider discussion and ending with a prayerful
Apart from our usual activities, we also made shoeboxes for
Operation Christmas Child as a society, and all participated in
events through our churches and the Sheffield community.
The number of members at our weekly meetings dwindled
slightly as the term went on and work took over, but we are
excited to host more social events next term to draw people
The commonality of the themes within the faith stories still
resonate with us today. “We will remember them.”
HILARY HILL, FAITH CENTRE COORDINATOR
10 MOVEMENT Issue 159
SACRED TRINITY CHURCH,
My name is Jana and I am a volunteer for Time for God based
at Sacred Trinity Church in Salford. During the week I help
to keep the activities in the church running smoothly, and
there is lots that students can get involved in. On Monday
the community choir meets, and all are welcome to come
along regardless of ability. The choir performs for church and
community events, and they sing a range of music including
pop and show tunes as well as church music. On the second
Thursday of the month there is a film night where we watch
a film together and share in fellowship with one another. We
also host gigs and music events which are popular!
Twice a week we also hold morning prayer, where we sit
together to read a passage from the bible and pray for each
other, and other people. The church also runs an Exploring
Faith group, where people can come and share a meal and
discuss Christianity together.
Last term Lancaster SCM explored a different session structure
with a new topic each week. However, we have continued to
think about and work on our recycling campaign. We think
living sustainably is part of living out our lives as practicing
Christians. Living in a way that respects this beautiful Earth
and with an awareness of how interconnected humanity is.
One of our members attended a trip organised by the
university to a local recycling facility which helped inform
the whole group. Another member of Lancaster SCM has
worked with Green Lancaster (a branch of the Students’
Union) to create and promote a survey to assess knowledge
of recycling on campus. Claire Maxwell, a Moravian minister,
talked to us about why she decided to give up plastic three
years ago, the difficulties, and what a sustainable life is for
her. She gave up lots of tips on how to reduce our plastic use.
Shampoo bars and bamboo toothbrushes all the way!
Part of my work includes going to the University of Salford
Faith Centre each Thursday to help set up for the service and
stay afterwards for a tea or a coffee with staff and students.
MOVEMENT Issue 159
12 MOVEMENT Issue 159
Photo credit TMCP
Jasmine Yeboah is the 2018-19 Youth President of the Methodist
Church, and was elected to the role by young people attending the
Methodist Church’s youth event, 3generate. She is passionate about
helping young people to be courageous in their faith and to know the
love of God.
Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself and your faith journey?
I grew up on an estate in Tottenham with my little sister and both my parents. A
couple of fun facts about myself; I’ve been zip-lining through the rain forest in
Costa Rica, I enjoy kick boxing, I studied abroad in America for a semester during
my undergraduate degree, and I’ve been to Rwanda for a mission trip, which was
As for my faith journey, I was not brought up in the church. I had a concept of God
because I went to a Catholic school, but I always thought God was for the good
children, and that they were the only ones he liked; and I wasn’t a goody-goodytwo-shoes
like others were! I think in my mind God was like a teacher, and so I
grew up with that concept of God. I enjoyed myself growing up, and had fun with
my friends, but it got to the point in my life where I realised I didn’t know God. I
knew about him, but I didn’t know who he was. I wanted to pray over situations in
my life, but I didn’t even know how to pray. I realised then that I actually needed
to have a relationship with God. Because of where I came from, with my estate
having a lot of gang culture, when someone is your friend, they become ‘your
ride or your die’, or R.O.D, and you have that person’s back all the time. I thought,
if I’m going to have a relationship with this God, he needs to be my ‘ride or die’,
I don’t want to just pray to him when I need him, but I actually need to walk with
him. I said a prayer asking Jesus Christ to come into my life and be my Lord and
Saviour. I knew that I was not perfect but I had a willing heart to change and be
who God had called me to be.
I started out just praying by myself and didn’t go to church for a year. My Mum
then invited me to a Methodist service at St Mark’s in Tottenham and I went.
That’s when I started to know Christ and change that concept that I grew up with.
Was that an easy journey for you?
When you start off it can be one of the most difficult but lovely things to get your
MOVEMENT Issue 159
head around. It’s like eating a sour sweet! There were so
many things that were new concepts that I didn’t even think
of, and that showed the way I had of thinking was wrong.
For me, learning to forgive was a big thing, because if
someone has wronged you it made sense to repay them for
what they had done. Learning to love God was also tricky,
as I realised that I didn’t even love myself. If you don’t love
yourself, it’s hard to love people, and if you can’t forgive
people, you can’t forgive yourself. I realised it all started
off with me, so I had to learn so much about myself to take
away insecurities about myself. I had to understand the way
I reacted to things and my automatic behaviours, and deal
with the root causes that were mostly just fear and putting
up walls to stop people from hurting me. When I started to
deal with those issues my relationships became better, and
I learned to forgive people.
It’s been a journey – I’ve had many tears, many ‘I don’t
understand this!’ moments, and at times I just wanted God
to give up on me. But God is faithful, not once did He let go
of me, even when I let go of myself.
Did going to university have an impact on your faith?
What was your university experience like?
I think university was very different for me compared to
the stereotypical experience you hear about – I stayed in
London, while all my friends went away and had that party
lifestyle. To be honest, university was a really lonely time for
me, just because all my friends I had from home were away,
and when I came to uni I didn’t want to party, but the people
I met there were all wild. They finally had that freedom you
get from moving away, but growing up on an estate like
mine, I had that freedom from a very young age. It wasn’t
new or fun to me; they were all up for drinking and partying,
but people do that from a young age where I’m from.
I struggled being away from church as well, and things were
difficult with my CU. I joined a non-denominational church
which was good, and I did make some friends, but when I
went to America in my second year it was very different. I
became friends with a woman who was starting a group and
leading Christian bible studies in the university, and I found
myself talking to people and ministering to people more. I
lived with a group of girls, and we really made a good Christian
family group which was an amazing experience. Basketball
games, NFL games, Six Flags – you name it, we went there!
What was it that made you decide to run for Methodist
To be honest, my minister asked me if I wanted to be Youth
President the previous year and I said no, because I thought
I couldn’t do it – for Tottenham maybe, but not for the whole
of the UK! I laughed it off. I had plans to continue studying
and become a primary school teacher, and I wanted to do
my PGCE. I passed my English skills test, but I just missed
out on passing my Maths skills test – I had three attempts
to sit the test, and was five marks out, then four, and then
three. I went back to my minister and he said to apply, and
at that point I had nothing to lose. I applied but still didn’t
think I was going to get it. The other two candidates were
from churched backgrounds, so when I was voted for I was
so thankful to God.
After that a friend who made it onto the PGCE course told
me that the rules had changed, and that I could sit the Maths
skills test as many times as I needed to. It just showed me
that God had a plan for me, because God wanted me to go
for this position. He blocked a path into teaching for me
which led to me applying to be Youth President, and then
opened it again after.
Your election manifesto was all about courage. What
do you think are the biggest barriers to young people
becoming courageous Christians?
I think that out of all the challenges we face, fear is number
one. The opposite of courage is to be fearful. I guess
that’s why everyone’s gone so wild about the film Bird
Box, because it kind of talks about overcoming your fear.
Especially with students and young adults, it’s fear of not
getting acceptance from other people. It can stop you from
even being courageous as you’re thinking ‘what are other
people going to say about me? Am I doing this right?’, and
then you’ve discredited yourself before you’ve even started.
In order to be courageous, you just have to be yourself.
There’s no one like you, and nobody is perfect; even that
person you think is perfect, they’re not. Your mistakes make
you who you are. To be courageous starts by courageously
accepting yourself for who God has made you, and then
you’ll be able to courageous in other ways too.
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What have you learned about yourself and your faith
during your time as Methodist Youth President?
I’ve learned that God can use anybody. There’s scripture that
says, “God uses the foolish things of the world to confound
the great”. I’m paraphrasing, but it means that you don’t have
to be the best at speaking or anything, just allow God to use
you, and don’t let your fear keep you back. Don’t discredit
yourself, because no one’s story, or experience, is too small.
Don’t try to conform to who other people are, just be who
God has called you to be.
What will you be doing after your year as Methodist
I’m still praying about it, I have no idea!
We know that you enjoy leading worship – what does
worship mean to you?
I think worship is a lifestyle; although I minister in my choir
and I’m a motivational speaker, I think worship comes from
your personal relationship with God behind closed doors. All
that other stuff is just what comes out from your relationship
MOVEMENT Issue 159
with Christ. If you’re going through a hard time, just express
that to Jesus, don’t try and put on your best face. Worship
in your pain and in your joy. Worship is you giving God
your heart, no matter what you might think is wrong or
bad about yourself. When you give God true worship and
are authentically yourself and using your mistakes to help
people, I think that comes out when you speak, and people
become connected to whatever you say because you’re
being real. When you’re real with Jesus in your worship
behind closed doors, it shows when you’re out in public.
Who or what inspires you?
The woman with the alabaster jar in the Gospel really
inspires me, because she was a woman that had this past,
this life, but she had the courage to walk forward to Jesus.
Regardless of what everyone in the room thought of her, all
she was focused on was Jesus. She knew what they were
saying about her was right, and she didn’t even argue with
them. But she gave her heart, and her very best. Sometimes
it’s not the perfect people but the broken people that God
can use. She really inspires me to look to Jesus and give
my all. Jesus said, “those who forgive more, love more”.
Sometimes people are so ashamed of things they’ve done
or are doing, but those who have been through a lot are
those that can give a lot as well. She inspires me because
she was just so bold.
Someone else that I like and inspires me is Joyce Meyer,
she has been through a lot. She was abused by her own
father from a young age. When she talks she preaches
about the power of Love, the power of God and her healing
process. She wrote a book called The Battlefield of The
Mind and I would recommend it everyone, it’s so powerful.
The theme of this issue of Movement is mental
wellbeing. What do you do to take care of yourself?
I pray. A lot. I have a friend and we call each other ‘prayer
partners’ – we share stuff together, and pray over situations
together, which gives us accountability as well. If we’re
praying to find a job, then she’ll ask me how my job hunt is
going so I know I have to do something about it! Speaking to
her reminds me that I’m not going through anything alone.
If you’re having mental health challenges, a lot of the time
you just want to be by yourself. But if you can, find just
one trustworthy person; not just a person that you can
trust, but a person that you know is walking with God and
can give you good advice. It always helps me to share and
pray with my prayer partner, and in the times where I just
want to shut down and be by myself I have that one person
checking up on me.
What advice would you give to students and young
Be. Your. Self. We have social media and all these things,
and we always see other people as perfect and compare
what they post to our reality, not seeing that what they
post is just a fraction of their life and the best parts of it.
The don’t show their full picture, their struggles. People
compare what they see to their own situations, and it can
make them think they aren’t good enough. Love yourself,
not in a selfish way, but when you love God first and receive
his love for you you’re able to love yourself, and it makes
you a better lover of others. Don’t try and change to suit
other people. Change because you know you will live better
for Christ, not because you want to be like someone else
I want to encourage students to focus, and to not get
distracted. If you can, I would encourage you to focus on
what true love is. Everyone is trying to find some element
of love, but look to God and understand that His love is
true love, and understand how that can impact your life.
Know that you are a world changer, so don’t think small
of yourself as you are able to change the world if you can
focus and put your mind to it. The sky is the limit, for anyone
and everyone, and so for 2019, you should just go for it!
Do you have a favourite piece of scripture or story
from the Bible?
My favourite story is the woman with the alabaster jar that
I mentioned earlier. My favourite scripture is Romans 8:28,
“All things work together for the good of those who love
God, and are called according to his divine purpose”. Every
time I’m going through a hard time I just try to remember
that all things are going to work together for my good, the
good things and the bad things. I believe that everything I
go through, somehow or someway, even if I can’t see why,
will work for my good.
16 MOVEMENT Issue 159
In this prayer, the biddings may be interspersed with verses from
Marty Haugen’s ‘All Are Welcome’, with the first verse coming after
the first bidding, and the final verse coming before the last bidding.
On 17th February 2019,
students around the world
will be joining together to
celebrate the Universal Day
of Prayer for Students, also
known as Student Sunday.
These intercessions have been
written by students in Oxford,
and can be found in our
Student Sunday resource pack
which is available to download
from the SCM website at
May this place be one where students, and others in times of
transition and change,
Feel welcomed, loved and cherished.
Enliven the imaginations of all who pass through our doors,
So that the unity, compassion and freedom you desire for your
children would be realised here,
In this community;
And so that, in being the kind of community you desire,
We may reflect your all-embracing love to the world.
Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault
here the love of Christ shall end divisions.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.
God at work in the world,
May our relationship with you always be a continuous journey,
where we walk in all your ways.
Make our coming and going more than a physical undertaking;
guide us towards your liberation in Christ.
Prepare us for our passage, O Lord,
so that we may recognise your presence in our midst,
and remember the purpose for which we travel.
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Let us build a house where prophets speak, and words
are strong and true,
where all God’s children dare to seek
to dream God’s reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness and as symbol of
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.
May this place be one where your voice may be heard in
the voices of all,
regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or
Inspire us to clothe ourselves with humility,
so that we may learn from one another,
and we hear your story of self-giving love in each other’s
Let us build a house where love is found in water, wine
a banquet hall on holy ground
where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
is revealed in time and space;
as we share in Christ the feast that frees us.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.
May this place be one where hunger is satisfied:
Hunger for community, belonging, love, peace, depth,
and communion with you.
As we receive from you,
May we be grateful for the gifts of your grace,
and generous with our time, energy and resources,
that we may share your abundance with our wider
and so be agents of your kingdom of justice.
Written by Molly Boot and Daniel Roberts.
Let us build a house where hands will reach beyond
the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach, and live the
Word they’ve known.
Here the outcast and the stranger bear the image of
let us bring an end to fear and danger.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.
May this place be one where justice is done;
where advocates are formed and sent out by your Spirit
to be your hands and feet in our world.
Soften our hearts, and open our eyes,
that we may see the needs, hurts and longings within and
without this community,
so that we may work with you to tend to them in love.
Let us build a house where all are named, their songs
and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed as words
within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter, prayers of faith
and songs of grace,
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.
God of love, this is our vision for our students, and for our
That we would see one another the way you see us,
as those worthy of love, dignity and life in all its fullness;
That we would embrace one another as you embrace us
and that by the power of your Spirit, we would be set free
to be fully ourselves,
that together we would grow into the likeness of Christ.
In the name of Jesus Christ,
18 MOVEMENT Issue 159
Recently SCM began a partnership with Sheffield-based
company Space to Breathe to explore wellbeing and mental
health for students across the country. Space to Breathe’s
founder Andy Freeman explains more about who they are
and what they do.
LIVING WELL, FULLY AND DEEPLY
I was always someone who was
fascinated by those on the outside.
Whether as a young kid exploring punk
music and campaigning, as a youth
worker who was more focused on those
outside his churches than those inside,
or through my work with 24-7 Prayer
creating urban monasteries for those on
the margins of society.
It was in the margins where the ideas for
Space to Breathe began.
Space to Breathe focuses on improving
people’s wellbeing and mental health,
using spirituality as our main tool to
do this. The ideas and practices we
use began when I started asking, what
was this interest in spirituality that I
was observing across the country? I
saw people attending prayer rooms
and installations who did not go to
church, who did not seem religious and
sometimes even expressed an atheist
standpoint. Why was this?
It became a passion of mine to sit on the
edges and ask the Buddhist family why
they’d come to a Christian prayer event.
To ask the homeless young person why
he felt at home at a prayer monastery run
by 24-7. To ask the University student
why sitting with candles in silence was so
captivating to them. What was going on?
MOVEMENT Issue 159
On reflection, what I was seeing was
the beginning of what many now term
“spiritual but not religious”. This wellused
term is backed by significant
data suggesting that people in the
UK are much more open to spirituality
as a part of their daily lives. This isn’t
religious and often isn’t tied to one
stream or another – but it is genuine
and important to many.
At Space to Breathe we seek to use
simple spirituality to support people’s
wellbeing. We seek to help people live
well, live fully and live deeply.
This can take several shapes:
• Teaching businesses how to make
use of silence.
• Leading a retreat for stressed and
• Using the arts to unlock our spiritual
side and give our emotions fresh
• Using Ignatian mediations to allow
people to explore their daily lives
and make sense of the struggles
Mental Health and Wellbeing have
become high profile topics over the
last few years. Increasing strain on the
NHS mixed with a growing awareness
that we generally aren’t that good at
talking about mental health have led
to new initiatives and ideas to help our
In Universities, it is suggested that
five times as many students are
disclosing mental health problems to
their Universities than there were ten
years ago . In 2017, The Guardian’s
Student Survey found that 87% of
first year students were struggling to
cope with social or academic aspects
of University life, with issues such as
isolation, work/study balance and
financial concerns placing highly.
We first met the team from SCM at
the Greenbelt Festival in 2018 and
we were delighted to connect with
kindred spirits who were committed to
many of the same ideas and principles
we are. We began to hatch a plan to
partner around Student Wellbeing and
the beginning of this was a survey
which was published on the SCM
website in December 2018.
We are excited to see what emerges
and are committed to supporting
students navigate their years at
University living well, living fully and
If you’d like to know more about the
work of Space to Breathe you can
find them at www.spacetobreathe.eu
Twitter: @space2breathe or Instagram:
If you’d like to get in touch with
the team you can email them at
At Space to
Breathe we seek
to use simple
wellbeing. We seek
to help people live
well, live fully and
20 MOVEMENT Issue 159
SCM is really excited to see students
working to make a difference in
their communities by putting
their faith into action. David
Hanson, a student at the
University of Glasgow, shares
his experience of working with
a tenants’ union, and reflects
on how his faith plays a role
in his activism.
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Something that crosses my mind quite regularly is the
question of what it means to be a Christian in a secular age.
As an American, I come from a place where Christianity is
still quite dominant culturally, but here in Glasgow, it is a
different story. For many people I know, I am their token
Christian friend and sometimes even their token religious
friend. In some ways I feel that this shouldn’t matter, that I
should be comfortable standing up for my faith. But being
the token Christian matters for how I live out my Christian
Being a Christian is part of why I am highly involved in
social justice causes. My current work is with Living Rent,
a Scottish tenants’ union that fights for radical structural
change to the housing system. We focus on reclaiming
illegally charged fees to tenants, forcing bad landlords
to carry out repairs, and most recently calling upon the
Scottish Government to implement a ban on all evictions
during the winter months. Overall, we call out and face
up to the violence that is inherent in a housing system
beholden to the whims of the market where housing is
conceived as real estate rather than as a home – we want
“Homes for People, Not for Profit.”
These are my good works, my supposed ‘acts of Christian
charity’. But I am not doing it for the sake of charity, either
as an activist for Living Rent or as Christian. One of the
key principles of Living Rent is that we empower tenants
themselves – we don’t merely provide a service to fix their
housing situation. We come alongside them, and through
collective direct action empower people to take part
in the struggle against those who neglect some of their
most basic needs, whether that is their landlord or the
Part of how I have made
sense of my faith and activism
is through liberation theology.
Earlier this year I was given an
article by a priest at my church comparing two different
types of praxis for a theology of liberation. One called
for the formation of basic ecclesial communities (mostly
via the church) and the other called for the formation of
basic human communities. Both strove toward realising
liberation and justice in the world here and now. But in a
secular context, it seems to me that the call to dismantle
injustice is more effectively realised when Christians join
and strengthen basic human communities.
Living Rent is for me a basic human community that works
to rectify injustice at the local level. My faith is just as fully
lived out when I am occupying a landlord’s office as when
I’m singing hymns – though I’m pretty sure there isn’t
much difference every time I hear the Magnificat’s call to
“cast down the mighty” and “lift the lowly”. My church is
a place of nourishment, a place that doesn’t necessarily
attach itself to particular causes but rather validates and
encourages its congregants in their work to realise justice
in the secular world.
I am continually reminded of St. Theresa of Avila’s words
“Christ has no body now but yours” -the work of Christ is
not done and we are called to continue it. It is a radical
call, one that pulls us away from our comfortable lives and
into participation with the ongoing process of liberation.
The more I involve myself with activism, the more my faith
strengthens. For as Jürgen Moltmann said, “the more a
person believes, the more deeply he experiences pain over
the suffering in the world, and the more passionately he
asks about God and the new creation.”
Do you have a story of Faith in Action to share? Get in touch with Emma, our Faith in Action Project Worker,
by emailing email@example.com
22 MOVEMENT Issue 159
MOVEMENT Issue 159
Looking after you…
Because you can’t blame anyone else for not doing it!
Annoyingly we can’t rely on others cook for us, clean for us, write essays for us or take
exams for us... Equally we can’t rely on others to look after our emotional and mental
health and wellbeing either! We are responsible for ourselves. If we choose to go to a
late-night party even though we have to get up for a lecture at 9am, we can’t blame
our mates for ‘making us’ go – it was actually our choice. In the same way, if we are
struggling, we can’t rely on someone else to wave their ‘magic wand of wellbeing’ to
make life seem easier and more manageable. As hard as it might be to hear, you are
responsible for you. You’re not responsible for your friend even though you care about
them greatly; and they aren’t responsible for you either. When it comes to looking after
ourselves there are five dimensions of our own care we need to consider:
This includes our diet, sleep, dental care, sexual health and physical wellbeing. It might mean making sure you
eat a few home cooked meals a week, it might mean cutting down on alcohol, it might mean making sure you
get your eight hours of sleep a night, it might mean getting a check-up ‘down there’.
What does being physically well mean to you? How can you practice more self-care for that body of yours that
is the vessel in which your whole life is held?
What beliefs do you hold? Are they in any tension with how you live out your life and faith? If so; does that
cause you any difficulty?
How do you nourish your soul? How is your spiritual life challenged? Changed? Guided?
Where do you best connect with God? Is God quietly prompting you to find a bit more space and time for Him?
Is He asking something more of you?
Hmmm... Feeling uncomfortable yet?!
24 MOVEMENT Issue 159
University life is not just about lectures and reading weeks. Outside of what you are studying, what makes your
brain work hard? How are you encouraging your personal growth? What about the people you hang out with –
are they all the same as you or are you finding friends from new cultures and countries?
Have you got a good network of people you can sound off to on a bad day? People you trust to hold your
personal stuff without blabbing it around? Contrary to public perception, most people only actually have two
good friends in their life, even though social media makes you think they have thousands and something must
be wrong with you for not having that many!
Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, having a person you trust is way better than having hundreds of
acquaintances but no one to turn to on a bad day.
Do you keep track of your emotions or do bad days come up and hit you round the face?
Many of us don’t make enough time for a daily ‘check in’ with ourselves to see how we’re feeling. We probably
text our family or BFF to see how they are, but do we ask the same question of ourselves?
Try this – before you even get out of bed, rate your emotions on a scale of one to ten, with one being
horrendously low and ten being on top of the world! This is your marker for the day – if it’s low then it won’t
take much for you to feel lower. But what actions can you take to make it higher? Remember, it’s no one else’s
responsibility but yours!
Looking at the list above, go through each one and consider a couple of things you can do make a bad day slightly
better. Try the same before you fall asleep. Reflect on your day, and thank God for the good bits – it is proven that
an attitude of gratitude really does improve mental wellbeing!
You can also try writing a journal, drawing your feelings, singing your favourite song lyrics loudly, writing a letter to
yourself about what you plan to change in the next term, plan yourself a retreat day – the possibilities are endless.
Above all, tell someone how you really are instead of replying with ‘fine’ whenever you are asked.
Jo Fitzsimmons is a youth worker and trained counsellor with two decades of experience supporting young people
with their emotional and mental wellbeing. Jo works for SelfHarm UK, and you can find more information on
supporting yourself or a friend who is harming at www.selfharm.co.uk
MOVEMENT Issue 159
26 MOVEMENT Issue 159
#worryfreewednesday cards to cut out and keep
Each Wednesday we share a message on our social media channels using the hashtag
#worryfreewednesday. Here are some cut-out-and-keep versions for you to carry for whenever you
“Peace I give to you; my peace I
leave with you. I do not give to
you as the world gives. Do not let
your hearts be troubled, and do
not let them be afraid. John 14: 27
MOVEMENT Issue 159
Self-care is a term that is bandied around a lot,
and people often mistakenly use it to mean an
occasional indulgence. The odd treat here and there
isn’t a bad thing at all, but it’s not what self-care is
about. Self-care is an act of survival. It’s doing the
often mundane daily work of taking care of yourself
and prioritising your physical and mental wellbeing.
It can mean taking your medication on time; eating
foods that will nourish your body and mind; getting
enough sleep; saying no to the things that you are
unable to or don’t want to do; or even stepping
out of your comfort zone. What could you do to
implement the discipline of self-care in your life?
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his
mercies never come to an end; they are new every
morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3: 22-23.
Take five minutes (or more if you have it!) to
meditate on this wonderful verse from an oft
overlooked book of the Bible. It can be incredibly
reassuring to know that God’s love will never run
out, that each morning we are given mercy afresh.
Where can you see God’s faithfulness in your life
this week or month?
Being at peace with who you are is a blessed place
to be! It’s not always easy, but what can you do to
accept where you’re at today?
It’s Okay to miss home. It’s Okay to be having the
time of your life. It’s Okay to take time out to rest.
It’s Okay if you’ve had four all-nighters in a row (But
do get some sleep). It’s Okay not to have found your
BFF yet. It’s Okay if you’ve made tonnes of new
friends. It’s Okay to be nervous about the future. It’s
Okay if you’re super excited about what’s to come.
It’s Okay to go with the flow. It’s Okay if you’ve got
everything planned out. It’s Okay to question what
you thought you knew and believed. It’s Okay to be
more sure of your beliefs than ever. What do you
need to tell yourself it’s Okay to think or feel?
Here at SCM we know how big of a toll mental
health issues can take, and the stigma that still
surrounds talking about it in some places. Thankfully
things do seem to be getting better in that regard,
even if it’s slow going sometimes!
We say this a lot, but it really is okay not to be okay.
Do what you’re able to in order to help yourself;
go for walks, do the breathing exercises, seek
counselling, take medication. But know that even if
(and when) it’s still tough despite your best efforts,
that’s okay. We’re rooting for you, and it does get
better. Hang in there, friends.
“Be still, and know that I am God”
Wherever you’re at today, it’s good to take five
minutes away from the busy-ness of life to quieten
ourselves and reflect on the powerful truth of who
28 MOVEMENT Issue 159
Recovering ‘Son of Mary’
as a relevant christological title
REVD DR RAJ BHARATH PATTA
MOVEMENT Issue 159
Revd Raj Bharath Patta reflects on the titles used for Jesus,
and makes the case for a wider use of the title ‘Son of Mary’.
Mary is often projected as ‘Mother
of Christ’ and over the years in some
popular Church traditions she is
celebrated as Theotokos, Mother of
God. As we thank God for mother Mary,
such qualifications in a way discount
her identity, self-worth and agency
as a woman. In one of the Christmas
readings taken from Matthew’s Gospel
(1:18-25), we see the explanation of
the birth of the Messiah presented
from the perspective of Joseph, with
hardly anything to say from Mary’s
perspective or position. This passage
uses at least three Christological
titles – Messiah, Son of David and
Emmanuel. Matthew wants to quickly
introduce Jesus to his audience,
describing his Jewish roots and how
the Old Testament prophecies are
fulfilled in Jesus right at the start of his
Gospel in his birth narratives.
The prominent Christological titles in
the Scriptures include Son of God, Son
of Man, Son of David, Messiah, Lord,
King, Prophet, Priest, Lamb, Shepherd,
and Emmanuel. All have evolved out
of a contextual demand in the early
Christian Church, for they only reflect
the kind of patriarchal world during
which the Gospels were written and
circulated. ‘Son of Mary’ is one of
the most under-recognised or even
unrecognised and even less-explored
Christological titles. It is time now for
us to recover this title, which is of
immense relevance for our times today
in the 21st century. Exploring the title
‘Son of Mary’ is a Biblical, contextual
and theological necessity, for it
conveys profound theological insights
into our Christian faith to identify Jesus
through a woman, in this case his
title ‘Son of Mary’
Only in two instances is ‘Son of Mary’
mentioned in the Gospels, in Mark 6:3
and in Matthew 13:55, making it one
of the least mentioned Christological
titles in the Gospels. Is this title a
problematic one, or is there a problem
in the title? In Mark 6:3, it is written,
‘“Is not this the carpenter, the son of
Mary and brother of James and Joses
and Judas and Simon, and are not his
sisters here with us?” And they took
offense at him.’ Several scholars have
argued that the title ‘Son of Mary’ in
this Markan context is used to pick
on the ‘illegitimate’ birth of Jesus,
in the Scriptures...
Only reflect the
kind of patriarchal
which the Gospels
were written and
30 MOVEMENT Issue 159
‘Son of Mary’
is one of the
titles. It is time
now for us to
title, which is
relevance for our
times today in the
mocking Jesus and his birth outside
of a marriage. This reveals the kind
of patriarchal dominance that was
thriving those days, where Mary’s
womanhood, her image and identity,
was used and misused for the gains of
The other problem with this title is
demonstrated by Paul, the major and
early contributor of writings in New
Testament, who conspicuously did not
refer to the name of Mary nor to her
virgin birth in any of his epistles. In
Galatians 4:4, he only says that, “But
when the fullness of time had come,
God sent his Son, born of a woman,
born under the law.” Such a conscious
non-referral to Mary raises a brow,
for it only diminishes the worth and
agency of the mother who bore and
delivered a saviour in the baby Jesus.
This also reveals the kind of privilege
male-centeredness was enjoying
in the mission and ministries of the
early Church, for they did not think it
important to affirm in the agency of the
young woman, Mary.
These incidents therefore call us to
read this title subversively, contesting
and unwrapping all the patriarchal
perspectives in the title ‘Son of
Mary’, for in such a title there is a
deep encounter of the divine with the
human, which we celebrate and affirm.
Programming the title
‘Son of Mary’
In her womb, Mary holds the space
where the divine and the mundane
encounter. In Mary’s vulnerability and
fragility as a human, the divine finds
a favour and dwells within her, and
is born out in a fully divine and fully
human Jesus Christ. The Christological
title ‘Son of Mary’ for Jesus aptly
speaks of his calling, his nature and
the purpose of his coming into this
world. The title ‘Son of Mary’ happens
to be nurturing space for both Son of
God and Son of Man to shoot up and
bloom in Jesus Christ. It is here that
the transcendent and the immanent
meet to reveal to the world that out of
the womb of mothers like Mary, divinity
can be formed, be born and take on
the flesh of humankind.
This title in its literal sense conveys
that Jesus is the son of Mary. And
what child does not want to be called
after their mother, particularly when
MOVEMENT Issue 159
she is a woman of courage, singing
songs of revolution, teaching her child
to ‘overthrow the powers’. Mary’s
song, the Magnificat, (Luke 1: 46-55)
reveals her role as a mother. While
some mothers sing lullabies to their
children, Mary has a very revolutionary
song that she sang when she was
pregnant with Jesus. There were
several available songs for Mary in
Nazareth in those days; she could have
chosen a hymn from the Psalmody or
from their hymnal, but instead she
chose to compose a contemporary
song of justice, of her own yearning
for her society, and she sang it for her
son Jesus. Her situation and context
of oppression and discrimination
demanded mother Mary to sing this
radical song of justice. This song
reveals her mothering quality, her
dream for her son, and she raised
Jesus with those values. It could have
been the song that Jesus heard her
sing daily, learning it as an anthem
of justice that influenced his mission.
With that kind of radical nurture from
his mother Mary, there is no surprise
that Jesus became a revolutionary of
his time, critiquing and contesting all
forms of injustice.
‘Son of Mary’ is the most fitting title
for Jesus, for out of Mother came an
Emmanuel, came a Saviour, a Messiah,
a King, a Prophet. To put it another
way, ‘Son of Mary’ is the mother of all
Christological titles of Jesus, and by
understanding this title, we can get
to grips with the rest of the titles of
Pragmatising the title
‘Son of Mary’
This title is important to Jesus because
‘Son of Mary’ is a critique against
the dominant forces of patriarchy
that have not allowed the celebration
of womanhood as an agency of
delivering divine in human form. This
title is important for the Church today
too, because ‘Son of Mary’ challenges
the Church to affirm women as agents
of divine grace and calls on the Church
to confront all forms of violence meted
against women and all genders of
vulnerability. ‘Son of Mary’ is a liberating
affirmation for all those parents and
children who are struggling in life
with broken parental relationships.
This title is the most publicly and
theologically relevant title for Jesus,
In her womb,
Mary holds the
the divine and
and fragility as a
human, the divine
finds a favour and
dwells within her,
and is born out in
a fully divine and
fully human Jesus
32 MOVEMENT Issue 159
It is high time
that we are called
to recover this
‘Son of Mary’,
for it provides
and social twist in
aptly relevant for
our times today.
as Jesus is situated in the context of
human motherhood, relatable to all
human beings without any dogmatic
assertions. The title ‘Son of Mary’ has
been used more prominently as Isa ibn
Mariyam, Jesus, Son of Mary, in Arabic
in the Muslim faith tradition, for these
friends strongly believe in the virgin
birth of Jesus and him as a prophet.
It is high time that we are called
to recover this very significant and
relevant Christological title, ‘Son of
Mary’, for it provides an important
political, spiritual and social twist in
the kaleidoscope of Christology, aptly
relevant for our times today.
Revd Dr Raj Bharath Patta is a minister in the Stockport Methodist
Circuit, and former General Secretary of SCM India. He blogs at
thepattas.blogspot.com and you can follow him on Twitter @rajpatta.
MOVEMENT Issue 159
HOW CAN WE
34 MOVEMENT Issue 159
“For, indeed, in the social jungle of human existence there is no feeling of
being alive without a sense of identity.” 1
As Erik Erikson has so rightly typified, knowing who we
are and what we are about helps us make sense of
our personhood. Identity helps us carve out a niche in
society by defining how we think about ourselves and
how we relate to others. The exploration of identity
does not occur in a vacuum, and the influence of
external factors and persons play an important role
in our identity development. This is particularly salient
for those young people who provide unpaid care,
assistance, and support for their family members with
health care needs.
When I was eleven years old, my older brother and I
became two of the nearly seven million child and young
adult caregivers in the United States. 2 My mother
acquired a physical disability as a result of a spinal
surgery gone horribly wrong, and my brother had to
drop out of his sophomore year in college to take care
of her, and me. Growing up in the early 2000s, I thought
my older brother and I were the only millennials with
a family caregiving role. Moreover, I didn’t even see
myself as a caregiver until I came across the work of
my PhD supervisor Professor Saul Becker. His work
with children and young adults who provide unpaid
care in their families has spanned decades and has
shaped the creation of legislative policy and supportive
programs in the UK. Called ‘young carers’ in the UK, I
finally discovered there were other young people with
family experiences similar to mine. My brother and I
WHO ARE YOUNG ADULT CARERS?
A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend of
family member who needs support due to illness,
disability, mental health problem or an addiction.
Caregiving can look very different across families. The
types of tasks caregivers may perform include physical
care such as lifting a person into bed, personal care
(showering, dressing), and administering medicines.
They may also be responsible for grocery shopping,
household bill payment, cleaning, and cooking. Young
adult caregivers who also look after their siblings can
be found helping with homework or driving them to
and from school. For some families, the young adult
caregiver provides emotional support, serving as the
voice of reason or the shoulder to cry on during times
According to The Carers’ Trust 3, there are an estimated
376,000 young adult carers in the UK aged 16-25. Of
the young adult carers in college or university, 56%
were struggling because of their caring role, with 17%
saying that they may have to drop out for reasons
associated with their caring role. Young adult carers
are four times more likely to drop out of their college
or university course than other students.
Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: Norton.
G., Levine, C. & Naiditch, L. (2005). Young caregivers in the U.S.: Findings from a national survey. Bethesda, MD: National
Alliance on Family Caregiving [in collaboration with the United Hospital Fund].
MOVEMENT Issue 159
YOUNG ADULT CARERS AND
When my brother became a young adult carer, those
precious young adulthood years that most spend
finding their identities were stolen from him, and he’d
say that he was uncertain of his identity outside of
being a caregiver. My life, too, changed forever. The
constant worry over my mother’s health and our
finances coupled with the tormenting fear of ‘whatif?’
plagued my thoughts. Besides the non-stop
anxiety, our family’s experience left its mark on me
in other ways. I learned to hide my emotions and say
everything was fine and good, even if it wasn’t.
Being a young adult carer can affect a young person’s
mental health, and many struggle to manage their
education or work life and their caring role. This can
cause added pressure and stress, so it is unsurprising
that 45% of young adult carers reported a mental
health problem. 4 Indeed, nearly all of the participants in
my PhD research expressed that they had experienced
self-harming thoughts in relation to the stressors of
their caring responsibilities.
HOW CAN WE OFFER SUPPORT TO
YOUNG ADULT CARERS?
Be a friend. Your friends with caregiving roles will
appreciate your offers for a cup of tea and a listening
ear, even if they say “everything is fine”.
Be understanding and flexible. In education or
employment, young adult carers may need extra time
to complete assignments or more freedom to set their
working hours. In social settings, recognise that the
nature of caregiving may mean that their plans can
change quickly and unexpectedly, and their free time
is often dependent upon the needs of their loved one.
Be willing to amplify the voices of young adult
carers. We need a more inclusive conversation about
caregiving. Caregivers of all ages are vital members
of society and deserve our recognition and support.
Young adult carers do exist and are not rare, so we
must champion their cause and direct our attention to
addressing their needs in policy, services, and funding.
Every act of caregiving is important. By expanding our
conversation about caregiving, we lift up the young
adult carer to a place of appreciation.
If you are a young adult carer, or know someone who
is, dedicated support is available from Carers Trust
(carers.org) and The Children’s Society for those
under the age of 18 (www.childrenssociety.org.uk/
Dr. Feylyn Lewis is a research fellow at the University of Sussex, and her research involves the mental health
needs of adolescent young carers in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, and
Slovenia. Feylyn is also a Trustee of SCM and holds the Black and Minority Ethnic Students’ Rep portfolio
on General Council. You can follow her on Twitter @FeylynLewis.
A previous version of this article was originally posted on thecaregiverspace.org
36 MOVEMENT Issue 159
We asked three SCM members to share
their experiences of discerning their vocation.
MOVEMENT Issue 159
My calling to
work with young
Before I went to university I felt the call to be an ordained minister, but I believed that there were some other
things that God wanted to do with my life before I got there, including perhaps a career in mathematics.
When I was growing up, the church I went to partnered with the Pais Movement, whose apprentices give
a year to spend time in schools talking about Jesus, and building up the faith of young people. Because of
this I had a desire to share the Gospel, so when I went to university, I joined the Christian Union. Although
my time in the CU wasn’t the easiest, I still felt that call to share the Gospel. So, alongside my degree, I
started the training to become a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church. As my time at university came to
a close however, I was still unsure about what I really wanted to do as a ‘career’. I decided that I still wanted
to work with young people, and applied again to university to become a Maths Teacher. At the start of the
year, I loved working in the classroom and teaching, but by the end of the year, all the other responsibilities
of teaching caught up with me, and I couldn’t quite cope.
Now, seven years after first coming across Pais in church, I’m volunteering as one of their apprentices. I
am in my second year and leading a team in my home church, and I get the chance to talk to young people
about Jesus, both in the classroom and outside it. I first joined Pais with the intention of learning more
about what it means to have mission as part of my daily life, and right now, I’m bordering on calling myself
an evangelist. In Pais, I see two different streams of my life coming together, ministry and working with
young people. Looking back over where I’ve come from, it seems clear to me now why God has taken me
on each step, even though at the time each step felt wildly different from the last.
I still today feel the call to ordained ministry in the future, but think I’m much better equipped now than I
was six years ago, and will be even more so when that call becomes too strong to resist.
38 MOVEMENT Issue 159
Recognising vocation can be a difficult task. For some it is hard to discern which of their diverse interests
are the best to pursue. Others may have a recognisable passion that they want to spend their life exploring,
however that doesn’t make the process simple. I also think vocation can encompass the way you approach
life and your broader purpose.
I think it is completely fine to be unsure of route you want to take, or if you do know what your vocation is
it’s fine to take a diversion. My definition of vocation is fairly short term, it is doing what is best for you and
your community (either local or global) for that period of time. I believe that a key calling in life is to treat
ourselves with respect and honour the changing circumstances that we face; this means very different
things for different people and at different times in life.
I am keen to highlight the importance of mental wellbeing in exploring vocation. Particularly as there are
often big decisions to make and disappointments to face in all aspects of life. For every job I’ve had there
have been many interviews without job offers, and even more applications without interviews. Being kind to
yourself through this process and recognising that it is normal is so crucial.
It is also fine to change your focus. It can be so hard to admit to making a mistake, but this can be healthy.
If you realise that your course or job is not enabling you to fulfil your potential or prioritise your wellbeing,
there is no shame in taking time out or exploring a new direction. Some of the hardest decisions I’ve made
have been when I’ve taken a step back from studies or work for health reasons. This is where recognising
self-care and self-respect as a vocation can prevent me from being too frustrated about all the things I
For me, faith and vocation are linked. My faith grounds me and helps to put my life into perspective, it
makes me realise what a small part of the world I am, which I find incredibly reassuring! I don’t have to right
every wrong in the world, I can make mistakes and sometimes doing absolutely nothing is fine. But it also
gives me a better position from which to explore what I can do with my life.
MOVEMENT Issue 159
My vocation to
In September 2012, I arrived at a Baptist church for the first time as a new Christian. I didn’t really know what to
expect: my only experiences of church had been ‘Give me Oil in My Lamp’ and flower festivals at school. But this
was very different: I was excitedly exploring a new-found faith, and as the minister broke bread and poured wine,
I instantly saw myself in her shoes.
It felt like a kind of secret at first: as I began my A Levels I made all kinds of plans for the future, throwing myself
into neurology, chemistry or music, but wondering with God about whether I might be called to something totally
different. Opportunities to experience different kinds of Christian ministry came thick and fast, and I’m incredibly
grateful for all those who generously allowed me to lead youth groups and Bible studies, and encouraged me to
grace the pulpit, even after I passed out from anxiety ten minutes into my first sermon!
By the time I left school, ordained ministry was all I could imagine myself doing, but surely I was too young
to begin training? All the ministers I knew of had done a ‘normal’ job for quite some time before they were
called to ministry. I tried to ignore a burning sense of urgency and applied to study theology without a practical
component, but nothing would quell my dis-ease with pursuing any path other than ministerial training. My
church and my regional minister were enthusiastic that I follow this call and start training for Baptist ministry, so I
eventually applied to Regent’s Park College, Oxford, where I am currently in my final year.
I thought that vocational discernment ended there, or perhaps when I passed the Baptist Union interviews that
meant I was officially a minister-in-training, but it’s only just begun. My studies and placements have expanded
my vision of what ministry can involve; I’ve witnessed powerful reconciliation work in Israel-Palestine, prophetic
campaigning by the Joint Public Issues Team (the Methodist, Baptist and URC public policy and advocacy
group), and pioneering use of the creative arts at Greenbelt. I’ve met incredible thinkers who’ve spent their lives
dreaming up and doing justice, mercy and love, both on paper and in practice. In my reading, I’ve met Christian
mystics who poured themselves out for God and others in ways that looked eccentric, over-the-top or even
dangerous. My faith and my sense of vocation are much less clear-cut than they were two years ago, but they
are far more vibrant as a result.
I’ll be ordained in the summer of 2019, and I’m not quite sure where I’ll go after that, but that’s okay. I used to
believe there was one track set out for me, one route that I had to follow at all costs, but now I know there’s
nowhere I can go where God is not; and if that’s true, then ‘all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner
of thing shall be well.’ (Julian of Norwich, c. 1342-1416)
40 MOVEMENT Issue 159
Many contemporary Christian
conversations on gender and sexuality
can seem distinctly lacking in depth. In
this book, Linn Marie Tonstad suggests
that the failure of Christianity to really
respond to LGBT+ people, both within
and without the bounds of Christianity,
may be a result of too great a focus on
‘apologetics’, that is, a narrow focus on
justifying this or that stance on marriage
or ordination (or occasionally, gender
transition), rather than on what questions
surrounding gender and sexuality might
contribute to theology more broadly.
In clear and simple language Tonstad
provides a primer both on existing ‘queer
theologies’ and on the state of secular
queer studies; a welcome contribution
given the tendency of many Christians
to stumble into simple mistakes that
easily could’ve been corrected by greater
acquaintance with existing materials.
According to Tonstad, contemporary queer
discourse might be divided into two broad
categories – on the one hand there are
‘liberal’ approaches to LGBT+ identity,
grounded in an account of an essential
‘inmost’ self that is worthy of dignity,
and therefore certain official rights and
recognitions such as marriage. On the
other, there are those who see ‘queerness’
as a potential site for “the transformation
of the very social, political, and economic
structures within which state distribution
of rights and recognition appear to be the
goal of political action.” (p. 68, emphasis
Whilst much of the existing literature
on ‘queer theology’, both popular and
academic, assumes the former approach,
Tonstad wants to ask; If queerness
potentially offers a transformation of
the very conditions of our personal and
social lives (whether we are LGBT+ or
not), then how might this be related to
the transformation that Christianity
purports to offer? For Tonstad, hovering
over both is a concern about finitude, what
it means to be vulnerable and limited, and
the possibilities and dangers this involves.
As such, if you are looking for a good book
on ‘LGBT+ issues’, narrowly defined, you
may be disappointed. If, however, you
are interested in thinking about what
queerness and Christianity might say
about one another more broadly – from
the very first Christian apologists, to the
AIDS crisis, and beyond – Tonstad is an
WITH GUEST VICKY BEECHING:
THE SECRET LIFE OF THE
POSTER GIRL FOR THE
Most people know of Vicky Beeching for
being a ‘famous gay Christian’, but as an
LGBT+ Christian who knew only the
basics about her and having not read her
book, this podcast made for an interesting
and informative listen. James O’Brien
asked thought provoking and interesting
questions, enquiring about her whole
life with a focus on the Christian aspects
throughout that. Much of what she said
resonated with me, as although our church
experiences are different in many ways, I
heard similarities in some of our LGBT+
church related experiences. I didn’t agree
with all her opinions, particularly around
others being or not being homophobic in
the church, but it still made for a thoughtprovoking
and good listen.
The podcast would make for good
listening for non-LGBT+ people too
and may help provide a good level of
understanding of what some LGBT+
Christians experience in some less
understanding church settings.
MOVEMENT Issue 159
I was a bit wary about watching this
to start with, but by the end of the first
episode I was hooked! As you’d expect
with a name like Sex Education and an
18 certificate, there are a fair few sex
scenes and many sexual discussions, but
it’s actually about so much more. It is a
series about how everyone is different, the
importance of being true to yourself and
going at your own pace, about friendship,
working your way through sixth-form,
peer pressure, expectations and everything
The characters are instantly likeable,
and their stories are well woven together
throughout – I loved them all, and it felt
like they all added something to the plot. It
turned out to be the best series I’ve watched
in a long time and I was sad to reach the
end. It feels like they’ve left the story open
for a second series, and I can’t wait for it!
WHAT IS THE
I’ve been an avid listener of Rob Bell’s
podcast for years, so when I heard his new
book was coming out I picked up a copy as
soon as I could.
It walks us through some well-loved
passages and stories from the Bible, and
teaches us to see them from a different
perspective, or adds a small detail which
would have been obvious to listeners at the
time but which is lost on modern readers,
giving us a whole new way to understand
what’s being said.
As well as doing this, Bell gives us the tools
we need to ask the right questions about
the texts while we’re reading them, my
favourite being ‘Why did people bother
writing this down?’ He has studied ancient
Hebrew texts for years, and his vast
understanding of the scriptures is made
accessible and engaging in this book.
If you’ve ever struggled with where to start
reading the bible, or how to understand
what these strange stories written
thousands of years ago have to do with us
today, then I would definitely recommend
Created by Laurie Nunn
Directed by Ben Taylor
Available on Netflix
What is the Bible?
42 MOVEMENT Issue 159
MOVEMENT Issue 159
student christian movement
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