Movement Magazine Issue 163






LOUDON: Ellen Loudon:

Rules for Christian

Activists and reflections

on calling. PAGE 11



Four graduates share

their church placement

experiences. PAGE 16


A perspective on

calling from a career

development researcher.




TOGETHER: Creating

community in a time of

social distancing. PAGE 38



NEWS 5-7



ELLEN 11-15


Ellen Loudon: Author of 12 Rules

for Christian Activists shares

the process of the book and her

reflections on collaboration, a

dynamic sense of calling, and

ecumenical bees.




Four graduate members of SCM

share their experience of spending

a year serving local churches in lay

ministry placements.



Not all vocations are lived out


through 9-5 jobs – Nathan explores

how he found his calling in voluntary

work outside his regular job.




An insight into the racial inequalities

Black members of SCM have come

up against at uni, taken from our

Black History Month live panel




Members of the SCM community

share sustainable changes they’ve

made to the way they eat, along

with recipes to inspire you.

2 MOVEMENT Issue 163




Career development researcher Gill

Frigerio shares her insight into what

a vocation is, how we can find ours,

and how we can live it out through

our work.





CofE Vocations Adviser Ellie Clack on

discerning a call to ordained ministry,

and living life in all its fullness.




Four SCM members share how they

chose their degree, and how they’ve

discovered a calling within their


28-31 HOW THE






Sam Daly reflects on the journey

SCM Online has taken since March,

the community we’ve built, and the

student leadership making it happen.

NO NAME 40-41



A poem on the grief, diversity and

hope of trans* people of faith,

created by the SCM community

at our Transgender Day of

Remembrance service.

MOVEMENT Issue 163


Welcome to Issue 163

of Movement magazine!

This issue of Movement is all about vocation. What we do, why

we do it, and how it links to who we are. In truth, this hasn’t been

the easiest theme to focus on, at a time when lots of us have lost

our sense of purpose or at the very least, opportunities to live out

this purpose. I hope that this edition of Movement will help you

to reflect on your vocation, whatever that is and however you

want to live it.

In addition to our normal group news and book reviews, we have

some features in this issue you wouldn’t usually find in Movement.

This edition contains recipes for sustainable eating, designed to

help you live out your vocation as a citizen of Earth! We also

have a poem from SCM’s Trans Day of Remembrance service

and an excerpt from the movement’s Black History Month panel.

These pieces serve as a timely reminder of our responsibilities to

others, which is intrinsically linked to how we live our lives.

For this issue, we were lucky enough to talk to Ellen Loudon,

the author of 12 Rules for Christian Activists. We also hear from

Gill Frigerio, an academic from the University of Warwick who

researches Christian vocation and careers. Offering us another

insight into vocation is Rev. Ellie Clack, Diocesan Director of

Ordinands and Diocesan Vocations Adviser for the Diocese of

Coventry. These three articles provide wisdom and insight into

the idea of vocation from three distinct viewpoints.

As well as hearing from experts on vocation, we hear from

members of the movement about their vocations, including how

they chose their degrees and experiences of church-related

internships. This includes a piece by yours truly about finding

meaning outside of employment.

I hope you are interested and inspired by this issue of Movement.

If you’d like to read more about how people found their vocation

or what exactly vocation means, SCM’s Called to Be resource

can be found in the resources section of our website.



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.

SCM staff: CEO: Naomi Nixon, Operations

Manager: Lisa Murphy, Comms and Marketing

Officer: Ruth Harvey, Regional Development

Worker (North East) and Faith in Action

Project Worker: Emma Temple, Regional

Development Worker (Scotland) and LGBTQ+

Lead: Caitlin Wakefield, Regional Development

Worker (Midlands) and SCM Connect Project

Worker: Rob Chivers, Church and Community

Fundraiser: Simon Densham, Administration

and Finance Officer: Deanna Davis, Senior

Administrator: Callum Fisher.

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.

© 2020 Student Christian Movement

Design: &

4 MOVEMENT Issue 163




October was Black History Month in

the UK and to mark it SCM hosted a

panel live on Facebook called ‘The

Black Student Experience.’ This was

a conversation about the education

system, mental health, and the

Black narrative. The discussion was

chaired by SCM’s Deanna Davis

and she was joined by Augustine

Ihm, Dami Oyedepo, and Vanessa

Fundi. It was a very informative

and eye-opening talk, and viewers

commented that it gave them lots

of food for thought about how SCM

can better engage in racial justice.

You can watch that conversation on

SCM’s Facebook page, and read an

excerpt on page 21 of this issue of


SCM Online was also joined by Paul

Davis for an anti-racism workshop.

Paul is the Equality, Diversity and

Inclusion Advisor to the Home

Office, and the workshop focused

on how we can increase our

awareness of our own thoughts and

actions, our awareness of others,

and of issues of inequality. As a

student led, progressive movement,

it is good for us to reflect on

our anti-racism journey, and this

workshop provided members with

the skills and knowledge to speak

out against racial injustice.





In October SCM’s Campaigns

Group, inspired by anger at the

news of the government’s rejection

of Marcus Rashford’s campaign on

holiday hunger, drew together to

publish a statement condemning

the government for their failure to

act. We encouraged members from

across the movement to write to

their MP using a template drafted

by SCM member Josh Mock,

either asking them to reconsider if

they voted against, or expressing

gratitude if they voted in favour of

providing free school meals during

the holidays.

The government have since

U-turned on their decision

regarding free school meals and

agreed to provide a Covid Winter

Grant Scheme to cover the cost

of free school meals, marking a

huge campaign win for Marcus

Rashford and the organisations

who supported him.

An excerpt from the statement is

as follows:

‘Seeking justice is one of SCM’s

core aims. We are a movement who

value putting faith into action to seek

a more just world, hoping to see the

Kingdom of God built on Earth.

So we must express our anger at

the government for voting against

providing funding to feed children

during school holidays. In the words

of Marcus Rashford, ‘This is not

politics, this is humanity.’… We pray

that through our actions, inspired

by our faith, the hearts of those in

power may be opened to build a

more just society.’

The full statement can be found at

MOVEMENT Issue 163





The 9th – 13th of November was

Interfaith Week. To mark it SCM

teamed up with Interfaith Glasgow

to run a joint event: ‘Scriptural

Reasoning 101.’ With guests from

the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian

faiths, attendees learned about

the history and significance of

Scriptural Reasoning, and were then

given a demonstration using texts

from scripture about leadership.

This led to some interesting

discussion and questions from

those attending. Many members

of SCM attended, and now that

they’ve had a taste of it, they will

be able to run Scriptural Reasoning

workshops themselves, allowing

SCM groups to engage more fully in

interfaith dialogue.



To commemorate Trans Day of

Remembrance members of SCM

Online took part in three events.

On the 16th of November trans

members of SCM ran a workshop

called ‘Trans People of Faith’ in

which attendees learned about

and discussed four notable trans

people of faith – Revd Rachel Mann,

Mauree Turner, Victoria Kolakowski,

and Pauli Murray. Uncovering our

trans Christian heritage is incredibly

important to SCM’s trans and

LGBQ+ community, and learning

about these influential figures

together was wonderful.

On the 19th of November SCM

Online hosted activist Savi

Hensman, who delivered a talk

titled ‘Towards LGBT+ affirmation in

the church: a century of change?’

Savi took members through the

changes that have happened

during her lifetime, and pointed to

the places in which the Church is

yet to change. There was a lot of

discussion from attendees about

the changes that are necessary

for the Church to be LGBTQ+

affirmating and we left with a sense

that although the battle might seem

tough, we are ready to fight the

good fight!

On the 20th of November SCM

held a Trans Day of Remembrance

vigil and prayer service. Organised

by trans members of SCM, the

vigil was open to all members and

friends, whether they were trans

or trans allies. The vigil began with

a poem written and read by Tom

Rudd of Anxious Anarchist Poetry.

Members of SCM then read aloud

the names of all those trans people

murdered in the last year, more

than 350 individuals. We finished

with a time of reflection and prayer,

during which those present wrote

a line expressing their thoughts,

hopes, and desires for the trans

community. These were collated

into a poem which you can read on

page 40 of this issue of Movement.



In response to the ongoing

conversations in the Church of

England surrounding Living in

Love and Faith, members of SCM

co-ordinated and created a series

of videos called A More Beautiful

Story. These featured the voices

and stories of LGBTQ+ people

of faith, reflecting on their lives,

loves, relationships, and church

experiences. The first video

premiered on the 23rd of November

and at the time of writing has 6.9k

views on twitter alone.

Josh Mock, a founding member of

the response group, said, “It was

humbling to see so many people

getting involved in our project

and sharing stories with us. I

want to thank everyone for their

vulnerability and look forward to

where our project goes next.”

You can view the whole playlist on

SCM’s YouTube channel: SCMBritain

The More Beautiful Story project is

being developed into a long-term

project that will look into LGBTQ+


MOVEMENT Issue 163

experiences, theology, and the

Living in Love and Faith material.

If you would like more information

or would like to be involved please

contact our LGBTQ+ Rep Louise

Dover at

uk or our LGBTQ+ staff lead, Caitlin

Wakefield at caitlin@movement.



On the 21st of November SCM ran

a national event on the theme of

our new Daily Bread campaign. At

our AGM in March, members voted

for our next campaign focus to be

food justice, and this event marked

the launch of the first topic in the

campaign, food poverty in the UK.

First we heard from Revd Heston

Groenewald, vicar of All Hallows

Church Leeds, which has been

serving as a food bank during the

pandemic, feeding thousands of

local residents who have been

hit hard by unemployment and

hardship. He walked us through the

promise throughout the scriptures

that God will feed the hungry,

focusing on Walter Brueggeman’s

idea that ‘God is shown in making

the empty full.’

Our main speaker was Niall

Cooper, director of Church Action

on Poverty. He led us through a

theological reflection model using

‘See, Judge, Act’ to think through

how we can act in true solidarity

with experts by experience of food

poverty. He challenged us to think

about how we can work in our SCM

groups to gather wisdom from local

experts by experience, to bring

back and plan a follow up action as

a national movement next term.

Finally, we had a workshop on

political poetry from activist and

Poet in Digital Residence for

Church Action on Poverty, Matt

Sowerby. Matt spoke to us about

how poetry is an art form that can

hold the nuance of complex political

situations, and arts like poetry can

be used to create pockets of the

utopia we wish society to become.

After practising some free writing

and creating protest chants, we

wrote our own poems reflecting on

everything we had learned through

the afternoon.

We closed in Ignatian reflective

prayers led by chaplain to the

University of York, Catherine Reid.

The event was a great opportunity

to come together as a movement

and think about how we can

respond to this topical issue. One

participant said of the event, ‘SCM

has helped me realise that I am

not the only one experiences the

injustices of this world, and it gives

me hope for the future.’




This term, SCM has signed up on

the ‘Give as You Live’ fundraising

platform, a simple and free way

that students, members and friends

of the movement can donate just

by shopping online.

The pandemic has created a

difficult financial situation for

many charities, with funding being

spread more thinly due to increased

hardship and emergency funds,

as well as donating becoming

harder for those who have been

furloughed or become unemployed,

so we wanted to make supporting

SCM as easy and affordable as

possible. The platform is partnered

with over 4,000 stores who have

agreed to donate to chosen

charities; simply by clicking through

the website or app to get to your

usual online stores like eBay, Just

Eat and TrainLine, a percentage of

your shop is automatically donated

when you make a purchase as


With sites such as Etsy and Hive

books included, it is possible to

support independent businesses

through the platform as well as

larger stores. During the pandemic,

more and more of us have been

relying on online shopping for

essentials we would usually just nip

into town and buy, so the platform

has come at an ideal time for us as

an organisation.

To sign up today and start

supporting SCM financially

without giving a penny simply

visit, create

an account, and select Student

Christian Movement as your chosen

charity to start giving.

MOVEMENT Issue 163





At the beginning of this year, we met in the Faith and

Reflection Centre every Monday evening, joining the

chaplains for pasta, and then enjoying tea and cake as

we discussed the Bible. At the beginning of March, Helen

Paynter, the director of the Centre for the Study of Bible

and Violence, joined us to speak about violence in the Old

Testament. A large number of us also went to the National

Gathering in March, “Known by Name”, which was an

amazing experience, and we all really enjoyed meeting

other SCM members from across the country.

Since lockdown we have been meeting online, and this term

we’ve been looking at the theme of “Living a Cross-Shaped

Life”. We started the term by looking at who Jesus is to us

and have spent a couple of evenings in prayerful silence

enjoying the peace and the break from the craziness of

life at the moment, along with a few bible discussions. At

the beginning of November, we were joined by SCM’s own

Simon Densham, who led us in a bible discussion focusing

on fundraising. Later on this month, we will be joined by

Emma Temple to lead a Food Poverty workshop, then Naomi

will join us at the end of the term to wrap up our theme of

“Living a Cross-Shaped Life” with a prayer evening.

Lots of our members graduated over the summer, so

please pray for us as we try to grow and discern God’s

plan for our future.



So, what have we done this term? Should be a simple

question to answer, for sure. But nothing’s simple in 2020!

Like everyone else, we had to move the majority of our

events and resources online. I think we made a pretty

good go of it though! Firstly, in September, we released an

introduction video on our Facebook page which was shared

pretty widely, and I think was rather good. We also compiled

a brochure of local churches and their styles of worship,

stance on theological issues, etc. It should have been a

physical brochure that we got to hand out at Freshers

Fairs but alas! A PDF will have to do. In October we ran our

annual church shopping event on all four Sundays, where

we go to a church together with Freshers to make it less

intimidating. Of course this year it was all via Zoom, but we

got some good engagement regardless, and the churches

we chose were certainly happy to see some new faces!

But it hasn’t all been zooming and Facebook events –

we got to do prayer meetings face-to-face! With the

exception of the two weeks that Wales was in a national

firebreak lockdown, we held half-hour prayer meetings in

the Anglican Chaplaincy every Wednesday afternoon, and

it was lovely. We were all masked up and appropriately

distanced, but it was lovely to see everyone, and it was

lovely to be able to share a moment of peace and prayer.

Next term – who knows! I’ll get busy planning…



MOVEMENT Issue 163


Hello from Warwick SCM! We have been working hard

to implement changes to show that we have joined up

with the Student Christian Movement. Our official name

change was a particularly proud moment for us – it’s now

all gorgeous and official on our university’s Student Union

website. We also have a brand-new Facebook page which

we post to regularly to try to encourage more interaction

from our members. It has been a lot of fun promoting

and participating in events run by SCM, such as the

Trans People of Faith Workshop and the Black Student

Experience panel – which our very own exec members,

Dami and Vanessa, took part in! So proud!

However, we have also been creating our own events,

targeted at Warwick students. COVID-19 has made this

a lot harder, since we used to rely on the warm, informal

atmosphere of our weekly gatherings in person after the

Church on Campus services. Nevertheless, with modern

technology comes new and exciting ways to gather. In

Freshers’ Week, we hosted an online pub quiz. It went

down a treat and was really fun to make. Vanessa hosted a

coffee catch up when we were first promoted as the new

exec, and we continue to create these cosy, informal events

for general chatting, working with the chaplaincy at our

university to promote the weekly Church on Campus socials.


At Christian Focus, we have had a great variety of

events, from mindful colouring and Taizé, to an interfaith

discussion with other faith societies at York. A highlight

was a talk from Dr Anthony Reddie about Black liberation

theology and its relationship to the Black Lives Matter

movement. We learned a lot about the history of Black

liberation theology from the Atlantic slave trade, and of

its relevance today. On this theme, in a peace workshop

with Emma from SCM we watched a video from the civil

rights movement and discussed how we can use peaceful

protest to encourage change. We also discussed different

types of peace such as personal, social and political peace

– what they mean to us, how they interact, and what the

Bible has to say on them. Recently we had a quiz where

we were joined by members of SCM from all over the

country, which was great fun! It was lovely to meet new

people while getting our competitive faces on, and there

was much agreement that we should have another joint

quiz soon – so keep your eyes out for another one! Overall,

I think we’ve made the most of a term run entirely on

zoom and it’s been great to meet and hear from people

further away.


Our main priority here at Warwick SCM is to create an

inclusive, welcoming environment. We really want to

emphasise that our society is a safe space for everyone,

regardless of faith, gender, sexuality, ethnicity. Thus, we

ensured that we included the Pride and Black Lives Matter

flags in the banners that we use on our websites to get

this message across.


MOVEMENT Issue 163 9



This term, despite our groups being moved almost

entirely online, we have said hello to some new

SCM communities that our dedicated members

have set up and run during lockdown. We asked

them to introduce themselves here!


SCM Coventry came about through SCM trustee Emilia

and another student, James, wanting to create an

inclusive Christian space for students in Coventry, as there

previously wasn’t anything like SCM in the city. We’ve

been running since October 2020. The group is linked to St

Clare’s at the Cathedral, where in time we will be meeting.

Our group is small (there’s six of us at the moment), but

we’ve enjoyed getting to know each other and figuring out

what our group will look like. Starting a new group entirely

online is interesting, but it’s going well! We’ve been

running a range of activities weekly, such as discussions

– topics so far include Christian resistance, Living in Love

and Faith, and Trans Day of Remembrance. We’ve also

had socials and crafts such as origami. By the end of the

academic year we’re hoping the group can meet in person!



There are SCM groups hidden in all different corners of

the country, with new ones popping up here and there all

the time. It was a shock to me therefore before I came to

London that it didn’t have one yet. This was a shame for

me as I felt an SCM group would be a great comfort to me

as I adjusted to life in London. Luckily I wasn’t the only one

who felt like that. So a small group of us determined to build

community across London got going. It wasn’t easy, a global

pandemic meant that we couldn’t meet as a traditional

group and the nature of London meant that we were all over

the city. So far we have only been meeting on Zoom, but

through that we have still managed to build a core group

and have engaging discussions about peace, scripture and

community. We don’t know what the future holds but with

the energy and enthusiasm we have I am sure it is bright.



SCM Oxford got off to a very exciting start this term! Within

a few weeks, we had already started running our discussion

events and building bridges with churches, other faith

societies and secular groups in our pursuit of love. We

have been vocal on being LGBT+ affirming and anti-racist

and have been deeply encouraged by all the support from

across the student body. In a very digital and sociallydistanced

age, SCM Oxford has not only been connecting

with students at Oxford but with students from all over the

world! From calling out homophobia in Oxford churches to

standing up for peace and divestment, we continue to be

immersed in Oxford life. And, most excitingly, we continue

to grow from strength to strength!



MOVEMENT Issue 163




MOVEMENT Issue 163


Hi Ellen! Tell us a bit about who you are and what

you do, and how you came to be doing what you do.

I’m Ellen Loudon, I’m Canon Chancellor at Liverpool

Cathedral, and Director of Social Justice for the Diocese

of Liverpool. I live in Liverpool and was ordained in

2008 at Liverpool Cathedral. Before that I was a senior

lecturer in drama at Edge Hill University. So that’s where

I’ve come from; I’ve had loads of various jobs, and I have

a PhD in Music Hall, 19th Century popular performance!

So what does being Director of Social Justice entail?

There are a number of things that the role requires of

me, one is to enable, help, and encourage churches to

participate in social justice actions, and to take social

justice seriously within their communities. Every church

will be doing that in a different way, and it’s not my job to

tell them how to do it, but to encourage them to engage.

Mainly I work with churches who have a particular

interest in social justice. I’m also advisor for the voluntary

community faith and social enterprise sector (VCFSE) to

the Metro Mayor, which puts the sector and particularly

faith on the table of the political and regional forum. I

think it’s an important thing for us as people of faith to

engage in the civic structures, and to be able to speak in

an informed way.

You recently released the book 12 Rules for

Christian Activists – what inspired you to write the

book, and how did it come about?

Well, do you know Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for

Life? When I saw that, it seemed to me that while I

don’t fundamentally disagree with his rules, they’re

quite egocentric. They’re driven largely by the idea

that by striving, we can achieve anything. And there

is something useful in that, but the assumption that

anybody can get what they want just by working really

hard doesn’t recognise the struggles of everyday life,

and doesn’t recognise the privilege that some people

have, so that striving is so much easier for some than


After reading it

I was frustrated

by the lack

of communal

sentiment in

the book, and it

provoked me to

think: what are

my rules for life?

What are the

things that steer

me, and help

me define my

work? So I started

working on that

for myself, and

then realised I had

something I could contribute to larger debates about

activism – why we do it, how we do it, and the impact of

it. There are lots of types of activism – not just marches

or tethering ourselves to gates, but things like prayer,

placards and protests. I looked at the ways individuals

and church communities have set up rules for life, have

tried to frame their life and their activism and their

way of being, and I came up with these 12 rules. I also

realised that one of my rules was to collaborate, so it

seemed like it would be a good idea to do that! Writing

a book on my own didn’t seem like doing the activism

that I’d said was important. So being able to collaborate

with other people on the book was a real blessing, and

I think it has given the book a breadth and depth that it

wouldn’t have had if I’d written it all myself. provoked me to think:

what are my rules for

life? What are the things

that steer me, and help

me define my work? So

I started working on

that for myself, and then

realised I had something I

could contribute to larger

debates about activism...

That really comes across in the book – most of the

rules come back to relationship, encounter with

other people, and community – why do you think

that is so important in our activism?

I think it’s because activism doesn’t really make any

sense if we’re doing it for ourselves, in our own little

private bubbles. And it’s also a good way of checking

12 MOVEMENT Issue 163

whether our activism is right – if you’re able to have good

relationships and to collaborate with others it can be a

much more living, fruitful thing. I don’t think we’re made

to be solo creatures, we are made to be in community,

and to make change happen communally. All the rules

come down to how we have fruitful relationships. The first

story in the Bible is about God making relationships, with

God, with the universe, with creation, and ultimately with

people, and that that continues to be the lifeblood of the

way that we live.

You mentioned before that a lot of activism is viewed

as something more ‘extrovert’ people do; going out

with placards, being in big crowds, often quite noisy

and angry. What are the ways that people who don’t

feel called to that kind of activism, people who might

be more ‘introverted’, can get involved in activism?

There’s lots of different ways, I don’t know if you know

Sarah Corbett and her craftivism? Her parents write a

chapter in the book, and so Sarah’s craftivism work is an

inspiration – for introverts, those of us who get exhausted,

those of us who still want to be activists even when we’re

absolutely wiped out. That’s one way, but there are lots

of other ways gentle protest can happen – letter writing

such as the work that Amnesty International does with

campaigns writing to political prisoners. There’s also lots

of online petitions, and being selective and clear about

your rationale for signing those, and doing some gentle

research so that you can articulate the concerns that the

petition highlights, to be as informed about it as you can


Those are particular ways, but in the book Richard

Peers talks about treading carefully and going gently,

and as an activist that is really important. Don’t just fly

headlong into protests, but think about what the impact

will be, and behave in the most appropriate way for the

particular injustice you’re challenging. That might be

praying, reflecting, writing, reading; sometimes it’s about

doing nothing until it’s time and there are collaborators

who can help you.

What was your favourite rule of the book? Or

perhaps which rule do you think is the most relevant

for the current times?

It’s tricky, because it changes, and it depends on where I

am – that’s the great thing about having 12! I discovered

that I kept on moving the order around when I was writing,

so you can dip in and out of them in whatever order you

like. I always come back to ‘Collaborate’, collaboration is

a basic tenet, and I also always come back to ‘Be Useful’,

because there’s no point in engaging in activism if it isn’t

going to be focused, if you haven’t worked out what the

impact is going to be and whether that piece of activism

is actually needed.

One of the rules that stood out to me was ‘People

before Programmes’ where you talked about the

Church, rather than having a heart for the poor,

having the poor at its heart. How do you think we

can go about that as the Church? My church, the

Church of England is such a privileged institution

– how do we transform our church to put people

before programmes and have the poor at its heart?

MOVEMENT Issue 163 13

One of the things that’s sinking in for me is solidarity

before charity. If you’re acting in solidarity with people,

and if you’re engaging with people in a very open and

transparent way, it’s difficult to put a programme ahead

of them. We’re not talking about individuals, it’s about the

institution acting in solidarity with people. Recognising our

privilege becomes one of the really important first steps,

because once you do that it becomes difficult to put

programmes ahead of people. I think that as our privilege

wanes, and there’s a chip at it, perhaps we will start

to see ourselves in a slightly different way. That’s quite

difficult to do, but I think it is important. I find myself being

much more effective as an activist if I act out of solidarity,

standing alongside people.

Some Christians are involved in activism, but not all.

What do you think is the main thing that prevents

Christians from getting involved with activism and

taking action for social justice?

It’s complex because there are lots of different reasons. I

imagine that fear might be one of them. It might be about

tradition and culture. There might be a political element

to it, they might feel that activism is a work of the Left,

and not necessarily a work that comes from faith but from

politics. It might be that our social teaching about justice

has in some traditions come second to teaching about


I think there is also a feeling that the very nature of our

faith is about activism. Evangelism, bringing people to

Christ, is in itself a form of activism. So they’re already

engaging through their evangelism in the mission of God,

and therefore the social justice, the transformation of

people’s lives, has occurred through people coming to

faith. Obviously what I think is that social justice is the

work of all Christians, so while I can understand why for

some Christians that wouldn’t be their primary focus, I

can’t separate those two things from themselves.

So lot of Christians are already involved in activism,

they just wouldn’t call it that?

Yes. And if we believe that coming to faith is in and of

itself enough, then the next challenge is when we see

inequality, poverty, abuse – what do we do with that,

and how do we answer those questions that people who

come to faith have about those issues? If coming to faith

is all that we need, then why do those things still exist?

The theme of this issue of Movement is vocation – you

say in the conclusion of the book that ‘massive change

happens for us when we start to take seriously the

call of God and begin to be molded into the person

God has called us to be.’ What advice do you have

for people

who are trying

to discern

that call, and

trying to work

out what kind

of activism or

work they’re

being called to

in the world?

Finding out who you’ve been

called to be by God is one of

the most beautiful things

about our faith, and it’s not

static, so who we are in our

authentic selves and who

we are in relationship with

God is always in movement.

Finding out who

you’ve been

called to be

by God is one

of the most beautiful things about our faith, and it’s not

static, so who we are in our authentic selves and who we

are in relationship with God is always in movement. This is

something that the 12 rules can help with because there

is balance and movement there. If these 12 rules help

you, please use them, but if it helps you to find your own

rules to explore what God is calling you to – do that!

For me, writing a book was a process of change and an

acknowledgment that my relationship with God is not

static. For most of us faith is a journey, and maturing in

capacity and depth and breadth of faith is what we’re


MOVEMENT Issue 163

called to do. So if you do participate in one piece of social

action, or one part of deepening your heart and your soul

in faith, that isn’t the end but potentially a stepping stone

to even more. Everyone’s journey is different, and everyone

will recall their journey in a different way; life isn’t like a

novel or a film, it’s far more complex and interesting than


A lot of people seem to see vocation as a lightning bolt

call moment, then following that for the rest of your

life, but I love the idea that it’s dynamic.

We tend to think: ‘Once I know what job I’m supposed to

have, once I get ordained or become a teacher or become

a poet or whatever, once I know that then that’s it, that’s

what I’ll be,’ and actually there’s no reason you couldn’t be

a teacher who’s a poet who’s a priest. It’s not static at all.

And no one’s just one thing are they.

No, and life makes other things happen. So if you think ‘I’ve

got this wonderful job’ and then either something tragic

or something amazingly beautiful happens in your life that

changes that, it’s being prepared to ‘roll with the punches.’

It’s more complex than that but it’s about being agile

enough in your faith to embrace change.

The last thing I wanted to ask about was that somebody

told me you’re involved in a project with ecumenical

bees?! And I wanted to know about that because it

sounds amazing!

Well, it’s not one of my projects! I don’t know if you know

Liverpool at all, but it has two cathedrals, at either end of

a street called Hope Street – you couldn’t make this up!

The Anglican Cathedral is at one end, and at the other end

is the Catholic cathedral. Both of the cathedrals have bee

hives, and the bees work between the two. So the bee man

collects the honey from the hives, and it’s sold at both the

Anglican and the Catholic cathedrals. We’re trying to work

together on similar types of projects; wild flower planting,

green spaces. We’re also trying to plant an ecumenical

forest, which might end up being an interfaith forest! It’s

part of our call to be net carbon zero, we’re thinking about

whether that’s something that we can work on together

with our Catholic and other ecumenical colleagues. That

would be really exciting!

You’d have a whole ecumenical woodland! What is it

about ecumenism that you are drawn to?

It’s one of those things that historically has always been

very important to Liverpool. In the past it’s been a bit of

a sectarian city, and bishops David Sheppard and Derek

Worlock decided to forge a relationship that acknowledged

difference but worked on the common good. They didn’t

take their ecumenical responsibilities lightly, they stuck very

clearly to their theological traditions while working together.

I think we are called to be the people of God, but as things

are we aren’t sitting in unity. But seeking the common good

means that we have to have conversations with each other,

that are not necessarily going to be easy. The common good

isn’t about finding common ground, it’s about peeling away

until we find what the common good is. It might not be that

liturgically we can worship together in the fullest sense, but

we might be able to make social change happen together.

That’s been my experience. Working with my Catholic

colleagues has borne much fruit and is very important.

Thank you! You can find Ellen on twitter @ellenloudon

and you can find her book 12 Rules for Christian

Activists wherever you buy your books.

MOVEMENT Issue 163 15



SCM is not just for current students – many of our members are recent

graduates, exploring where they are called to find home and work after

their time studying. Here, four SCM members share their experience of

spending a year doing placements with local churches, and what they’ve

learned along the way about themselves, their calling, and their faith.


Like many of my peers the lack of a smooth transition

between the end of University and the adult world meant

that when I finished my degree I immediately had to work

out what I would do with the next stage of my life while a

global pandemic carried on in the background. I was in the

Church of England vocations process but that hardly counts

for certainty. So in order to gain more experience of what

ministry would be like in a different context to the rural church

that I am familiar with I applied to be a Parish Assistant in

Putney. After an anxious summer of waiting and wondering if

I would actually get to go in September I finally arrived.

My experiences of being a Parish Assistant so far feel a bit like

being a human Swiss Army Knife. There are different tasks

every day where I have to tap into different skills and assets

that I have. One morning recently I sat in and participated fully

with our Toddler Group, then I slipped back to the office to tidy

up some admin, then a homeless man came into the Church

looking for help and I managed to get hold of his caseworker

for him, and after that I got to work repairing our old font

for a baptism that week. Each of those scenarios called for

My experiences

of being a Parish

Assistant so far

feel a bit like being

a human Swiss

Army Knife.

a different response and a

different use of my time, but

I found my sense of ministry

and calling in each of them.

Sometimes this need to

spread oneself so thinly

can be entirely draining.

Statistically speaking the

more things you have to do

the more chance there is of

getting something wrong. But in the congregation in Putney

I couldn’t have found a more supportive group to help me on

this journey. Everyone is warm, friendly, and engaging, and I

have learnt so much from our conversations together.

Being in Putney has helped affirm my vocation and calling

to live and work in the Church. The rest of the journey is

not all in my hands and I await to see what is instore for me

next. But if anyone else is finishing university and discerning

a call, I would enthusiastically recommend a year work in the

Church to truly get to experience ministry first hand.

16 MOVEMENT Issue 163


As I came towards the end of my masters and was

trying to work out what I wanted to do next, I began to

feel a strange pull to work in a church. After five years

of studying theology and having the great privilege of

spending a lot of time reading and writing about ideas

that excited and interested me, I wanted to spend some

time outside the academic context, and try to explore

what theology meant in a more practical context. I began

exploring my options and became aware of a placement

available in the

parish of St Peter’s

and All Saints,

Nottingham. In

June 2019, I

came to visit the

parish and was

interviewed for the

role, was offered it,

and moved here at

the start of October

to begin work.

Despite all the challenges

of the last year – and

perhaps in some ways

because of them – I

have learned a lot

about myself and about

ministry, and it has been

time of deep personal

growth and learning.

The last year or so

has been a very

unusual time for all

of us, and this has been no less true for those of us

working in a parish context. It’s become a cliché to say,

but COVID-19 has disrupted almost everything about

our normal lives, and when so much of my ministry had

previously been grounded in presence and embodiment,

in showing up and seeing people, it’s been a real

challenge to find ways to support our congregations

and community when, for our own safety, we have had

to remain apart for long periods of time. Fortunately,

however, we have been able to be creative – like everyone

else, we have made good use of Zoom. I am grateful to

have had nearly six months in the parish before arriving,

which meant that I already

knew some people quite

well, and with the support of

my incumbent, I have been

able to build upon these

relationships during lockdown

and social distancing. Despite

all the challenges of the last

year – and perhaps in some

ways because of them – I have

learned a lot about myself and

about ministry, and it has been

time of deep personal growth

and learning.

When I first arrived in the parish, a lot of the congregation

were asking me whether I was intending to train for ordination.

My reply was always something along the lines of “no, that’s

not something I want to do. If God calls me, then I guess I’ll

do it, but God had really better not call me”. I was absolutely

adamant that I was not and did not want to be called to

priesthood; my intention was to just be here for a year or

two, and then to go back to university to study for a PhD

in theology. God must have a sense of humour, I suppose,

because since then I have had several conversations that

have made me pause and rethink – somewhat unexpectedly,

I have felt God (and other people) saying to me that my

vocation is something I need to consider, that perhaps this

is who I am called to be. It’s early days still; I have not yet

entered the formal discernment process, but am simply

taking time to pray, read, and talk to as many people as I

can to see where this might take me. It’s both exciting and

scary – I am having to let go of much of what I had imagined

for my future, but at the same time a whole new world of

possibilities is opening up. I am not yet certain about any of

it, but I am trying my best to trust in God and be completely

open to God’s plan for me.

MOVEMENT Issue 163



The last time I wrote on vocation for SCM, I was a Baptist

minister in training. Now, I’m on placement in an Anglo-

Catholic parish church in East London, discerning a call to

ordained ministry in the Church of England.

To cut a very long story short: as an undergraduate,

I began falling in love with some of the multisensory,

mystical elements of catholic spirituality. At the same time,

I was discovering queer-affirming

Anglican spaces where I felt able

I am here, and

to be more fully myself. During

I am enough, my master’s, I began to yield to

the idea that, maybe, I could be

and it is so very

called to priesthood in the CofE,


and started worshipping at an

Anglo-Catholic church in Oxford. I

was just beginning to find my feet, preparing for confirmation

and working with a vocations advisor when the pandemic hit,

and everything had to be put on hold.

This year, as I’m sure many of you have experienced, has

been one of displacement and discomfort.

‘No place looks like itself, loss of outline

Makes everything look strangely in-between,

Unsure of what has been, or what might come.’ 1

It had already been such a strange

year; rather than being ordained

as a Baptist minister in 2019, I

was setting out on the unwieldy,

unchartered waters of the CofE,

trying to find a new home.

Amongst all the ever-shifting

uncertainties the last year has held,

putting down roots at St Matthew’s

Bethnal Green has been such a gift.

When I got in touch with the Rector

here, Erin Clark, I’d just finished

her chapter in the Book of Queer

Prophets, which ends: ‘There is room enough: come and be

enough.’ 2 The invitation she extends in this chapter is God’s

invitation wherever we find ourselves; to be enough before

God, enough to receive God’s call to love and be loved. At

St Matthew’s, that message is slowly sinking into my heart.

I don’t need to prove anything, here. I just get to be, and

learn, and love, and be loved, and it’s wonderful. It’s church

just as beautiful and broken as any other; but for now it’s

home, and it’s where God has called me to remember once

more that God desires good things for us. I am here, and I am

enough, and it is so very good.


John O’Donohue, ‘For the Interim Time’ in To Bless the Space Between Us (New York: Doubleday, 2008)


Erin Clark, ‘Notes on Passing’ in The Book of Queer Prophets, ed. by Ruth Hunt (London: William Collins, 2020)

18 MOVEMENT Issue 163


After university, I found a job at the Office for National

Statistics and spent a year learning to do adult life on my

own. I wanted to experience what it meant to pay bills, to

be lonely, to move into a new neighbourhood and have to

integrate into the community. I sometimes joked that people

took gap years to work for churches and that I was doing the

opposite by deliberately avoiding overly Christian bubbles. In

all honesty, this year was also good for me mentally, as I felt

intellectually burned out after the third year of university, and

at least for a little while couldn’t face looking at another book.

During the course of my year at the ONS, the ache and pull

to Christian work didn’t go away. I would sometimes lay

up at night wondering why I was worrying about statistics

and management information when there were people

in my very community going hungry. This pull of vocation

came to a head in the Summer of 2020, when my friend

Louise and I spent some weeks praying and chatting about

our callings and the options available for church work. We

both knew and recognised the pull of God in our lives but

were struggling somewhat with the number of unpaid and

un-inclusive positions that were available to us as recent

graduates. In recent years, Church internships and gap years

have become increasingly popular as entry points to Church

work, and participation in these schemes is often seen as

a basic prerequisite for ministry. While often well intended,

the sad reality for the majority of these schemes is that they

are either unpaid or, in the most extreme scenarios, expect

participants to contribute upwards of thousands of pounds

for participation.

Because of the way these schemes are arranged they are not

a realistic option for those whose parents cannot afford to

financially support them during the year, and both Louise and

I fell firmly in this camp. This was a matter we felt particularly

strongly about because a large number of gifted and called

individuals are being kept out of ministry simply by virtue of

not being in a financial position to work for free. And yet, at

the end of July, I found out both that I had been re-posted to

work in the private office of the minister of the DWP, and that

I had lost my tenancy because

my landlord was selling the

flat. When I had joined the

civil service, I had always

prayed to God about certain

red lines I would not cross,

and the placement I was given

was a clear indication to me

that God was preparing me

for something different. The

inescapable itch that I had felt

was now a literal kick which

was sending me out from my

job and away from my home.

God didn’t leave me waiting

for long, and I was blessed enough to find a paid job with

an ecumenical faith-based charity called Transformation

Cornwall alongside being accepted to a distance

Masters in theology and

the contemporary world.

I was going to have the

opportunity to continue

deepening my academic

knowledge of theology while

making sure that anything I

learnt was made concrete in

the day to day experiences

of my work. Because this is

paid employment, it means

I am in a materially secure position whilst being able to

live out and continue discerning the call that God has

placed on my heart. When I met the team and trustees

at Transformation Cornwall there was an immediate

alignment of values and it was clear that this placement

was an answer to my prayers and feelings about faith

lived out in action. My day-job is quite literally helping

faith groups and churches to live out the call to social


During the course

of my year at

the ONS, the

ache and pull to

Christian work

didn’t go away.

MOVEMENT Issue 163







SCM member Nathan Olsen reflects on how the pandemic

changed his plans, and how our most meaningful work can

be done in our free time.

This year has not gone to plan. Or at

least, it hasn’t gone to my plan. By

the end of 2020, I hoped to graduate

from my MA, get a job working in

communications down in London and

move in with my girlfriend. As I write

this, we’re fast approaching December,

and I’ve only managed to tick off the

first of these three items. Whilst I’m

proud of what I have managed to

achieve this year – and frankly, you

all should be proud of what you’ve

done, no matter how big or small an

achievement you might think it is – I

am also frustrated. I am lucky to be in

a job, despite it not being what I want

to do or where I want to be. But I do

not feel called to do what I am doing,

even if it is for a good cause. Over the

last couple of months, I’ve discovered

that it doesn’t have to be the case that

you are called to do what you do 9 to

5 (or any of the other shifts you might

work!). Meaning can be found in what

you do the rest of the time; vocation

can be found outside employment.

Now, to some of you this might seem

really obvious. But as the son of a

Methodist minister, it has always made

sense to me that your job should

correspond to your vocation. The ability

to find meaning outside work is still

novel to me! Luckily, I have been able

to pursue other things that give me a

bit of experience in what I do feel called

to do. The first of these roles is being

Editor of this lovely magazine. Since I

was elected in March, I have had so

much fun putting issues together and

working with both members of General

Council and SCM staff. Doing this has

also given me the opportunity to learn

more about the Movement, and to

produce something that I hope you

lovely lot enjoy reading. The second

role I

h a v e


up is as a

volunteer for

Christians on the Left,

helping produce their social

media content, articles for their website

and generally providing administrative

support to the organisation. Both of

these roles give me a sense of purpose

that I often fail to find at my job. They

also give me some hope that I will one

day be employed to tell the world about

God’s radically inclusive love and all of

the really cool things that people are

doing to spread the Gospel. Until then,

it’s a pretty fun thing to do on the side.

20 MOVEMENT Issue 163



In October we held a series of events to mark

Black History Month, including an antiracism

workshop and a Facebook live

panel where SCM members

discussed their experience of being

Black at university in Britain,

chaired by SCM staff member

Deanna Davis. Here is a

small segment of their

vulnerable and insightful

discussion – for more,

we’d encourage you

to check out the whole

video over on our

Facebook page.

MOVEMENT Issue 163


What are some racial inequalities

that you’ve encountered

in your educational

career, and how

have you




I’ve been at university for a lot of

years (too many!) and one of the hardest

things to hear is, ‘You’re very articulate for a Black

man.’ I think that has been quite harsh. And actually

one of the giftings of the African diaspora is that most

people are generally okay with speaking in public and are

generally good communicators. I know that’s a massive bold

statement, but to be an intelligent, academic person who is of

the African diaspora – people don’t expect it, and that’s really

difficult. What was difficult for me as well, when I finished

my undergrad and my masters at Durham university, not a

single person on any reading list was Black, and when

I challenged them about this they said, ‘We either

look for the most diverse, or we look for the

best, and we chose the best.’


What I’ve seen has been similar

to Augustine. But rather than saying,

‘You’re very articulate for a Black person’, they

just say, ‘Dami, you’re like a white person.’ Which is…

yeah. Especially since I was born in Nigeria, they project

an image of, I don’t know, some village guy who fights lions

with spears onto me – now very clearly, that isn’t what I am,

I’m more a person who wears sweaters with collars! But what it

does also mean is that whenever traces of my old Nigerian accent

come out, because obviously I talk in a very affected British one,

people pick up on that and try to poke fun at me for that as

well. People have this one rigid image of, ‘You have to do

all of these things to be Black,’ and also, ‘If you aren’t

black you can’t do any of those things.’ Either they

consider you white fully or they consider you

Black fully, and there’s not much in

the middle.


For me I think an example would be

that I have felt pressured to pursue a legal

career following my degree and to get the most out of

the opportunity that I have, and I don’t think that is the same

for a lot of other races, that they are encouraged to get the most

out of this opportunity, that you should utilise everything that comes

your way and you should be so grateful, and I’ve felt this pressure from

family. The way I have combatted this is by being more focused more

on myself and what I want to do, and to remember that I am living for

myself ultimately, I’m not living for others. I am Vanessa and I happen to be

Black, and I happen to be a woman. That to me is my truth, that yes it is a

wonderful opportunity to go to university but at the end of the day I will

be paying back this crazy, disgusting amount of debt, I am the one who

will be footing the bill, I am the one that’s going to have to be doing

the long hours of studying, so I really have to be doing what’s

right for me, and go into a career that’s right for me. And

that’s not me being ungrateful for this opportunity

that maybe my mum or my dad didn’t have,

it’s just me doing what’s right


I agree with that, I’ve also

experienced a similar thing

for me.

– it’s almost as if people have a

checklist of what it means to be

Black, and it doesn’t really match

what the reality is, and if you

don’t match that you get


22 MOVEMENT Issue 163




This article is

all about food,

and there is some

discussion about dietary

changes. If this will be

uncomfortable for you,

feel free to skip ahead

five pages!

As part of our Daily Bread campaign focus, throughout 2020 we are

looking at ways we can make our food more sustainable. Making choices

about food is difficult for many of us for a whole variety of reasons, but

here we hear from three members of the SCM community who have made

a change to what they eat as a way of being a little kinder to the planet.

They’ve also sent us their favourite sustainable recipes for you to try out!

MOVEMENT Issue 163





3 mugs self-raising flour

1 mug brown sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1½ mugs oat milk

¾ mug vegetable oil

Another ingredient for

flavour – two of my

favourites are chocolate

muffins (replace ⅓

cup of flour with cocoa

powder) and lemon and

raisin muffins (add the

zest and juice of one

lemon and some raisins,

making sure to reduce

the amount of milk so the

total volume of liquid is


It’s well known that human activity has a pretty significant impact on our environment,

and that this disproportionately impacts developing countries. As a Christian, I believe

I have a calling to act to stop this. Firstly, the creation story tells us that we have a

responsibility towards the Earth. This means protecting the wonderful creation God

has made, and also ensuring that it will be around for future generations to enjoy, and

that it will be able to support them. Secondly, we are called to fight for justice, and

there is no justice in a situation which sees high carbon dioxide emissions by the rich

primarily affect people with very little wealth, and make their livelihoods harder.

Making change can mean changing your own actions, persuading those around you

to change, or influencing the government to bring in new regulations. While changing

what I consume has a negligible impact by itself, I still consider it an important part of

my Christian witness. It shows I recognise I have a responsibility to the world, and that

I have hope in the future. Also, if I don’t make an effort to change, how can I expect to

have any influence on the wider world?

The farming of animals for food products on an industrial scale is a significant

contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. Due to this, I began looking into

veganism around the time I started university. Making an abrupt change to my diet

seemed a pretty daunting task, so, already being vegetarian, I decided my first step

would be to stop buying animal products (while still eating them if they were offered to

me). Although I haven’t really kept this up, I have replaced most of my dairy intake by

switching to oat milk.

When looking at reducing your environmental impact, I think it’s always better to do

something you can sustain rather than try to do too much and rebound. Reducing your

intake of beef and dairy products is a good place to start, because cows are the worst

contributors to greenhouse gases among the farm animals. Milk substitutes also have

the advantage of being a reasonably effective direct replacement in many recipes,

making it a relatively simple change.


1. Preheat oven to 180°C fan/ 200°C/Gas Mark 6

2. Mix flour and sugar in a bowl

3. Add eggs, milk and oil and stir. Don’t worry if the mixture remains a

little lumpy

4. Spoon your mixture into muffin cases on a baking tray. This works

best if you have a muffin tray, but if you only have a flat baking

tray, you can use two cases for each muffin to reinforce it and help

it keep its shape.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are a little brown, and springy

when pressed.

24 MOVEMENT Issue 163




500g white bread flour

2 teaspoons instant yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

370ml warm water

For cinnamon and raisin


100g raisins

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon


I would describe myself as a vegetarian who eats mostly vegan, but I do eat

meat (or anything really) if it is otherwise going to go to waste, since food

waste is so terrible for the environment.

I’ve been brought up in a family who have eaten vegetarian as long as I can

remember, so much of my eating habit and choices have been unconscious

and following what I know. Most of the meals I was familiar with cooking before

going to university were vegan, so I continued to buy and cook what I was used

to. I found that this made my food-shops much cheaper than my friends who

would buy meat and cheese, etc. Eating sustainably is surprisingly cheap, if

you know how to make it so. Buying staple ingredients that fit a variety of

meals and cooking from scratch rather than buying things in jars or pre-made

hugely reduce the cost of food.

Whilst at university, I would buy my fruit and veg from the local farmers market, that

sold only local produce. I really enjoyed walking down each week and choosing myself

some grubby carrots and local apples. I knew that the food was all organic and had

not been sprayed with chemicals (chemicals that hit the food, but also float around in

the atmosphere), and it was not travelling hundreds of miles in plastic to end up in my

fridge. However, I do really appreciate that these choices were available to me because

I can afford to make them and come from privilege.

Doing what you can, reducing meat and dairy intake in any small way, buying loose fruit

and veg rather than plastic wrapped, and minimising food waste will make a difference.

1. Add flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a bowl, then add water and mix until it comes together, it should be a stiff

dough (if you want to make cinnamon and raisin bagels, add the vanilla and raisins at this point so they are well

mixed into the dough)

2. Sprinkle some flour onto a clean surface and knead your dough with your hands for about 5 minutes, adding more

flour when the dough starts to stick (for cinnamon and raisin bagels, mix the extra sugar and cinnamon together

and sprinkle on the surface instead of the flour, knead into the dough until it has all been kneaded in, then

sprinkle flour as necessary)

3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a tea-towel. Leave for about 90 minutes, until it has

doubled in size

4. When the dough has risen, boil a big pan of water and stir in a tbsp of honey. Pre-heat the oven to about 200°C

5. Cut the dough up into about 10-15 pieces, depending how big you want them

6. Roll the pieces into balls and poke a hole in them, shape into a bagel shape

7. Once the water is boiling, place them into the pan and boil them for 1 minute on each side

8. Remove and place on a baking tray. Brush with milk (I use oat milk, or you can use a beaten egg)

9. Bake for about 20 minutes, until they look a bit golden

You can add anything you fancy to the bagels – add anything that goes inside the bagels like chocolate chips or nuts

when it says to add raisins, but anything that sticks to the outside of the bagels, like sesame seeds, add after the

bagels have been boiled and they are on the baking tray.

MOVEMENT Issue 163








200g bread

3 eggs

100ml milk

Handful of cherry tomatoes or regular

tomatoes chopped into chunks

½ an onion, (or I sometimes use the onion

salad which comes with an Indian takeaway)

Slosh of olive oil or some butter

Pinch of chili flakes

½ tsp oregano or zaatar or mixed herbs if you have


¼ tsp turmeric or coriander or cumin (or all three if you

like your spices)

Salt and pepper to taste

This is the meal I make when I have a lot of leftover bread or eggs. We went veggie a few

years ago and we found our leftovers couldn’t make the meals we’d made as meat eaters,

so we had to improvise new things. I especially use it when bread I made has gone hard

and I don’t want to waste it. Having said that I would eat it for choice now and sometimes

even serve it at dinner parties with a hollandaise or spiced tomato sauce. Even our meateating

friends really enjoy it and ask for the recipe. The proportions are very roughly

worked out, I probably make it differently every time. I like to add in cherry tomatoes so

that there is some veg in there and then I can call this a meal in one! I have sometimes

substituted chunks of broccoli instead or left it out completely if I don’t have any.


1. Break up the bread into rough chunks, spread on

some butter or slosh some olive oil over them.

2. Whisk the eggs and milk together with the herbs

and spices

3. Fry the onions and allow to cool

4. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and allow to soak

for at least 30 minutes but longer is better

5. Pre heat the oven to 180°C

6. Grease an oven proof dish and spread the mixture


7. Cook for 25 minutes or until golden brown and


8. I usually make a much bigger batch and it reheats

for repeat meals really well.




A good way to use up a glut of fruit is to make jam. This recipe works with any fruit – it

could be from an allotment, your friend’s garden or just on offer at the supermarket.

I started making jam a few years ago. The place I was working in had lots of baskets of

free fruit for employees to eat. However at the end of the week whatever was left over

was thrown out. Local food banks couldn’t accept the fruit, so I ended up taking it

home. It was then I decided to learn to make jam as a way of using up what otherwise

would have gone to waste. It is estimated that wasted food produces the equivalent

of 3.3bn tonnes of CO2 per year, so anything we can do to preserve food and reduce

waste goes a long way to reducing our carbon footprint.

Making jam seems scary but it’s actually fairly straightforward. The best thing about it

is that you can play it by ear and come up with jams to your own taste. The best way

to learn is just to give it a go. Read all of the following before starting your jam!

26 MOVEMENT Issue 163

BEFORE YOU START. Jam is basically fruit and sugar boiled together. The golden ratio for jam making is 1:1. So if you

have 100g of fruit, you need 100g of sugar. Tip: don’t forget to weigh your fruit after you’ve peeled it and removed any

pips or stones. The best fruit to use for jam is slightly under-ripe as it has the most pectin in it. Don’t worry if your fruit is

over-ripe, the jam will still work but you might need more pectin. Pectin is a starch that has a gelling effect and is essential

to making jam. Pectin occurs naturally in the seeds and skins of fruit, but in differing quantities. Other sources of pectin

are lemon juice, powdered pectin, or jam sugar, which is caster sugar with pectin powder mixed in. If you are using fruit

high in pectin you won’t need to add pectin, but if you are using fruit low in pectin, you will need to add more.


Big pan, wooden spoon,

sterilised jars, jug, small plate.

Optional: Jam thermometer, jam funnel.


1. Roughly chop your fruit into chunks (or

leave berries whole). You can vary this

depending on how chunky you like your


2. Soften the fruit in the pan on a low heat

– the harder the fruit the longer you

will need to soften it. For soft fruits you

might only need a couple of minutes

3. For harder fruits add 2 cups or so of

water, for softer fruits a splash will do

4. Bring to the boil – add more water if

you need it

5. Turn down the heat and simmer until

the fruit is soft – about 2-10 minutes

for soft fruit, up to 40 minutes for very

hard fruit.

6. Add the sugar over a very low heat,

and stir gently until dissolved

7. If not using jam sugar add the pectin or

a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice

8. Bring to a full rolling boil until setting

point is met

9. Remove from the heat and rest for

5-10 minutes

10. Pour into sterilised jars, seal, and


STERILISING JARS. To first sterilise your jars, wash them in hot soapy

water and drain. Then place them upside down on a baking tray and place

in an oven on 100°C or so. Put the lids in the oven too but not screwed

on. When you’re ready to pour your jam into the jars remove them

carefully one at a time from the oven and place on a heatproof surface.

WHAT IS THE SETTING POINT? Setting point is the stage at which the

jam will thicken and gel together. If you have a jam thermometer, the

temperature is 105°C. If not, you can test this by placing a plate in the

fridge before you make your jam, plop a bit of jam on the plate and push it

from the edge with your finger. If the jam wrinkles even slightly it will set.

Tip: When your jam is hot it might not look like it’s at setting point, but

once it cools it will set. It’s better to under set your jam than over set. If it

ends up being too runny you can just call it a ‘soft set jam.’

POURING. Ladle the jam from the pan into a clean jug and pour it into

jars. Any jam you spill on the rim of the jar needs to be wiped off with a

damp cloth or it may go mouldy. A jam funnel will help with this. Once

your jar is almost full swipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth before

screwing on the lid – this creates a seal between the jar and lid. Screw

the lids on very tightly – make sure to protect your hands. Once they are

cooled you can go back and tighten them some more. As long as

you’ve sterilised everything properly your jam should store

essentially forever, but it tastes best if you eat it within a year.

FLAVOUR COMBINATIONS. Jam doesn’t have to be just one thing –

you can combine fruits together or with herbs and spices to make exciting

jams you can’t get in shops. If you want to be very fancy you can add edible

gold leaf or edible glitter. Here are some ideas that I’ve tried: Pear & fresh

ginger: Just add a small knob of finely chopped ginger to your jam. Plum

and cinnamon: Add cinnamon powder or a cinnamon stick for a wintery jam.

Christmas jam: Plum and/or orange made with cinnamon, star anise, and

ginger. Rhubarb and ginger: Add some finely chopped fresh ginger. Plum

and vanilla: Add vanilla extract or dried vanilla. Plum and gin: Ad a splash of

the good stuff. Now you know what to do go and put your own spin on it!

Happy jam making!

MOVEMENT Issue 163



Being a student is

inevitably a timebound


It can feel like a

staging post on a

journey to somewhere else,

that place where older family members ask,

“What are you going to do after your degree?”

Or with it, as if your qualification is some sort

of academic sink plunger.





MOVEMENT Issue 163

You might of course have a few ideas about what you’d like

to do in your working life; it might be already happening, with

previous work experience as well as placements underway,

or it might be an open book, something rather formless that

you can’t quite bring into focus as you look to the future.

Christians talk about ‘calling’ a lot, both in terms of specific

and particular vocations as well as our more essential call in

baptism to follow the way of Jesus. Indeed, the Latin verb

‘vocare’ meaning ‘to call’ is the root of the term vocation. In

education we talk about vocational programmes as linking

to specific types of work. So, whilst our Christian calling is

something we have in common we might also have some

different callings, to specific places and roles. And this raises

some questions – what if I don’t feel particularly called to

something? How do I know? And even if I do, then what?!

My background is in careers work. Career development

practitioners (you might see them called advisers, or

counsellors, or coaches but that’s just semantics really)

help people decide what to do with their lives. We have

got interested in calling, which we think about in relation to

work. It is usually defined as the thing that provides a sense

of purpose in attracting someone to a particular job or field

of work. Your calling, such as you can discern it, might be to

something other than work, such as to a place or a lifestyle

(e.g. single/coupled/family) but for now I am going to talk

about work.

Work and career can be difficult terms. It can make us think

of drudgery on the one hand, being trapped in jobs that

exploit or de-energise us for economic survival. On the

other hand, we might think about ‘career’ as representing

ambition, ruthless self-interest and narrow ‘ladders’ we

seek to climb. These are both loaded images, but looking at

the word’s origins can help us take some of the extremes

out of it. Dictionary corner’s own Susie Dent recently

tweeted that ‘Career’, ‘Car’ and ‘Chariot’ all descend from

the Latin ‘carrus’ for ‘wheeled vehicle’ – it basically means

living a life, travelling down a path. We are all doing it.

Work can be seen as a burden from which some are called

away to lives of prayer and contemplation. That view of

work is part of a two-tier spirituality: some are called, the

rest of us not so much. I prefer to think about work as an

important part of our life as worthy of attention as any other.

It’s a creative act through which we all play a part in God’s

creation. It’s a place where we work with others, contribute

to collective effort and experience interdependence and

community. Our actions at work affect others, whether we

are trampling on their hands as we step on the rungs of the

ladder or climbing together.

No article on vocation is complete without the wellused

quote from American writer and minister Frederick

Buechner, the bloke who told us that “Vocation is the place

where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

So how we do we find that place? Well that’s where careers

work comes in. Helping people to work out their priorities

and their options and then take action to move things

forward is what we do. And the tools we use have a lot in

common with the ideas we might hear about at Church to

help us on our spiritual journey. Here are just a few parallels.

Noticing that ‘deep gladness’: A career coach might ask you

to reflect on situations you have particularly enjoyed, the

sort of occasion when you might have experienced what

MOVEMENT Issue 163


psychologists call ‘flow’, when you are in the moment and

have no sense of how much time is passing. You are fearfully

and wonderfully made (Ps 139: 14), and how God made

you plays a major role in what you have to offer. Sometimes

we might use diagnostic questionnaires to help you identify

those gifts, but really only as an aid to your learning.

Noticing that ‘deep need’: It’s not hard to find things

the world needs; there are so many. But framing your

discernment in how that intersects with who and where

you are recognises the importance of your context. Career

coaches can help you work out what the jobs look like that

meet those needs, and how you can get from here to there.

So we sit and wait, right? Well, no. Noticing can be cultivated

by our prayer life, but praying and waiting is not advised.

Career coaches often help people to find small actions they

can take to explore what might be opening up before them.

Talking to people, getting their feedback on your gifts and

talents, trying new things, developing experiences; they all

need you to make it happen. Act from where you are by

crafting the tasks, the relationships around you and your

view of them to align with your values and purpose. In the

careers world lots of people say, ‘Oh I’ll come and talk to

a career coach when I have decided what I want to do.’ It

is easy to think about the right process to be 1) perceive

and 2) act; that in prayer we might get an answer we can

implement. In fact, it is messier than that, it’s ongoing, it is

formational. You perceive through acting. And acting takes

many forms. It might be that you change directions or might

be what is sometimes called ‘job crafting’, where you make

small changes to orient yourself towards your calling. The

activities you are doing might be redefined, or you might

change the way that you do it or the way that you think

about it.

It sounds so simple in one sentence, finding ‘the place’,

but for many people it is fraught with pitfalls and anxieties.

The pressure to identify one ‘true calling’ can create

overwhelming expectations that there is a ‘right answer’

to discern, and then pursue. If you find this overwhelming,

then my message is this: those prayer practices that help

you notice gladness and need also help you connect to the

divine source of love which is God. My belief is in a God who

might challenge us to a new vocation, but won’t order us,

and will always equip us.

We can all draw on the idea of calling in relation to the

work we do and the way that we do it. Sure, pursuing a

calling, a job which you have chosen because it gives your

life meaning and purpose, might seem like a luxury only

available to those with privilege and agency in buoyant job

markets. It will certainly be easier to make mental space

to consider it if the avoidance of grinding poverty isn’t

uppermost in your mind. Similarly, for students graduating

into the uncertain and rapidly changing Covid job market, it

might not feel like a priority. But even when your options are

limited, that general calling to hope and faith can sustain


So, we’ve mentioned that calling is general, as well as

potentially specific to particular roles at particular times.

But it can be personal to you without being very detailed. It

might be that you have a sense of call that could be worked

out in a variety of ways. If the thought of determining one

pathway is stressful and overwhelming, it can be helpful to

think about a simple phrase that could be used to focus on

your calling whatever you are doing. In a lovely little book,

Discovering your Personal Vocation, Jesuit priest Fr Herbert

Alphonso talks about how spiritual formational activities

such as the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola help

people develop their ‘personal vocation’ which can be

lived out in a variety of specific callings. He gives lots of

examples, but my own is the phrase ‘making connections’

between people or concepts. I can do that in lots of jobs.

But I certainly do it in mine and it helped take the pressure

off thinking, “If I was really listening I would hear a call to

go elsewhere.”

If all this navel gazing is making you feel uncomfortable,

well let me also say that it’s not about you. That sounds

counter-intuitive, but it is an important point – when we

think about calling we often think about what you as an

individual should do, but it is also a collective process for

the Church. We are called together to usher in the Kingdom;

we discern collectively too.

Fitting deep gladness to deep need might imply a one-off

matching process. Instead, as well with career decisions,

that process is never finished. Things change around us

and require responding change from us; a fulfilling job

becomes unchallenging or untenable, a new opportunity

catches your eye, a new life phase opens up to you.

30 MOVEMENT Issue 163

Phases and stages affect the way you follow the

prompts that you discern. You will not arrive and

find perfect fulfillment. It might not make

you happy!

And this takes us to the dangers to

calling. Back to the trampling

ladders, over identification with

work can lead to both stress

and exploitation. Anyone with

a calling needs to be careful of

prioritising that calling over wellbeing,

balance or the needs of others. That’s

how burnout happens; after all, you only

burn out if you have been on fire.

Scripture is full of examples of God calling people,

individually and collectively. We can learn a lot from looking

at Mary’s ‘yes’ (God invites but doesn’t order, remember?)

or Isaiah’s statement of ‘here I am’. One of my favourite

examples is the person of Moses and the exodus journey

of the Israelites that he led, which is relevant to us

individually and corporately as a church.

Think about it this way: Moses had been living his life, with

some good and some bad, when he gets a summons, in

the form of a burning bush. He notices something unusual.

He stops and steps aside. He is not sure. He asks for

further signs. He feels inadequate but receives help and

affirmation. So he steps into it.

The Israelites are longing for freedom from toil and

oppression, but they don’t know where to go. God

provides a leader and then sends them, but not by the

most direct route. They wander, they grumble, things don’t

seem sure. They get food but only just enough, the future

is still uncertain. And they constantly get it wrong. They

need faith. Moses works with those around him. Later in

life, Moses wore himself out and was advised to delegate.

At the end of his life he knows when

to send others who are more suited.

He accepts help.

So, vocation and calling are rich seams

for us to mine, especially as students

thinking about what comes next after

time at University. If the job market seems mysterious or

hopeless, and if talk of employability doesn’t connect with

you, then reframing it as calling might help you walk with

God towards your future. And if that’s not for you, then

you can take the advice of African-American theologian

Howard Thurman. Rather than getting hung up on what

we should be doing, he says: “Don’t ask yourself what

the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come

alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs

is people who have come alive.” Our faith enables us to

come alive, to live, work, play and worship, joining in with

God’s creation. Your calling might be big or small, specific

or fuzzy. Whatever it is, they are all equal. Working with

calling is an ongoing process – they change all the time.

But everyone has one. What will you do with yours?

Gill Frigerio teaches career development and coaching at the University of Warwick and is researching vocation and calling

in women’s working lives. She is part of an Anglican church in Warwick and enjoys prayer guiding, reading, knitting, sewing

and laughing. She tweets about all these things and more at @GillFrigerio.

MOVEMENT Issue 163




Church of England Vocations

Adviser Ellie Clack reflects on hearing God’s

call to ordained ministry.


For me, some of the best thinking on vocation and

calling comes from those who have found their

‘thing’ and are loving life doing it. Dolly Parton is

no exception! Vocation is a strange concept, not one

that we all find easy to define or to explore. And yet

the Christian faith is rooted in this sense of journey,

discovery, and wonder, both with and at God; a

journey that will lead many of us to discover who we

are and what we are called to do.

32 MOVEMENT Issue 163

Vocation itself is a concept drawn

from a Latin word vocare meaning ‘to call.’ It is a mistake

to think that only the most worthy jobs are ‘real’

vocations. In reality we are all called – in our humanity,

in our baptism, and in our discipleship. We can also be

called in specific jobs, roles, and relationships.

I had a sense of being called to some form of ministry as

a teenager, although it wasn’t until my undergraduate

degree was coming to an end that I really began to

consider what shape that ministry might take. I rather

hoped it would be a well-paid and glamorous role!

However, my attempts at running away, my powers

of persuasion, my logic did not win out. As I explored

further there was a real sense of me yielding to my

calling to be a priest; of softening and not fearing

what might be ahead. Once this process began, which

perhaps involved me more consciously co-working with

God, as well as with a Diocesan Director of Ordinands

(DDO), it was like the floodgates opening.

I recall, at age 23, wondering what it might take to be wise

enough to do the job of a DDO – and thinking that it was

a job I would like to do one day. And now, having just hit

40, I have been an Assistant DDO and then DDO for the

last 7 years. I work with people who are in the early stages

of exploring their sense of calling to all sorts of ministry.

This involves sending people off to be selected for training,

to launching them in to training, to formation for ordained

ministry in the Church of England. In the time that I have

been involved in this world of vocations I have learned

much, too much to write here, but here are some key things

I’ve learned:

God calls all sorts of people to all sorts of

things (often at the same time.)

When the Church notices and equips people, it is exciting

because of the potential for diversity in people and roles.

And I long for the Church to throw open her doors ever

wider that we might know fuller participation and riches of


God calls us despite the odds.

We will all have part of our life that simply doesn’t make

sense when we contemplate lay or ordained ministry. Check

out our friends in scripture – Ruth, Esther, Mary, Moses,

Jonah or Simon-Peter – not the most likely candidates for

God to call. And yet they are exactly the people most suited

to minister God’s love and light in all the messy and the

beautiful parts of this world.

God calls us to live life to the full.

Viktor Frankl noted that ‘what is to give light, must endure

burning.’ Most vocational journeys will be costly in some sense

– in time, in energy, in relationships, and more. However, as I

have worked with candidates from all sorts of walks of life, I am

struck by how releasing, liberating, and life-giving it can be to

see someone have a significant vocation fully realised. Don’t

believe that myth that it has to all be hard to be the right thing.

I’m pretty sure that living life to the full means living with our

whole selves in the heights of joy and the depths of pain;

it may mean truly encountering the brokenness of our own

lives, and of the world we live in. It may mean living through

a global pandemic and honestly seeking, or searching for

God in the midst of the chaos. And it may mean taking a

baby step or even a leap in to a new or unchartered part of

life – laying down our autonomous plans and yielding to coworking

and friendship with God.

My advice for anyone wondering how best to understand and

discern their vocation is this: talk to someone and pray. Talk

to a couple of trusted people – a church leader, chaplain,

small group member – and let them in. Invite them to reflect

on the possibilities openly and honestly with you. As you do

this, and as you pray and notice God at work, jot a few things

down in a journal or file. Keep an eye on the way this sense of

calling is developing so that you can begin to piece together

your own vocational narrative. This will be helpful for you and

for others in the future.

My prayer for all those who wonder if and how and to what they

are called, is that this journey of questioning and imagining

may also bring life in all its fullness: new awareness of self, of

one another and of the God of love who calls each of us.

The Rev’d Ellie Clack is Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocations Adviser in Coventry Diocese.

She is married and a mum to 3 young children.

MOVEMENT Issue 163



Four SCM members answer this age-old Freshers Week question, and give us an insight

into how they chose the degree they ended up taking. Sometimes it’s passion, sometimes

it’s pressure, often there’s an unexpected element of calling. Here they share the twists and

turns that led them to where they are, and the lessons they learned along the way.

My name is Alex, and I’m a Christian

studying a masters in voice at a

London conservatoire. Theatre and

singing can be elitist, and, on the

surface, they don’t serve any social

good – but my experience has led me

to believe I am where I am because of

the call of God.

I sometimes look back on the past

six years in ‘segments’ – I’ve jumped

around the country from sixth form in

the South, an undergraduate degree

in the North-East and now a masters

in London – and it’s sometimes

overwhelming to think about the

people, church communities, and

concert programmes I’ve left behind

over that time.

In my village on the outskirts of

Southampton, it was quite unusual

to be a musician. It’s safe to say that

in many state secondary schools like

mine, you’re not exactly encouraged to

pursue music or perform to your peers.

Sometimes this comes from bullying,

but I think more often it comes from

what performance actually means.

When we see someone perform on

stage or in recital, we’re forgiven for

thinking that they’re ‘putting on’ a

character (perhaps you’re pretending

to be a person at a spinning wheel

or a lover recalling a romantic walk

in the springtime). But the truth is

that ‘putting on’ these things doesn’t

work. It’s impossible to perform a role

if you don’t actually feel it. We often

imagine that the best actors are the

people who can play characters which

are wildly different to themselves, but

I would argue that the most powerful

performers are those who perform

with sincerity – they’re convincing

because they are basically not acting.

Growing up, I’ve had the experience

that some may also relate to – I was

the polite child that everyone else’s

mum loved. I was more scared of

break times at school than I was of

the actual learning. I was a ‘nice’

person – someone who no one had

big issues or disagreements with. I

give people a version of me that I think

will be agreeable to them – maybe it’s

a version of me that’s slightly less

effeminate, holding his hands in a

slightly different way as he walks into

school. Maybe it’s a version of me that

won’t voice his disagreement because

he’s afraid you’ll take it personally.

In my (limited) experience on stage so

far, I’ve realised that the only way to

perform convincingly is to be honest.

That’s precisely why performing was

so hard for me in my teens, and why

it still presents challenges. But that

honesty is also why it’s so important

for me to be doing it in the future:

It’s impossible to not be yourself – to

stand and breathe, to open your eyes

and to see yourself in a way that is so

exposed, so open – to see yourself in a

way that you used to pray that others

wouldn’t see. If you’re scared to be

vulnerable to others, it’s easy to hide

from yourself too – and I no longer

have any interest in doing that.



I always dread the question, “What are

you studying?” Don’t get me wrong –

it’s a perfectly simple question with

a perfectly simple answer. It’s the

question that comes after I say “I study

Arabic and Farsi” that demands a more

complex answer: “Why?” Depending

on my mood, energy level, and time

available, I give everything from a one

sentence answer to a whole feature

film length retelling of my life story.

This article seeks to sit somewhere

between the two extremes.

If you had asked me every year from

about the age of nine what I wanted

to be when I grew up, you would find

yourself faced with a different answer

every year. I was interested in a lot of

things growing up, but two passions

stood out in particular: a love of music

and a love of languages.

I began learning cello aged seven

and quickly became enamoured with

all things musical. I devoted a lot of

time to the instrument, playing in

local orchestras, chamber music, not

to mention time spent alone in my

room practicing. My dedication grew

and grew, and at age 12 I began

spending my Saturdays as a junior at

the Royal Northern College of Music.

Here I felt I really fitted in, surrounded

by other young people passionate

about music. I discovered a taste for

composing and conducting, seeing a

way I could express my voice through

music. My holidays were spent playing

with the National Youth Orchestra, an

experience that has shaped a lot of

who I am today.

Languages, too, had always intrigued

me. My mum would teach me bits

of French here and there, and I was

always fascinated by the language

section at the local library. At high

school I was beyond excited at the

opportunity to learn Mandarin, hoping

to take it at GCSE (which sadly did not

come to fruition due to bureaucracy),

and trying my hand at Latin. I would

spend my lunchtimes in the Classics

department grappling with Greek

texts, finding solace from what was

a less than welcoming schoolyard.

In languages, too, I found a way to

express myself and quench my thirst

for knowledge.

Choosing a sixth form was where I first

felt the need to choose between the

two, and at the time I thought going

to music school was the right choice.

Though I gained many invaluable

experiences there, it wasn’t right for

me. I felt very lost – what was I meant

to do if it wasn’t music, this thing I had

devoted so much time and energy to?

I started reading about the Middle

East, having always wanted to learn

Arabic, and so a Middle Eastern related

degree seemed to be the perfect

choice. SOAS felt like the perfect

place to do that, given its expertise

in this area, and I took the once in a

lifetime opportunity to devote myself

to learning Arabic and Farsi full-time.

My degree allows me to study all

things Middle Eastern, from literature

to politics, whilst being challenged by

the intricacies of semitic languages.

I’ve dived into student journalism,

student politics, and a myriad of other


All this is a long-winded way of saying

that trajectories can and do change.

You are not defined by your school

experiences. Why did I choose what I

study? Because I wanted a challenge,

something new, a skill that would

be useful but interesting to acquire.

Don’t do what you think you must, but

instead what intrigues you most.

Be open to where God and life take

you. I never expected to be where I

am, doing what I am. But I’m so glad

that I am.



I have always wanted to help

people, so that was a major factor in

deciding what to study at University.

The other big factor was that my

parents expected me to do a more

“employable” subject before they

would support me reading theology.

Once I added to the mix a passion

for genetics and plants, I knew that I

wanted to study for a science degree.

From there it was an easy decision to

pick genetics and the University of

Essex, because of their plant labs and

the extra volunteering opportunities

with St John Ambulance right on


University was all I imagined it

would be; up-to-date lab equipment,

interesting lectures, dating, friends,

lab coat – I was ecstatic!

However, I also soon discovered

my hands-on volunteering with St

John Ambulance proved much more

rewarding (and challenging!) than I

ever imagined – I was hooked and a

bit spoilt: I ended up falling out with

the Christian society I was a member

of because I saw a lot of talking and

hardly any doing. The fact I was asked

to start an SCM group by an elder in

my Church shortly after I quit that

group was probably the first prompt I

received, and I happily embarked on

the crazy adventure and somehow

still managed to do well enough to


As I started my MRes with a mixture

of hubris and parental ambition, I

found myself imagining a future as a

scientist/preacher combo, and had

an opportunity to try my hand at

preaching thanks to my long-suffering

URC church. Then my second prompt:

a university chaplain I barely knew

approached me out of the blue about

the possibility of training for ministry

part-time alongside my studies, for

free! I could not let that opportunity

pass me by, even though things

were not going too well with my

research and it was affecting both

my physical and mental well-being.

As weeks turned into months and I

was welcomed more and more by the

Church I was serving, my health kept

deteriorating but I was adamant

to continue juggling

everything – with

my girlfriend’s

support being

probably the

only thing

keeping me

going as

long as I did.

Eventually, I

painfully realised there was no way I

could keep going like that and had to

accept that perhaps God was calling

me to a different type of harvest

and vine than what I had originally

envisaged, so I dropped my research

and gave my full attention to my

ministry training, graduating this year.

I do not regret my original choice of

degree: without it I would not have

found myself on my current journey

and met people I care about. Life is

like that – not always a straight line.

There’s only one thing I wished I had

done differently: I wish I had been

more open about my struggles with

my support network and less stubborn

when I first realised how things were

going. I guess we live and learn, and

it’ll make for a good sermon one day.


36 MOVEMENT Issue 163

I was extremely lucky to have a

lovely lady from my church give me

the best advice I have ever been

given when deciding what to study at

university. I’ve always been a person

who is interested in multiple things,

and I always find making decisions

hard. I thought I was between studying

French and English until I was advised


Study what you love, study what you

find really interesting. Don’t worry or

think about jobs or careers, that’s

not important now, that’ll come later.

This is your only opportunity in life

to be really, wonderfully selfish and

dedicate time to what ticks your box.

I saw colours. I realised my favourite

subjects were History and Religious

Studies. Coming from a working-class

background, I hadn’t had the luxury of

thinking of university that way. Prior

to this revelation, it seemed to be

a means to an end in the sense of

training to get a better job than I

would have had without a degree.

Applying for university was

also difficult. Despite

doing 5 A levels (one

was Welsh Bacc

so don’t be too


and getting

very decent

GCSE grades,

my parents desperately tried to

encourage me to apply for less

research-based universities with

lower grade requirements (whilst not

allowing me to quit a part time job I

hated). I remember their actual shock

when I received offers from all of

my choices, including Kings College

London, Bristol and Birmingham, and

their unbelief when I surpassed the

grade requirements and received

perfect marks for all the final year

assignments and exams in History. I

try not to blame my parents for this

outlook; they believed they were

instilling good work ethic values,

financial independence, and skills in

case university did not work out.

I’m currently in my second year of a fully

funded PhD looking at the theology of

mission, because somebody told me

to study what I love. I always knew I

loved researching religion, all religions

too for that matter. From too young an

age to read him my favourite author

was Khaled Hosseini. I chose to talk

about how religion was presented in

the Handmaid’s Tale for English and

wrote about the religion in the 18th

century and Nazi Germany for History.

It was obvious that religion was what

drew me in and history was my natural

methodology, but class barriers almost

prevented me seeing myself as worthy

enough to study them. That advice

has also made me realised how lucky

I am to research exactly what I am

passionate about every day and serve

the church and world in ways I could

never have imagined. I also meet

and am inspired by incredible minds

every day. I really hope there are more

people like my friend in church who

can light young people’s light bulbs

and help them see what they really

love, and what they can do.


MOVEMENT Issue 163






In March, the lockdown measures announced by the Government urged members of the public to

stay at home unless absolutely necessary, prohibiting large gatherings. Having previously headed a

local SCM group for two years, I found the prospect of being forced to cancel our exciting schedule

for the summer term (and the reading in of a new committee) heart-breaking. Nonetheless, on a

national scale, SCM were quick to act. Recognising that students were unlikely to be returning to

their universities after the Easter holidays, not only putting a stop to our education, but also the

postponement of any local student groups therein, SCM established their presence virtually, with a

‘Student Online Community’. SCM Online swiftly became an integral part of many lives during

lockdown, providing members with a space to interact with friends from their local groups, but also

facilitating new friendships between members from different parts of the country.

38 MOVEMENT Issue 163

Suddenly geographical separation

no longer imposed restrictions on

socialising and who could come

and speak to us. The pandemic may

have physically distanced us, but it

brought the national movement closer


Though a member for a number of

years, in March I attended SCM’s

National Gathering for the first time:

‘Known by Name’ 2020. The spiritually

fulfilling weekend comprised keynote

speeches, crafts, and time to reflect

on faith together. Meeting fellow

members of SCM patched a hole in my

spirituality, and oddly I experienced a

very similar feeling with SCM Online.

The pandemic shook us all up, but

SCM Online provided a safe place

each weekday evening where we

could share in our brokenness and

anxiety together. We could bond over

the fact that NOTHING had happened

since the last time we had gathered

the night previous, and enjoyed the

company each other brought. We

were united by tragedy and we stayed

because of friendship.

I have recently completed my

undergraduate studies where I spent

two years as the president of Christian

Focus, York, and will be continuing

my studies with a PhD this Autumn

term. Therefore, it was not initially

my intention to assume another

leadership role for a while, providing

myself some time to settle into a new

city. However, the staff team made

it clear that (though established by

them) the online programme would

flourish under student leadership –

SCM is (and always will be) a studentled

movement. A number of us swiftly

took the reins planning, prepping and

leading each event. I volunteered

to coordinate Monday evening bible

studies, whether leading them myself

or recruiting members for one-off

sessions on a topic of their fancy.

Upon reflection, this opportunity has

granted me the enthusiasm to uphold

my personal and spiritual growth,

overthrowing the lockdown’s mentally

destabilising grasp.

Arguably the most attended evening

each week is Theology Thursday.

Over the months we have welcomed

a spectrum of speakers to discuss

theological matters in a broad

sense. Guests have included Revd

Giles Goddard (of the Living in Love

and Faith project), the Fellowship

of Reconciliation (“No Justice? No

peace!”), Molly Boot (Church of

England’s Theology Slam Finalist)

and Archuna Ananthamohan (“Christ

and Krishna – Indian Mysticism of the

Bible”). Organising SCM Online has

often been challenging, but the skills

I’ve acquired have primed me for

the unusual university year ahead (a

hybrid of online and socially distanced

events). I am thankful to God for

SCM and the people I have met

over lockdown, who have served as

inspiration and comfort over the past

few difficult months.

Our aim at SCM Online is to bring

members from across the country

together to share in intellectual

and spiritual communion during the

uneasy time of coronavirus. Events

have brought motivation to leaders

and participants alike, and sharing in

the experiences of others has been

liberating and cathartic. Over this

lockdown period my faith has matured,

my friendship circle has grown, and my

mental health has certainly reaped the

benefits of sharing in the experiences

of others.

Sam Daly is studying a PhD in Chemistry at King’s College, Cambridge. They are an SCM member, and served as president of

York Christian Focus for two years before joining the leadership team for our SCM Online programme.

For more information about our online events, see the Student Christian Movement Facebook group.

MOVEMENT Issue 163


No Name


to God

On Transgender Day of Remembrance 2020 members of SCM and their

friends gathered online to honor the trans* lives lost in the past year. Led

by trans* members of SCM, the vigil was a time of mourning, honouring,

and hope as we looked to the future.

As part of the vigil attendees wrote a line expressing their thoughts and

hopes about TDOR. These lines were put together into the following poem.

40 MOVEMENT Issue 163

The names are read,

I rage and lament

that within my lifetime

I could hear the name of friends I love

in this annual litany,

A litany that merely scratches the surface of our grief.

When will our tears bring justice,

our longing bring liberation,

our God bring life?

We need a time of purple courage

to create worldwide equality and love.

The cry of a sorrow too hard to bear,

Long after our candles have gone out,

You will go on remembering them,

You know them all by name.

I pray for a world in which it is safe,

for everyone to be who God made them to be.

Longing for greater understanding and acceptance,

and a celebration of diversity.

Safety for my loves and their loved ones.

Opposites, confined in rigid boxes,

separated by a gulf of hate and fear,

now free; merging together,

creating unimaginable beauty,

colours never before seen,

birthing a new creation.

Let us celebrate the love of God’s rainbow creation

No life escapes God’s Love and Liberation.

In our sanctuary of hope,

all are welcome.

MOVEMENT Issue 163







Locally to me, there is a food waste café

called Rainbow Junktion. It is pay-asyou-feel,

which means anyone can go in

and get a delicious meal, for whatever

they can afford to pay, whether that is a

sizeable donation towards the work of

the project, or 20 minutes washing the

pots once they’ve finished eating. Those

with plenty and those with nothing

gather in solidarity over dinner to tackle

the juxtaposed problems of food waste

damaging our planet, and food poverty

damaging our communities. It is a

beautiful, holy space.

Same Boat for me captured the essence

of the café. It is a collection of poems

written through a collaboration between

experts in poetry and experts in poverty,

whether by experience, education, or

engagement. Church Action on Poverty

with their Poet in Digital Residence

Matt Sowerby ran workshops and online

gatherings during lockdown to explore

and capture the experiences of people

across the country, and Same Boat is the

resulting anthology, published during

Challenge Poverty Week 2020.

The anthology contains a variety of

styles, from blackout and found poetry,

to the more traditional rhyming

verses, and with each poem there is

some background to the imagery and

inspiration used by the author – useful

for those who, like me, appreciate poetry

but don’t always understand it too well! I

found it very powerful that a page is left

blank part way through the anthology

to mark the 10% of the UK who don’t

have access to the internet, and therefore

couldn’t contribute to the project due to

digital exclusion.

The introduction to the work discusses

how both positive and negative

narratives about poverty are harmful

– in our national consciousness either

people in poverty are ‘scroungers’,

selfishly taking benefits they don’t

deserve, or are poor helpless victims of

a system beyond their control. The aim

of this anthology is to take power back

Same Boat: Poems on

Poverty and Lockdown

ed. Barbara Adlerova, Ben

Pearson, Jayne Gosnall, Matt

Sowerby and Penny Walters

for Church Action on Poverty

Download at www.


for those experiencing poverty, and to

remind us that their voices are necessary

to the creation of a just and more equal


The project also features reflections on

lockdown, isolation, and mental health

challenges. Various contributions to

the anthology discuss mental health

funding, loneliness, addiction, and the

unexpected chaos we were thrown into

in March. Works like ‘Quarantine’

and ‘100 Days’ capture the mood

of the moment, and will serve as

a reminder in years to come of the

collective bewilderment we’ve all been


I would thoroughly recommend giving

this project a read – it is vital inspiration

for the continuing work of building a

better society, and a reminder of the

essential inclusion of everyone’s voices in

bringing that vision to life.


42 MOVEMENT Issue 163




How to Start a

Revolution: Young

People and the

Future of Politics

Lauren Duca

I could not put this relatable little book

down for two days. Duca, who came into

the public sphere for her article ‘Donald

Trump is Gaslighting America’ in Teen

Vogue, researched young people’s attitudes

towards politics in the States and has

created a hopeful picture for the future.

Her first four chapters I found incredibly

useful. She outlines how young people in

the States have been alienated by politics

(sometimes purposefully by politicians

who market towards the older, richer,

generations) but in a situation similar

to the 1960’s, young people have become

‘woke’ once again and are completely

aware of the massive inequalities in

society. Duca argues that young people

were never not interested in politics but

that it seemed to lay outside of their

expertise, it was the prerogative of

white men sitting around a table, with

sometimes a very brave woman joining.

Some of the young people she spoke to

expounded that they thought they might

get involved in politics when they were

older, but that was before they became

‘woke.’ Now, young people are reclaiming

their voices and their seats in American

politics, hoping to make it more of a

representative democracy.

Aside from the politics, Duca also explains

the minds and passions of young people

well. I recently attended a webinar about

ecology and the environment with Rowan

Williams and Ruth Valerio speaking, and

one of the questions stated that ‘young

MOVEMENT Issue 156 163

people are passionate about social

justice issues and the environment

because it makes them feel better.’

Knowing I was definitely the only person

under 30 in that webinar I was shocked

at this comment. Firstly, why are young

people suddenly homogeneous, like we

have one mind and no diversity? Secondly,

campaigning for social, political,

economic, and environmental issues does

not make me feel better. I don’t know

about anyone else but it’s emotionally

draining fighting to try and bring some

justice to this world. Duca empathises

with this struggle. Explaining the

backlash she received after posting her

article about politics in Teen Vogue, with

comments of ‘stick to the Kardashian’s

thigh-high boots’, it was obvious that

much of the public did not see politics as

a space for young people, especially young

girls. Additionally, when invited to speak

about the article further she kept receiving

the question, ‘Why are young people

not interested in politics?’ like she could

respond for a whole generation. This too

absolutely resonated with my experience

with the Church, especially thinking

about how the spaces of politics or the

Church is often impenetrable for young

people. At least young people in politics

get a vote.

Finally, just to be a little more critical, this

is written about the American political

scene. Although I see resonances between

the anti-Trump revolution and Jeremy

Virago Press, 2019

IBSN: 978-


Corbyn support, it is a different system.

I’d love somebody to do a similar study in

the UK. Secondly, although Duca does

point towards some US atrocities such

as Hiroshima, the absolute destruction

and injustices committed by American

politicians and presidents towards other

countries is not discussed in enough detail.

Nor does this book concentrate enough on

class issues and of course, in the States this

leads on to race issues too. When somebody

cannot afford to feed themselves, they tend

to not have enough energy to campaign

in politics, and for young people their

environment is especially important in

their identity building. Duca can argue

with her conservative voting, successful,

middle class father, but could some

young people from more disadvantaged

backgrounds have that kind of discussion

with their elders or peers? Nevertheless,

this book is engaging, informative and

well-researched ,and inspired, in me at

least, many ideas.




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