PREDOMINANT IN BONHOEFFER’S THEOLOGICAL STATEMENTS ARE HIS BOOKS ON THE CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP AND ON THE COMMUNITY OF THE CHURCH. IN THEM HE SETS THE STANDARDS FOR WHAT THESE REQUIRE TO BE AND TO DO.
The call to follow Jesus, Bonhoeffer insists, is not an easy deal. Discipleship can never be a matter of cheap grace. It requires sacrifice and even suffering in order to bring justice and equity to poor and downtrodden. The Church, Bonhoeffer argues, is there to express Christ’s Will for the world – to speak up for what is right and to challenge that which is not.
In this context, Project Bonhoeffer’s contribution the SCM’s Faith in Action internships over the past three years has involved supporting individuals by working in various programmes and services, public and private, and have sought to explore and even challenge those practices at risk of failing to provide essential justice and care – particularly when their clients have been amongst the most vulnerable in society.
Ruth Wilde started her role in August 2015.
Ruth was brought up Methodist but is now an Anglican with Anabaptist sympathies. She speaks French fluently and worked for a number of years in Nantes, France and then Hull and Leeds in the world of business using her French language skills. Since then she has worked as a Pastoral Assistant for the churches of St Mark and St Peter in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire and for Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on their UK outreach project. It was her two week-long delegation with CPT working alongside First Nations communities in Canada in 2011 that first moved Ruth to Christian activism and she has been exploring Christian discipleship and ways of making a difference in the world ever since.
Ruth has been involved with many projects putting faith into action in her own life, from Street Angels in Leeds to community organising with Citizens UK in Mansfield, and she is also studying theology part-time at the Queen’s Foundation for Theological Study in Birmingham alongside work and volunteering.
In her spare time, Ruth is a trustee for Changing Attitude (an Anglican organisation which campaigns for LGBTI inclusion in the Anglican Church), does the odd French translation for SCM Press, and forms a bluegrass duo called Mary Anna with her wife Ellie.
Jacque became involved in SCM at its 2012 conference, during the first year of her Mathematics degree at Aberystwyth University. She graduated in 2014, and focussed on the issue of mental health during her internship with SCM.
As a lover of food, it perplexes him that so much of it ends up in land-fills. He believes God loves food too, and wants for us to respect our resources and see food reaching needy hands, rather than bin bags. Stephen has been putting his efforts into fighting food-waste in his university, and he hopes to see the fight grow across student communities in the UK.
The other issues tackled have been:-
- Human Trafficking
- Housing refugees
- The treatment of Black Youth by the Justice System
- Making best use of donations for Overseas Aid
Both the work of the interns and the ideas arising from our annual conference sessions have enabled Project Bonhoeffer’s Trustees to begin to consider the way in which the project might move forward. The first phase of internships is now at an end and it has been agreed that, with the resources available, there should now be a period for the SCM to evaluate, develop and disseminate the ideas, issues and initiatives that Faith in Action has brought forward to strengthen and promote the SCM in Britain. Those initiatives include building up sturdier and stronger local SCM branches in university centres across the UK through greater staff support and a range of events – both on-campus, regional, national and even international – that can enable members to share and discuss those issues that important to them in their lives [not just today but also tomorrow], as only in the SCM they are able to do.
For its part, Project Bonhoeffer will continue to bring together the support network of senior – and not-so-senior – friends who not only attend our conferences but who share a concern to rebuild and regenerate the SCM for future generations of students as it did for them, enriching their lives and often investing them with both vision and vocation