Faith in action project
Project Bonhoeffer and the Student Christian Movement, through the Faith in Action project, has been making a positive impact on the world through investing in current students for almost ten years. The project has helped to run over a dozen campaigns from Food Poverty to Peace, had a hand in the employment of 11 SCM staff members and had an immeasurable impact on thousands of students through blogs, resources, and relationships. All of this is bringing to light many ‘Bonhoeffers’ of today negotiating the implications on Christian living in the world.
- To increase the understanding of Bonhoeffer’s approach to faith and the meaning of Christian Discipleship amongst students and recent graduates,
- To enable students and recent graduates to reflect theologically on their experience of life, work and study, and live out their faith in action.
- To develop the skills and confidence of students and recent graduates to challenge the structures of injustice and be leaders of social and political transformation.
The Faith in Action project and Project Bonhoeffer’s partnership with SCM began in 2011, when trustees of Project Bonhoeffer approached SCM with an idea for a project to empower students to live out their faith inspired by the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. At its inception, the goal of the project was to empower SCM members to live out their faith in society by opposing injustice, healing conflict, and pointing to signs of a new era of hope for the world of which Christ is Lord.
During the first phase of the project, an internship scheme was created and SCM members were invited to apply to spend 12 months focusing on a specific area of concern. Over the course of three years, six interns completed the programme, focussing on issues such as human trafficking, the experience of asylum seekers and refugees, youth justice, international development, mental health and food waste. Interns spent two days per week on placement with an organisation or project to gain first-hand experience of the issue they were interested in exploring, and two days reflecting on their experience and sharing this with the wider movement through workshops, blogs, events and articles in SCM’s Movement magazine.
To build on the work of the interns, from 2015 SCM appointed a Faith in Action Project Worker with support from Project Bonhoeffer. The Project Worker focused on integrating Faith in Action into SCM’s activities at a local level through working with SCM’s groups and members. The Project Worker visited groups to run workshops on Bonhoeffer, faith in action and theological reflection, created study resources, blogs and magazine articles, and coordinated SCM’s campaigns work. As SCM began to move to a more regional approach in its work with students, the project worker also supported student groups based in Birmingham and Leeds.
From 2018 the Project Worker role was further developed with the staff member spending time working on both the Faith in Action and SCM’s Regional Work projects. A team of Regional Development Workers delivered Faith in Action workshops with groups in their regions, resources focussed on Bonhoeffer and theological reflection were created and promoted to members, and the themes of Faith in Action, such as vocation, were integrated into the cycle of events and SCM’s communications.
Today, the Faith in Action project employs two recent graduates as Project Workers. An activist to make other activists, the Social Justice Project Worker will coordinate social action for SCM and engage the membership in social justice projects, equipping students with the skills they need to become faith-filled agents of social and political change and creating opportunities for students to put their faith into action. A theologian to make other theologians, the Theology and Resources Project Worker will provide the framework for students to be able to reflect theologically on their life and modern Christian Living, curating SCM’s Faith in Action resources and discovering new ways of connecting with the current membership.
Over the last ten years and with Project Bonhoeffer’s support, SCM members have campaigned on issues such as the inclusion of refugees, food poverty in the UK, peace and the environment. You can find out more about these campaigns by visiting the SCM website and by reading blogs and articles written by students as they reflect on these issues and take action.