by Clare Schulz, SCM Australia
A small gathering of students and friends met in Perth in July to build friendships, worship and pray together, and investigate the topic ‘Habitat’.
The five-day conference included workshops on many topics relating to our social and environmental surrounds.
Presentations included: looking at how to work for change so that we can have healthy cities; investigating a case study of salinity problems in Western Australia’s main wheat-growing areas; experiencing an Aramaic dance tradition as prayers for peace; discussing current Australian government actions in response to indigenous poverty and child abuse, including writing letters of concern from the conference to senior politicians; working through how to make ethical choices about the food we buy and eat; considering community development approaches to working with poorer communities through a Bangladeshi case study; and thinking through our theology and faith responses to global warming and climate change.
We also had Hannah Angus share her recent involvement in the WSCF AP Human Rights Defenders (HRD) Trainings for Students and International Solidarity Youth Mission (IYSM) to the Philippines in June 2007 Conference participants spent a day with the Christian Centre for Social Action, a local centre for justice resources that also provides basic social support to marginalized local residents.
This included sharing meals with the Centre’s guests, assisting with chores around the building, and leading their weekly worship space. After this intense conference experience, some participants shared an additional day of quiet reflection and prayer at a beautiful bushland property.
It was a most enjoyable and enriching conference that helped to strengthen our small Australian movement for our ongoing involvement in university life.