World Student Christian Federation - Asia-Pacific Region (WSCF-AP)
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Student Christian Movement India (SCMI)

SCM India holds a Study Work Camp

“Ecological Crisis: Response from Science and Religion”

May 21-26, 2007

A Study cum Work Camp was held during 21st-26th May, 2007 at Christukula Ashram, Tamil Nadu. The participants helped in clearing up the ashram and reflecting on environmental issues. Engaging in manual labour was new to some students who came from urban backgrounds; as such, doing works together became a learning point to understand the hardships of daily labourers and farmers. The work camp contained three elements—the centrality of the Bible, the reality of the environmental crisis, and the importance of student response.

At the regional levels, SCMI held 4 main events, these are the following:

1) The “Bible Study workshop and Student Empowerment for Transformation” of Andhra Pradesh Region of SCMI was held from 28th to 30th April 2007 at CSI Golden Jubilee Bhavan, Secunderabad.

The importance of rereading the Bible was highly stressed in the workshop. This was clubbed together with the role of students as future leaders to bring change into society. If our spirituality is not linked with development and daily struggles of the society we lose our stand as change-makers. This was seriously discussed and the students and senior friends participated very well.

2) On 13th March 2007, SCMI-North Tamilnadu region had a half-day programme on “Re-Reading the Bible in Women’s Perspectives: Students Role in Promoting Women’s Rights in the Media” at Women’s Christian College, Chennai. SCMI-NTN also organised a similar regional programme on “Re-Reading the Bible in Women’s Perspective: Christian’s Role in Promoting Women’s Rights in Media” on 24th March 2007 at Voorhees College, Vellore.

The re-reading the bible in Women’s perspective highlights how women are discriminated in their portrayal as property in patriarchal societies like those found in the Bible. They are seen merely as machines, to produce children and bestowed them the duty to take care of the children and the family. They have been pushed to the periphery, in such a way that they cannot come out of the house to experience any other life apart from the one given them. This is true in the present Indian society as well. However, the Bible talks about equality, and created both men and women in his own image.

3) SCMI-West Bengal Regional Annual Camp on “Re-Reading the Bible in the context of the Special Economic Zone in India” was held on 17th-18th March 2007 at Seva Kendra. Kolkata. 30 participants attended the programme.

The camp helped to have critical reflection on the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and its effect on people through Biblical passages. An overview on the SEZ, its application, a video documentary on SEZ lands created the atmosphere to critically look at the government, the corporate sector and the citizens. Biblical passages chosen were—the Book of Amos, Deut. 5&15, I Kings 21:1-16 and Mt.20:1-12. West Bengal is one of the most badly affected in terms of the Special Economic Zone policy. The students gained a lot through this camp.

4) The Orissa Region SCMI organise a three-day workshop on “Re-reading the Bible with New Eyes: Water and Climate Change”, in collaboration with the Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church (JELC), Youth Desk on 3rd-5th June 2007 at JELC Central Office.

The Workshop concentrated on how the Bible has been misinterpreted leading to the domination and oppression of certain sections of people and the misuse of natural resources. Fundamentalist ideals have often influenced general Christian worldview. By focusing on Water and Climate Change, the workshop created an eco-centric theology. As such, in the end, trees were planted to show the bond between creations.