Senior friends have been an integral part of the Student Christian Movements (SCMs) in the Asia-Pacific region. They have played an important role in the life of the SCMs. They have also been a great source of support, guidance and motivation to the SCMs in the region.
Most of the past and present leaders of the ecumenical movement have an SCM background and at some stage or the other they have played, and continue to play, the role of senior friends.
Even though the numbers of senior friends who continue to be part of the SCM and take active part in it are dwindling, a minority of them still continue to remain with it, which is encouraging. There is a need for locating and identifying senior friends in each country in the region to mobilize their support and make them interested in the SCM activities.
The SCMs are at a stage in its history where more and more support and encouragement from its former members, who are now senior friends, are needed, in terms moral, motivational and financial support. The support of the senior friends has become absolutely imperative to revitalize some of the SCMs in region and to sustain the continuity of the national SCM activities.
Very few attempts have been made so far to organize senior friends at a national and regional level. The World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific Region has been aware of the need for highlighting the importance of senior friends in the life and work of the SCMs in the region. With this in mind, the WSCF AP is taking the lead to set up a network of SCM senior friends, to be tentatively called, Network of Student Christian Movement Senior Friends in the Asia-Pacific (NESCAP).
Initially, NESCAP will be constituted with two senior friends (one woman and one man) from each national SCMs in the region, and with wider discussions and planning, its structure can be expanded. The network will be coordinated by the leadership of the WSCF AP Region in Hong Kong.
As one of the first steps, a one day consultation is being planned to be held on the sidelines of the next general assembly of the Christian Conference of Asia at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in April 2010. It is hoped that there will be many senior friends who will be attending the assembly and it will provide a good opportunity for networking, sharing and also initiating the idea of NESCAP with them. Future course of action and activities of NESCAP also may be worked out at the one day consultation.