Student Christian Movement

The British section of the World Student Christian Federation,* founded by John R. Mott* in 1895. Each national movement preserves its autonomy as a fellowship of students who “desire to understand the Christian faith and live the Christian life.” The SCM was the product of several student movements in the latter part of the nineteenth century, of which the Student Volunteer Missionary Union was of special importance. This had begun in Cambridge in 1892 through the inspiration of the “Cambridge Seven.” With a growing desire to include High Church and liberal representatives, the SCM gradually moved away from its Evangelical origins, till the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union withdrew from membership of the movement on doctrinal grounds in 1910. Its desire for “comprehensiveness” included a determination to “shake itself free” from the conservative approach to the Bible.

In evolving the principle of being an “interdenominational” movement rather than “nondenominational,” each denomination making its special contribution, the SCM paved the way for the modern ecumenical movement, many of whose leaders sprang from its ranks-J.H. Oldham,* William Temple,* N. Söderblom.* Through conferences and study groups it has sought to grapple with the relevance of Christianity to the contemporary world. Besides work in universities and among theological students, the movement operates also in schools. In 1929 the Student Christian Movement Press Ltd. was set up, primarily to supply students with literature at low cost, which has now grown into a substantial publishing house. Through the WSCF international contacts are maintained and encouraged.

See T. Tatlow, The Story of the Student Christian Movement of Great Britain and Ireland (1933).