Student Christian Movement of Great Britain

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Student Christian Movement of Great Britain (previously of Great Britain and Ireland) is a British religious charity.


SCM began in 1889 as the Student Volunteer Missionary Union[1] and set out to unite students with an interest in overseas mission, but it rapidly broadened its aims and became the largest student organisation in Britain. It went on to help establish the National Union of Students and the World University Service. Its first General Secretary was Tissington Tatlow. According to William Temple (Archbishop of Canterbury, 1942–44), without SCM the Edinburgh conference which was to give birth to the modern ecumenical movement would never have taken place. SCM went on to play a vital role in the formation of the British and World Council of Churches and continued to be a leading voice on ecumenism. It founded the SCM Press which became one of the leading Theological publishers in the UK attracting controversy with the publication of Honest to God in 1963.

In 1928 the Inter-Varsity Fellowship was formed by members of the SCM who disagreed with its liberal position.

Until the 1980s the SCM covered the whole of Britain and Ireland, but then split into two organisations. Both remain members of the World Student Christian Federation. This period also saw the growing participation of Catholics in what had been a Protestant organisation.

SCM has links in approximately 60 universities and other higher education establishments] across the United Kingdom. Each link takes the form of either a student group or chaplaincy who subscribe SCM's aims and objectives. Some of the student groups carry the SCM name (for example Sheffield SCM) whereas other do not, some are denominational societies who are connected to a particular church. The characteristics of each link vary, with SCM making no determinations as to how groups should be run, however, most SCM affiliated student groups follow the principle of student leadership.

SCM also has a number of individual members: these are students, or recent students, who want membership independent of a local group or chaplaincy; either because they want to support the movement, or get more involved in the movement, or because there is no local group for them to join.


  1. ^ Stanley, Brian (2009-03-27). The World Missionary Conference, Edinburgh 1910. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 9780802863607.


  • Tissington Tatlow, The Story of the Student Christian Movement of Great Britain and Ireland (London: SCM Press, 1933)
  • Bruce, Steve; "The Student Christian Movement: a nineteenth century new religious movement and its vicissitudes", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 2 (1) (1982) : 67-82.

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