Alice Hoaglund attended the Senior Friends’ Gathering in Berkeley, CA on March 24. Here is her reflection from that experience.
From the time Peter Haresnape, SCM Canada General Secretary welcomed me, throughout the 8 hours when Luciano Kovacs bade me goodbye, I had the warm feeling of being among Federation friends Friday, March 24, at the Senior Friends gathering in Berkeley. This is a short time to compare one day with 60 years ago when I had the privilege of serving two years as European Secretary, WSCF, living in and traveling from Geneva, Switzerland, following several years in the student Christian movement in the U.S. The current theme of the LTP conference, “Resisting Empire,” sounded like the intensity and commitment which characterized the Federation long ago.
Timeliness was another commonality which I felt as we gathered then and now for regional and international conferences. The global outlook was broadening for us as we spoke of conflicts we faced between different parts of the world. The 50’s weren’t that far from World War II so we could still experience the attitudes that existed among nations. This made the Federation such an important movement for bringing reconciliation as a key concept in our discussions. The subject of sexuality was definitely a different, though not unfamiliar, conversation. The theme of a 1952 Student World quarterly was “Man and Woman.”
Ecumenical was a current subject then on local and national levels. Related to this was the founding of the World Council of Churches in 1948. Not forgotten was the amazing history preceding it, the birth of the WSCF in l895. This did not seem important to students, maybe not then nor now. For us old-timers, it is something we don’t want the Movement to forget. In the changing world of our day the need of interfaith understanding and common goals is part of our vocabulary. This term during one of the workshops added to the timeliness of the discussion. At the same time, the grounding of local SCM’s in Bible study and worship remains basic. I am sorry I missed the study of Exodus 32 at the beginning of the LTP conference. Our international office in Geneva brought us in close cooperation with a Roman Catholic World Service organization. Our staff bookkeeper Yusef was a devout Russian Orthodox.
The words on Peter’s T-shirt struck me as a banner theme for the life of the Federation. Now if I could only recall exactly what they were? Easier to remember are the lines at the close of Luciano‘s correspondence, “In Christ, In Solidarity,”