Nov 192014

Printable/searchable pdf version:

541/1 Student Christian Movement (SCM) Finding Aid

Title: Administrative Records of the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario

Series:   541/1 Student Christian Movement (SCM)

Dates:  1923 -1981

Extent:  3 m textual records


  • 541/1/1 Manitoba Student Christian Movement
  • 541/1/2 Manitoba Student Christian Movement General Secretary
  • 541/1/3 Manitoba Student Christian Movement Advisory Board

Finding Aid:

The Finding Aid includes File Description and Box Lists. (see pdf for complete version)

Historic Note

The Student Christian Movement (SCM) had its beginnings with the international Student Volunteer Movement (SVM) that grew up in Britain in the 1890s. The SVM encouraged foreign mission service on the part of students and had the lofty aim of establishing the city of God on earth. The Canadian Movement was conceived at a meeting in Guelph in 1920. The parent organisations were the YMCA, YWCA and Student Volunteer Movement. The SCM came about through the desire of students to have an autonomous movement run by the grass roots membership. (National offices administered the existing organisations.) The first National Conference of SCM of Canada was held in Toronto between Dec. 28, 1922 and Jan. 2, 1923. Lord Byng, then Governor General of Canada, E. C. Drury, premier of Ontario, and other leading politicians and academics were among the speakers. The SCM spread to Manitoba around 1923 and a unit was formed at Lakehead University in 1962. According to their Constitution (ca.1933), the Student Christian Movement is a fellowship of students “in any university or place of higher learning in Canada…based on the conviction that in Jesus Christ are found the supreme revelation of God and the means to the full realisation of life.” The Canadian SCM evolved as a national student organisation with local units in various universities, affiliated with the World Student Christian Federation and co-operating with international student aid groups. The program, set by the interests of the students, consisted of lectures, study groups, bull sessions, weekend camps, and conferences. Work camps and summer projects were organised by the national office of the SCM. The Lakehead Unit pioneered a book room, a university newspaper and a foreign film society. The Manitoba SCM was largely responsible for the founding of a student housing co-operative in Winnipeg in 1968.

From around 1945 to ca.1970, the SCM had a close relationship with the United Church. The SCM received financial support in the form of an annual grant from Conference and moral support from the United Church Lay Association, which provided members for the SCM Advisory Board. When a United Church Chaplain was appointed to the University of Manitoba Campus in 1963, he worked in close co-operation with the SCM. This involved operating as a resource person, serving on committees with the SCM Secretary and planning joint programs. Although the SCM still operates at the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg, the relationship with the United Church has grown less close over the years and it no longer receives funding from Conference.

The administrative structure of the SCM was based on the parliamentary model. The national Council, made up of representatives from the provincial councils, met once a year and was the supreme policy making body. The Manitoba SCM was at one time administered by a paid General Secretary in conjunction with a Central Cabinet, also called an Executive Committee, which co-ordinated the activities of local units. This cabinet ceased to exist after the SCM administration was restructured in 1964. Officers of each local unit included a Unit Chair, a Secretary and a Treasurer. At one time there would also have been a Worship Convenor and a World Student Christian Fellowship Convenor. Advice and guidance was offered by the SCM Advisory Board, which was made up of clergy and laymen from the academic and wider communities. The officers of the Advisory Board included the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Corresponding Secretary, and Recording Secretary as well as Standing Committee Chairs.

Related Records

Records of the national office of the Student Christian Movement have been accessioned by the Central Archives of The United Church of Canada.

[Back to top]