Student Sunday takes place on the third Sunday in February (16 February). It is also known as the Universal Day of Prayer for Students, which has been celebrated since 1898.
This year’s theme is: Known by Name. Students and others are invited to consider who God has called us to be, and how we can live out our faith in an authentic way. For hymns that expand on this theme, see below.
Dr Feylyn Lewis, a trustee of the Student Christian Movement (SCM), writes:
“In a world that demands that your accomplishments and successes define you, I consider it an act of resistance to believe and behave otherwise. I am not only my accomplishments, just as I am not only my mistakes, confusions, or disappointments. An identity as God’s beloved child is the ultimate gift of liberty. . . Beloved is my identity, and, in that identity, I can rest.”
The resource toolkit produced for this year by SCM (downloadable here) contains a selection of prayers written by students and others – prayers for students and Prayers of the People. There is also detailed information about how to support SCM – from financial giving to becoming an SCM Link Church, or simply becoming intentional in welcoming students to your church. The Methodist Church nationally has demonstrated its commitment to the support of young people transitioning to university by helping to fund SCM’s Connect Project.
This year, SCM marks its 130th anniversary. A service of celebration will be held at Coventry Cathedral on 15 February at 2pm. Contact and booking info for this free event is on the SCM events page.
Known by Name – hymns to sing
God, when I came into this life you called me by my name (StF 535) – Fred Kaan’s hymn of commitment
Just as I am, without one plea (StF 556) – God accepts us as we are, without precondition (consider, for example, the transforming effect Jesus has on Mary Magdalene’s life when he calls her by name: John 20: 10-18)
Lord, you have come to the seashore (StF 558) – echoing, perhaps, the experience of Jesus’ first disciples: “O Lord, with your eyes set upon me, / gently smiling, you have spoken my name”
O Lord, you have searched me out and known me (StF 835) – responsive version of Psalm 139 (see also the call of Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you”, Jeremiah 1: 5-7)
Spirit of the living God (StF 395) – asking for God's guiding presence
The Spirit lives to set us free (StF 397) – a celebration of the way God’s spirit can live in us, and we can walk in that “light”
Where shall my wondering soul begin? (StF 454) – some of the imagery may raise a question or two nowadays, but Charles Wesley’s “Conversion Hymn” remains a magnificent and joyful account of being named and loved as a child of God
You are the centre, you are my life (StF 567) – a reflective hymn by Margaret Rizza, praying for the healing, teaching and peace of the Spirit that informs authentic living (also see God in my living by Tim Hughes, StF 497, and Katie Wilkinson’s older, but beautifully expressed, May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day to day, StF 504)