It’s finally here. Rendez-Vous 2017. Between Aug. 16 and 19, hundreds of young people from the United Church of Canada will gather at Montreal’s Concordia University. People are going to see old friends or meet new ones while gleaning inspiration from peers, leaders and presenters from across the country and beyond. Feeling excited yet? Well, you should be; Rendez-Vous is a one-of-a-kind experience because of participants’ energy, passion and complete openness to the Spirit. You won't find anything else like it in the country. You won’t find another gathering of young people more committed to making the world a better place.
Of course, this is going to be an incredible few days for all of us, but I’m certain that many of us — myself included — are feeling quite nervous right now. After all, at this monumental gathering, and there are going to be a lot of people whom you don't know, or find intimidating and unapproachable. But if I may, I'd like to offer this piece of advice.
Talk to people.
Sure, it's scary. Although I was lucky to be among friends from the Manitou Conference during my first Rendez-Vous in Winnipeg in 2014, the prospect of trying to fit in with — and befriend — dozens of people was nauseatingly frightening. I’ll let you in on a little secret, though: everyone’s in the same boat. And yet everyone is worth getting to know better. It was true for me and true for every other Rendez-Vous participant I've met. Besides, I’m sure you've all noticed that our future looks murky and uncertain at the moment, and in the coming years, it’s going to be our generation that will have to stand up, unitedly and bravely, for what’s right. The people you meet at Rendez-Vous over the next few days will not only become your friends, they will be your allies in the fight for peace, justice and compassion in the world; your support system during the darkest of times; and your Family in Christ as our church seeks a path to a brighter tomorrow.
So just bring a friend if you're nervous! Get to know your roommate if you haven't already, sit at a table with different people for each meal and befriend the people in your own homegroup! Or talk to me! Together, we’re part of a united — and uniting — community that we call “church.” As our creed says, "We are called to be the Church.”
So I hope that this will serve as a reminder of that call to be united and brave, and to meet your new family with open arms. We'd love to get to know you, too!
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