2013-Symposium-ncln-smallWritten by: Kathleen Dunn

“We didn’t get to choose when we would be born. We didn’t even get to choose THAT we would be born. We are of the blessed number that survived abortion, yet live to see its rampant destruction of this generation. We were born amidst this horrific attack against life and thus have a responsibility – an obligation – to speak up for the unborn.  Because if we don’t, who will?”

These heavy, impelling sentiments were articulated during the final send-off at the 2013 National Campus Life Network Symposium held in Toronto this past weekend. Fifty pro-life students from university campuses all over Canada gathered to be trained in pro-life apologetics, campus strategies and leadership. They were given the opportunity to reflect on and grow in their leadership abilities as well as network with other students facing similar challenges and opportunities on their campuses.

As a staff member of National Campus Life Network, it was an honor to be a part of such a pivotal weekend. Some of the greatest pro-life leaders of our country – both our speakers and our students – were all gathered in one room. As they fed off each others’ passion, learnt from each other and inspired each other, so much hope was realized. We can end abortion in Canada. And we, at NCLN, truly believe this will be achieved by the determination and hard work of these students.

Nowhere is the pro-life message more crucially needed than on our university campuses. Not only are campuses filled with the age demographic most affected by abortion, but campuses are where our culture’s leaders are formed: doctors, politicians, lawyers, teachers and the list goes on. Campuses are where worldviews are solidified, opinions are established and career paths are chosen. It’s frightening to think that if students don’t bring the pro-life message to campus, the majority of our future leaders may not ever hear the truth about abortion.

This is why NCLN exists, and why the Symposium was such a success. Pro-life leaders such as Jonathon Van Maren and Maaike Rosendal of CCBR, James Borkowski of Signal Hill, Daniel Gilman, André Schutten of ARPA, and Brendan O’Morchoe of Students for Life of America impassioned and equipped the students with knowledge and tools to bring the pro-life message to campus. Carol Crosson ofJCCF, Alissa Golob of CLC, Angelina Steenstra of SNMACand theSisters of Life worked with our students as they discussed tactics and activities designed to spread the truth about abortion. Finally, our own NCLN staff broke down the basics of being an effective club leader and met with the students in regional groups to work on their activities and goals for their campuses.

The students learned how to effectively defend the pro-life position. They learned how the R.v. Morgentaler decision changed our country, and how it affects us today. They learned how to properly use social media as a medium for the pro-life message. They learned how seeing the horror of abortion changes the hearts and minds of those who would rather choose to ignore the reality. They learned how to speak to the heart of a pregnant woman as well as the heart of a post-abortive woman. By learning their rights on campus, the students know to be confident in their rights on campus. They learned how to work together as a team by becoming servant leaders. They learned that their weaknesses cannot be an excuse for not being a pro-life witness. But among many other things, they learned that taking on the mission of ending abortion is no easy task: it takes endurance, patience and strategy – but most of all, it takes love.

Every aspect of the weekend was designed to encourage, equip and empower our students in their desire to save pre-born lives on campus and in their communities. No student left the Symposium without a renewed purpose to change the pro-choice culture of their campus into one that is pro-life.

This year, we are so excited to once again work alongside these university students as they take on their mission to transform their campus culture into a Culture of Life. Even though it means sacrificing social and study time in order to prioritize pro-life meetings and events, these students are on fire to forge ahead and do everything they can to rescue babies from a violent death by abortion. Because if we, who know the truth about abortion, do not speak up to defend the humanity of the pre-born, what is left but the pro-choice mentality that continues to destroy the next generation?

Our Canadian students pro-life students have taken on a heavy and daunting mission, but it is a mission that we all must assume until we see an end to abortion in Canada and in our world.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, speakers and students who supported and attended the 2013 Symposium. You are saving lives and effectively bringing our generation out of the shadows of the R.v. Morgenatler decision and into the light of a pro-life Canada.

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