In the crowd of more than 2,500 participants at the 2015 Starpoint Reformed Youth Conference one shouldn't be surprised to hear English, French, German or Korean words, as a group of international guests joined the programs. We found a silent bench for a short talk with Duncan Maclean (20) from the USA.
If you had to introduce yourself in 3 sentences, what would that be?
I’m Duncan Maclean from the United States, representing the Reformed Church in America here. I grew up in the Mid-West, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’ve lived there my whole life, but in my almost adult life I found myself that I’d really like to travel and see as much of the world as I can.
Hungary is a long way from Grand Rapids.
Actually, I came from Germany, as I’m doing a summer communication internship there this summer at the World Communion of Reformed Churches based in Hannover.
Was it also you first visit to Europe?
No, I’ve been to France before for a month, and I’ve been to Scotland and England, too — but that was when I was pretty young.
Have you ever been to such a large scale youth conference like Starpoint?
I’ve never experienced any religious or Christian conference like this. I didn’t realise the scope of it before coming here. I’ve been to Kirchentag in Stuttgart, earlier this summer, and that blew me away, that you can get anything of this size with Christians, especially in Europe. When I heard there is another one, specialised on youth, that really blew me away.
This year Starpoint focuses on trust. Did you have any preliminary ideas of how things would be here, what you would get?
During my visit to Kirchentag I met Balázs Ódor who spoke about this youth conference and invited me to represent RCA and see Hungary. I said, sure, that sounds great. I came with trust, even though I don’t speak a word of Hungarian. I just let the people in charge handle it, and it’s been an awesome experience so far.
Did you see this journey as a personal initiative of yours, or did you find it more useful as a career step?
It was kind of a convenient mixture of both, I didn’t plan it at all, but when the opportunity came I said I’d love to do that. It is a great experience of meeting youth, interacting with other young Christian people, and that it came during this communication internship was really a God moment.
You mentioned communication for the second time. Will this be the focus of your career?
I’m studying communication at Hope University. I plan to graduate from that and become a journalist. In what, I don’t know yet, but I want to write and tell stories.
The luggage metaphor came up several times the past days. What did you bring here and what will you be taking away with yourself?
I brought my uncertainty of what I will be doing here. When we arrived, we spent two fantastic days in Budapest, and that was completely unexpected. The city was beautiful, with so many grand buildings, the Castle — I just didn’t realise that’s what this country will be. Coming here I had some vague expectations, but it’s been much more fun, I had fantastic time so far. I’m leaving from Starpoint with a broader view of the world: I met many interesting people from all around, Christians, who turned out to be just like me. A broader view even of the Reformed Christian world. I didn’t realise it was such widespread.
What is your top-of-mind best experience so far at Starpoint?
Well, last night the concert of the band Mary Popkids was great. We heard during the day this band is pretty popular in Hungary, but we had no idea what to expect, what is popular in Hungary in music. When we got there, the place was full, the music and the band was great, we were all excited, and it was a really great concert, there were all these people, most of them I cannot communicate with, but through the power of this band and their music, and our fellowship, I just had a fantastic time.