Building friendships, exploring faith, changing lives

The Birmingham-based charity ‘The Feast’ works among 11 to 18-year-olds with the purpose of bringing together teenagers from different faiths and cultures to build friendships, explore faith and change lives. The work in Birmingham is led by Jill Appleton (Development Manager and Schools Consultant) and Rachel Butler (Schools and Youth Worker). Jill and Rachel are supported by volunteers drawn from Christian and other faith communities. The Feast also has branches in Tower Hamlets and Luton.

Groups of young people are invited to ‘encounter’ events where they can meet each other. A typical event involves warm-up activities, discussion starters, group-work, games and refreshments. After breaking the ice, the team introduces The Feast’s ten ‘Guidelines for Dialogue’ to create a safe space where the young people are happy to share their thoughts and feelings in an open and honest way. As a result, the young people are empowered to express their own faith, and to learn about the similarities and differences that exist between faiths. The topics discussed are those that young people are concerned about, rather than those that faith leaders, theologians or other adults think they ought to be discussing.

Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, the interfaith ‘encounter’ events often took place in after-school settings between young people from the city’s Christian, Muslim and Sikh schools. Over the last year, all gatherings have moved online, with a special emphasis on school holidays, when an open invitation is extended to young people to join ‘encounter’ events. Against a backdrop of baking, art and games, discussion starters allow the young people to begin to share about life and faith. Three online events take place during next week’s half-term break – an art workshop on the afternoon of Wednesday 17, ‘Taskmaster’ games on the morning of Thursday 18 and baking on the afternoon of Friday 19 February. Contact Rachel on 07782 545804 to find out more – and be sure to book as soon as possible!

Over the years, The Feast has developed programmes that can be used in schools and by youth groups. In October 2020, the ‘Transforming Dialogue Hub’ was launched as The Feast’s dedicated training arm. The Hub will provide increased training, resources and support to schools, youth workers and faith groups wanting to help young people ‘to live well with difference.’ The Hub is also able to provide bespoke training for businesses and Local Authorities who wish to bring out the best in their diverse staff teams.

For more information, visit The Feast’s website HERE. Contact Jill at THIS ADDRESS and Rachel at THIS ADDRESS.

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