The Feast is a Christian charity that works in Birmingham, London and Bradford enabling young people of different faiths to meet, discuss faith and beliefs and make the world a better place. They passionately believe, by providing opportunities for young people to meet each other and talk honestly and openly, that the stereotyping and fear that so often divides our communities can be reduced.
As the UK continues to get more and more diverse, multi-cultural communities often segregate and as a result can become suspicious of each other. They want to live in peace alongside our different communities and be able to work together to make our cities good places to live in.
For many Christian young people the idea of sharing faith can be very daunting, and increasingly they are told to keep their faith a private and personal matter only. Going to school with peers from other faiths is now an inevitability, which can leave young people wondering what they are allowed or supposed to say or share with Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and atheist class-mates. All this coupled with the command from Jesus to tell others about Him can be quite overwhelming.
That’s where The Feast comes in. They help by equipping and providing opportunities for young people to share their faith in a safe and supportive environment. This can be done, for example, by to going Christian youth groups prior to an interfaith encounter event, giving them Biblical teaching, activities and practical advice in how they can share their faith and truly love their neighbour as themselves, especially when they disagree with them. Events are arranged where young people can meet each other in small groups and make friends, have fun, talk about faith in relevant ways to their lives, and work on community projects together.
Young people they’ve worked with have told The Feast workers that when they’ve spent time with Muslims, Christians, Sikhs etc, the people have been a lot nicer and they had a lot more in common than they anticipated. Through these encounters they’ve become stronger in their faith – it causes them to think more deeply about what their faith teaches and consider their own response. Speaking to people increases their confidence to say what they think and know that it is possible to disagree peacefully and still maintain a friendship with someone who is different. They are confident to talk about things that many people, including adults, tend to avoid out of fear of getting into an argument.
Young people involved in The Feast have become role models to their peers, and to the adults in their wider community too. Adults have been convicted and inspired to make a more conscious effort to befriend people of other faiths they encounter, and to stop judging people from other faiths and cultures prior to meeting people from them.
Together with young people, their schools and their families we are actively making peace in our neighbourhoods, and helping to fulfil the call to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.