Lebanon is usually in the news for all the wrong reasons. It is true that there is inter-religious conflict and tension, and yet at the same time there is also an incredible level of inter-faith engagement and understanding. And as usual, it is young people who may have the most to offer and the most to gain from building relationships of trust, understanding and hope with those from other faith traditions.
With this in mind World Vision Lebanon and the Institute of Middle East Studies [IMES] based at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary [ABTS], Beirut, are facilitating a pilot ‘Feast’ project with 12 Lebanese young people, aged 15-18, which began on Saturday, the 8th of March, in Beirut.
Although at this stage a pilot project, the purpose of The Feast in Lebanon is: To expose Lebanese young people (15-18), who are serious about their faith, to one another, in order to increase tolerance, understanding and cooperation.
So far the 12 young people, six Sunni Muslims from the southern Port city of Sidon and six Evangelical Christians from Beirut, spent a day together doing a range of group activities, exploring how they would like to see their faith contribute to realising the future they wish to see for Lebanon.
Given that so many young people want to leave Lebanon, it was amazing to see young people dreaming about a possible different future reality,
says IMES’s Arthur Brown. A second day is planned for the same group, this time in Sidon.
Of course food was an important part of the day, and we all enjoyed an amazing feast of oriental food, prepared especially for the day. We are all looking forward to meeting up again and to seeing how The Feast could develop in Lebanon.
– Guest post, by Joel Taylor and Arthur Brown following World Vision and ABTS’s recent pilot encounter event in Beirut, Lebanon.