By Melissa Llewellyn, Youth Worker in Luton
Last week I experienced my first youth encounter since starting work with The Feast with a great group of young Christians and Atheists from Raines Foundation School in Bethnal Green. They were confident and comfortable to talk about their own beliefs and valued each other’s views, and they engaged in the discussions with both a keenness to share and to learn about everyone else.
We spent the day exploring London on the ground, and in the air and water – by train, cable car and boat – with 5 young people who competed in teams to capture all the images they had to find in the quickest time.
When they decided on somewhere to eat, we asked each other, “Do you believe in miracles? What about the supernatural?” It was one of the young people who sparked our discussion when she shared earlier in the day that she had had two “supernatural encounters” and explained that she was an atheist, and that she believed in the supernatural. Someone asked, “How would you define supernatural?” but we paused her answer to save that discussion until later.
Our conversations lead into questions about how the faith and beliefs of our parents influence our own, “Do you share the same beliefs as your parents?” “How would you feel if they changed their beliefs or religion?” As a new Muslim, I’ve had and heard this conversation before, but listening to the young people’s responses and our varying experiences was really refreshing and enjoyable.
The lasting friendships that these 12 and 13 year olds had built through The Feast presence at their school was increasingly evident throughout the day for me. I hope we can have a group like this in Luton soon!