On the 25th January I was part of a team that took four Christian Year 8 girls, from Knowle, on a short trip to Sparkhill. This trip was organised in partnership with The Feast and was designed to challenge and grow their faiths, preconceptions, and knowledge by meeting and spending time with a group of four Muslim girls. The four girls did not really know what to expect from the afternoon in Sparkhill but were nervously excited about the possibilities that awaited them.
The afternoon started with the nervous splutter you would expect when two small groups of young people who do not know each other meet for the first time. But a quick icebreaker or two later and things were running like a well-oiled machine. It was a joy as a leader to see the girls mixing and interacting with each other, by playing a game of Human Bingo, and finding out which poor souls preferred Pepsi to Coke or who (if anyone) knew what ‘lighting up the diode on a motherboard’ even meant.
A discussion based icebreaker, which sadly saw a lawyer, a window cleaner and a bank manager get thrown out of a boat, provided many comical moments as well as opportunities for faith based discussions as the differences between an Imam and a Vicar were explained.
One highlight of the whole day was saved for late afternoon when the young people were paired up with someone from the other group and given a photo challenge to complete in the surrounding area. This challenge provided a great opportunity for the girls to ask each other questions to get to know each other better as well as questions about their beliefs. Even though it was a very cold day, the temperature went unnoticed by most doing the challenge as we were all having so much fun exploring the area and talking to each other and competing to see which pair (with a leader) would win!
After a brief thawing out session we were onto a time set aside for ‘faith conversations’. Sheets were provided with a selection of questions for the girls to choose from to ask each other in their pairs; allowing them to gain additional understanding and knowledge about the similarities and differences between Christianity and Islam.
The whole afternoon was a grand success. All of the girls from Knowle came away challenged by how Muslims viewed prayer in comparison to Christians. They were all very excited about the possibility of doing another project with The Feast and could not wait to go tell their friends that they missed out on an incredible experience. As their leader I came away immensely proud of our young people, impressed with how well the whole afternoon worked, and having learned a few new things myself.
– Guest post by James Yielder, Assistant Youth Minister, Knowle Parish Church