As this is my last working day of for 2015, and with a fresh cup of coffee in hand, it seems like a great time to muse over the last year and how much I love this charity I am fortunate to be working with.
But first, from everyone at The Feast can we take this opportunity to wish you and yours the greetings of the Season, and a happy Christmas to those celebrating the birth of Jesus. At The Feast we are always asking people to share the best things about their faith – and to me as a Christian, God coming to earth as a man, born to a girl from a humble village, and in an animal stable, is definitely one of them!
2015 has certainly been a year of amazing contrasts.
Highlights have included receiving the Queens Award for Voluntary Service (like an MBE for charities), took a group of young people to Ghana (and brought them back again!), and held our first ever Faith and Friend Conference. We also ran a successful social media campaign during Interfaith Week, using #howtotalkfaith, which reached an audience of over 140,000 and engaged directly with over 4,000.
We ran youth encounters up and down the country, including such variety as residentials, paintballing, rockclimbing, horseriding, football, gardening, foodbank collections and canal litter picks. In our four UK locations we have worked with hundreds of young people, who have in turn shared the experience with their families and communities. We are very proud to be a part of their journey.
As for a staff team we amazingly celebrated four weddings and welcomed two babies!
But we have had our challenges. Earlier in the year we worked through financial struggles, which led to a timely and healthy examination of our organisation structures, strategies and sustainability. Things have turned around nicely, but a result of this came a refocusing of our field work in ways we hope will enable us to impact more young people.
We have all watched the big news stories of the year, with the mass mobilisation of people around the world fleeing war and conflict. And in Europe the horror of these conflicts came close-to-home, with two attacks in Paris. The need to invest in young people, and give them the skills and confidence to live well with our faith and cultural differences, has never been greater! It is our desire for The Feast to become more effective in sharing our work widely, and for the long term.
Along with these organisational changes, it has also been sad to say goodbye to a number of our staff during the year. So … 2015 has felt like a game-changing year, which leaves me expectant about a new season for The Feast in 2016.
Thank you to all who have supported and joined with us in some way this past year. We greatly appreciate your prayerful, financial and practical help, and look forward to all we will achieve together in the New Year.