Chauncey came to The Feast through our Methodist partner in Birmingham. He came reluctantly, not sure if this was something he wanted to do, and his mother had to do a lot of persuading to get him along to our week of youth encounters in April 2018.
The first encounter he came to was a Baking Challenge. Chauncey very quickly forgot his initial reservations and it was good to see him chatting with other members of the group. It wasn’t all baking and eating though – after the young people had baked cookies and gulab jaman, they took them out onto the streets of Sparkhill to share with our neighbours, showing the people of Birmingham how young people of different faiths can be united.
On their return to The Feast’s base, the young people completed an exercise where they looked at the similarities and differences between what they had baked. This was the easy part! Then we asked them to talk about the similarities and differences between their faiths. Chauncey sat with two Muslim boys, looking very nervous. As they talked about their faith, they discovered that both Muslims and Christians believe in Jesus although in different ways. One of our Guidelines is ‘Do not treat someone as a spokesperson for their faith or culture’ and with this reassurance, Chauncey started to talk about what he believed. (When the minister of his church heard that Chauncey had done this he observed that Chauncey had never spoken to a Christian about his faith, never mind to someone of a different faith).
This one encounter had a great impact on Chauncey; he found a confidence he didn’t know he had and he made friends. So much so that the next day, in spite of pouring rain, he persuaded his mother to take him to The Feast office so that he could walk with his new friends to our next event (climbing) even though the bus would have dropped him outside the venue!
It’s hard to believe that this all happened less than a year ago. Since that memorable week, Chauncey has become an ambassador for The Feast. As well as coming to all our holiday encounters, he regularly supports our Methodist partner, travelling to different churches and telling people about The Feast. In November 2018, he joined The Feast youth workers at the national gathering of young Methodists and told his story of how his life had been transformed by his experience at The Feast. His enthusiasm has brought many new young people to The Feast, but it has also given him the confidence that he didn’t have before. He is more confident in his faith, more confident in his attitudes and more confident in talking with people of different faiths. He has great, genuine friendships with young people of different faiths and is now working on persuading his older brother to join The Feast.
Definitely a future leader!