Our desire is to bring together teenagers from different faiths and cultures to build friendships, explore faith and change lives.
We work by building good relationships with groups of young people and then invite them to ‘encounter’ events where they can meet one another. The relationships between the young people have to be developed in distinctive ways, as their varied communities have different structures and youth programmes based on faith and culture.
All our events are totally youth focussed and a typical event involves warm up activities, discussion starters, group work, games and refreshments. We adopt good youth work practice and have the interests and needs of the young people at heart.
Over the years we have found that small events (typically no more than 20 young people) have a much greater impact on these young people than large events, and we work hard to make sure there are equal numbers of each participating faith group.
These personal faith conversations, based on mutual vulnerability and respect, are an excellent environment for forming new friendships. Young people are helped to overcome their fears and gain the confidence to live well with people from a different community or faith. They can sit together, enjoy food, a laugh and have honest and open conversations.
At each ‘encounter’ event, after breaking the ice, we set up the ground rules for their time together, called our Guidelines for Dialogue. This creates a safe space where the young people are willing to share their thoughts and feelings in an honest way. As a result of this we can then facilitate open discussions based on them speaking about their own faith, and in the process they learn about the similarities and differences that exist between faiths. We believe that acknowledging both similarities and differences is vital if we are to be honest about our faith and be equipped to deal with disagreements when they occur.
The topics we discuss are ones that young people are concerned about rather than ones that faith leaders, theologians or other adults think they ought to be discussing. Through this we enable the young people to share their beliefs, experiences and ideas with one another rather than telling them what they ought to be sharing.
We encourage young people to take what they learn at The Feast out into their everyday lives. This may mean they confront their own prejudices and look to make positive change in their own lives, families and communities. It may also lead to young people leading on social action initiatives like litter picks, collecting food for, and visiting needy people, and proactive peaceful protest against injustice. We are proud to see this diverse group of young people making such positive change in their families, schools, neighbourhoods and communities, and maybe the world.
In response to the growing interest in our work, The Feast also runs a number of training events each year. These events are often run in partnership with other organisations that are looking to train their workers, as well as being open to the public as well as youth workers from across the country who want training on how to encourage their youth to love their neighbour.
The Feast Principles
We celebrate difference: we want to acknowledge our differences and delight in learning about one another and from one another, even when we disagree! We believe that unity is diversity embraced. We see diversity as a strength and are open and inclusive. We love talking about our faith, culture and background.
We are positive: we always look and hope for the best in people, situations and stories. We love to celebrate life together with fun, in joy and through the sharing of food.
We are authentic: we are honest and open and create a safe environment for others to be the same. We talk personally about who we are and allow others to do the same. We also recognise that for many young people, celebration is not always a lived-in reality and journeying with them, gives every young person permission to celebrate and to grieve. We are not scared of difficult conversations using our guidelines for dialogue.
We are collaborative: we believe that great relationships are powerful in creating peaceful, loving and inclusive communities. We love getting to know people, encouraging them and working together to empower young people to be peacemakers and leaders. We want to learn from others as well as share our knowledge, skills and expertise. We think it’s great when other people take our experience and build on it.
We are innovative: we want to find new, interesting and creative ways to get young people together to have a good time as they talk about their beliefs and identity.
Our main focus is 11-16 year olds and secondary schools.
However, we have a lot of 16-18 year olds and are increasingly being invited into Colleges and Sixth Forms, so we are keen to work with this age range and involve them more as young leaders and volunteers.
Our training is targeted at adults who work with young people.
The Feast works with people of any faith and none.
We started off as a charity that worked solely with Christians and Muslims and while this is still the majority of our work, it has broadened beyond these two groups.
We are conscious that the word “interfaith” means different things to different people, and for some it has negative connotations. We are grateful to the pioneers in this field and are glad that today there is a wide range of interpretations and endeavours meeting this need.
For The Feast we mean bringing groups of young people from different faiths together to have a lot of fun, get to know one another and to talk about what they believe. We use our Guidelines for Dialogue to make sure we have a safe space for them to talk about their beliefs and how they live them out in their lives.
We believe it is vital that we acknowledge our similarities and differences, and that our coming together does not mean compromising what we believe but engaging with respect and honesty.
The Feast was set up by Christians pioneering this way of helping young people of different faiths to interact well, based on an understanding of Jesus’ and the Bible’s teaching to love our neighbour. We are proud of and honest about our grounding in the Christian faith.
As a result the Governance structure is made up of Christians from a wide range of denominations and cultures. It is also a requirement that the CEO is a committed Christian, however no other role in the charity has this restriction unless there is a valid Genuine Operational Requirement that the candidate have a specific faith.
The Christian leadership of The Feast is tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding the delivery of the unique form of youth work that we are built on, which treats every single young person with respect and honour, no matter what they believe. Our staff, volunteers and partners are needed to keep us accountable to our ideals and to work with us to see our vision realised.
It is great that we can provide a vocation for people in this line of work, so thanks for asking.
Please see our vacancies page and also our volunteer page for more information about how you can get involved with the work. Alternatively, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 213 1711 as we would love to explore how we might be able to work together.
No, we have workers in Bradford and Keighley, Tower Hamlets and Luton, as well as international work taking place in Lebanon and elsewhere. You can read about the work they are doing on the Where page.
We do. We have event packs that you can use if you are getting two groups of young people together who are of different faiths or cultures. You can find them here.
Please help yourself to our guidelines for dialogue that can be found here.
We have plenty of other resources that our team has used with different groups in the past – single faith and mixed faith groups. If you would like more information about these, please get in touch through email@example.com or on 0121 213 1711.
Yes. We have one day training courses, an annual conference and we also run an accredited youth work course for more information on all of these follow this link.
If you would like us to come and train your staff, please contact us on 0121 213 1711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in knowing more about the work or setting it up in your area, please email email@example.com and we will pass your email onto the person who will be best able to explore that with you.
It is our aim at The Feast to grow a movement of people who are committed to living well with their neighbours of other faiths, where it is normal to connect with respect and trust. So we really hope we can find a way for you to get involved.
If you are 11-18 years old, or work with young people, check out [THIS – HYPERLINK] for details of the activities we have open at the moment. Or get in touch with the staff in your area to find out what they are working on.
Other ways include:
Pray or stay informed – sign up for our newsletter here.
Volunteer – follow this link to find out more.
Training – we run regular training opportunities, but may be able to develop something specifically for your needs.
Promote – share our work with your family, friends, faith group or network. Check out our social media feeds or get in touch for resources you can access.
Donate – financial support is vital to the ongoing work, so please visit (here) to find out how you can give.