The Feast, with the support of Near Neighbours, lots of cups of coffees and some great new volunteers and young people, is developing a work in Luton. We recently ran a pilot event there, and you can read more about it below –
On the 15th of November 2015, we ran The Feast event here in Luton for the first time. Luton is the second most multicultural/multi-religious town in the UK outside of London. Many people that came here when industrial was thriving have now settled here in Luton making it a home to over a hundred – fifty spoken languages and dozens of religions. Over the years, Luton has faced some religious and political tensions but by and large the town is still held together by its community relations work. Out of this background, we began The Feast project to create friendship, explore faith, and change the lives of young people across cultural and religious lines were it is most needed.
We named the pilot event for Luton ‘Realize’ which in a vague sense means to discover new things about the other person’s life or beliefs and likewise discover new elements in yours. The day started with some fun introductory icebreakers to loosen the awkwardness of meeting unfamiliar faces, whom you would have to spend half of the day with for the first time. The young people and a leader were then sent out for a photo challenge around Farley Hill community. This activity helped them to talk to each other, to suggest ideas, and to brainstorm about some of the things they were asked to do.
Mid-way through the event, the young people explored more about each other’s lives through guided discussions around topics like entertainment, places of worship, home, food, school, family, and their preferred shopping venues. This discussion session revealed to them their similarities and differences. And these are what some of them have to say: “…I also learned a lot about my own faith as well as that of the other.” “It has shown me that other people with other faiths might believe different things, but you can still be friendly towards them.” Lastly, “It has helped me grow a stronger faith towards religion including mine as well as other people.”
Toward the end of the day, each group explained one of their religious festivals through discussion and acting them out. The Muslims explained some of their activities during Ramadan which included: waking up at three in the morning, eating together and prayer before the all-day fast begins. Christians, on the other hand, did a play about the death and resurrection of Jesus, and how it is celebrated on Easter day with Easter eggs and food.
Finally, the long awaited pizzas came, and we all ate together and made our way home feeling encouraged and full of faith. Reading the feedback sheets must of the young participants mentioned they would bring friends if there is another event because they had a good time.
– Guest Post by Nanzip Lannap, volunteer of The Feast in Luton.