Young people today are growing up in a country surrounded by different faiths yet often lead separate lives. As a result Christian and Muslim young people can experience barriers of ignorance, fear and mistrust in their communities, which sometimes progresses into hostility or conflict. The Feast is empowering young people to spearhead social change. The Institute of Middle East Studies is working in partnership with World Vision Lebanon and Lebanon Youth for Christ to facilitate The Feast in Lebanon. We are affiliated with The Feast International based in Birmingham, UK.
The Feast is all about…
- Exploring faith: young people are encouraged and equipped to discuss their faith in ways which draw out both the similarities and differences between them.
- Creating friendships: by bringing together young people in a positive and fun environment we provide the opportunities for them to get to know one another, work on projects together and build ongoing friendship built on trust and respect.
- Changing lives: having been to events run by The Feast the young people are challenged and enabled to live out the lessons they have learnt in their everyday lives amongst their friends, family and the wider community.
Our Vision and Values
The VISION The Feast is to see Christian and Muslim young people coming together to form real friendships that move them to be peace-makers amongst their peers and in the world.
The Christian PRINCIPLES to which we ascribe include:
- A belief that all people are made by God and are equally valuable. Therefore we have a duty to befriend, serve and care for those we meet regardless of race, faith or gender.
- A commitment to Jesus’ teaching that we should love our neighbours as ourselves whoever they might be.
- In the Bible we read that Jesus promises God’s blessing for those who are peacemakers, consequently we have a concern for the peace and wellbeing of the community of which we are a part and to equip others to be peacemakers.
What We Do…
The Feast primarily:
- Works with young people
- Works with Muslims and Christians
- Runs regular small events
The Feast events will always include:
- An environment that is welcoming, inclusive, stimulating, enjoyable and fun,
- Opportunities for new friendships to be made and established ones to be strengthened,
- A safe place to discuss the similarities and differences between their faiths in an atmosphere of honest friendship,
- Faith-based discussions between teenagers using the Guidelines for Dialogue, and where the young people talk about their own faith and listen to a peer describe their own faith,
- A recognition of the similarities and differences between faiths,
- Topics and activities based on the needs, interests and passions of young people,
- High quality youth work including the highest standards of child protection and health and safety.
The Feast events will include whenever possible:
- Equal numbers of Christians and Muslims,
- A chance to eat together,
- Equal opportunities for males and females to participate (even if this means running separate gendered events),
- Christian and Muslim volunteer leaders.
The Feast events will always avoid:
- Any calls to conversion,
- Literature promoting one faith being given to the young people,
- Adults dominating discussions or giving lengthy talks,
- Doing or saying anything that makes a young person feel that they have to compromise their beliefs or religious practices,
- Allowing adults to correct young people if the adult feels that they have made an error if the explanation of their faith (this is best done through the faith community or families outside of the event),
- Letting one faith or culture dominate the look and feel of an event.
The Feast will seek to:
- Give an opportunity for young people to put faith into action for the benefit of others,
- Work with faith and community leaders to gain their support for the work,
- Publicise the work to encourage greater participation.
Guidelines for Dialogue: Transforming Interfaith Encounters
Learning to explore faith in healthy ways is central to The Feast. To help young people do this we ask everyone to commit to these simple guidelines:
- Listen to what everyone has to say
- Be honest in what we say
- Speak positively about my own faith, rather than negatively about other people’s
- Respect other people’s views, even if I disagree
- Not treat people here as spokespersons for their faith
- Not tell others what they believe, but will let them tell me
- Acknowledge similarities and differences between our faiths
- Not judge people here by what some people of their faith do
- Not force people to agree with my views
- Make every effort to get along with everyone regardless of their faith, gender, race or age
- At any stage we can ask for a discussion to be stopped if we feel uncomfortable.