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BIRMINGHAM: Sharing faith in London

15 November 2011

by Margaret Duggan

“THE whole day was amazing for making new friends from other religions and cultures,” said 14-year-old Usma, after she and a score of Christian and Muslim teenagers from seven secondary schools around Birmingham had spent a day in London, where they visited the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace (above).

The visit had been organised by The Feast, a charity set up in Birmingham to “promote community cohesion” between Muslims and Christians. The young people had a debate on power and authority with the Archbishop, who is patron of The Feast. It was wonderful, Dr Williams said, when young people began to build friendships, “and when they are first starting to ask the big questions. It is very important work, like sowing seeds for the long term.”

Ali, who is 13, said of Dr Williams that it was “quite exciting to meet a person you could admire and was inspiring: he is a very good role-model”; and 17-year-old Chris found his time at Lambeth Palace “a great place to feel comfortable sharing my faith and hearing others share”.

But not all their time was spent at Lambeth. Many of them had never been to London before, and the day included a boat trip on the Thames. For Chris, who is 13, the highlight was “being able to see all the famous buildings on the river cruise; I got a sense of English culture and how good it is living here.”

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