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First interfaith youth arts event at Southwark Cathedral

On Bank Holiday Monday Southwark Cathedral hosted its first interfaith youth arts event with Christian, Muslim and Jewish young people.

First interfaith youth arts event at Southwark Cathedral

11-18 year olds from the Cathedral's YouthXpress programme were joined by groups of young people from Streatham's Hyderi Islamic Centre and Noam Masorti Youth (the youth movement for the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues).

"It was great to see so many young people connecting and sharing their faiths and traditions," says organiser Andreas Schoeler.

"I believe everyone enjoyed themselves and I am looking forward to another session at a later time."

Nine young people from Southwark Cathedral opened the event with their performance of The Prodigal Daughters, an updated version of The Prodigal Son from Luke's Gospel, which they had written for the event. Set in modern London, this account highlighted unconditional love and forgiveness.

They also gave a short presentation explaining different traditions relating to key points during the Christian calendar: Christmas, Shrove Tuesday, Lent and Easter.

The play was followed by talks by four young Muslims, each of whom talked about an aspect of their faith. Young women talked about "Being a Muslim Woman" and "Wearing the Hijab"; young men talked about "Jihad" (highlighting the less-widely known definition, that of the spiritual struggle of each man against vice, passion and ignorance) and "Respect for Teachers and Parents". Their presentation included a poem about being a Muslim woman.

Seven Jewish young people then divided the participants into three small groups and shared information about Shabbat (Sabbath), Pesach (Passover) and customs in Israel. The latter was led by two young Israeli women who were visiting the UK for a week. They ended their presentation by teaching the group the Hebrew song, Kol Ha'olam kulo Gesher Tsar me'od (The Whole World is a Narrow Bridge). This was a spirited conclusion to the creative part of the event.

Following refreshments and a chance for the young people to get to know one another informally, Canon Bruce Saunders gave the group a tour of the Cathedral and answered questions about the Christian faith.

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