Youth conference to celebrating and discuss Interfaith Week

A YOUTH conference saw more than 50 students from 13 primary and secondary schools spend a day at the Culver Centre in South Ockendon discussing faith and religions.

The third Thurrock SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on RE) Youth Conference was held on Friday, 30 November as part of National Interfaith Week.

The aim of the day, which was led by Lat Blaylock and Deborah Weston of the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education and funded with grants from the Interfaith Youth Trust and Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, aimed to give the students a chance to learn about religions and beliefs and to have fun sharing their ideas.

For example they discussed answers to questions such as “Which person, linked to religion or belief, alive today or from history, would you like to invite to lunch?, “where would you take them?”, and “if you could visit the holy place of a religion you don’t belong to, where would you like to go and why?”

Writing activities included analysing the versions the Christmas story in the Bible and in art, and working out what they tell us about Jesus.

Creative activities involved making a piece of art based on one of several themes in religious education, thinking about the different religions and beliefs in the modern world or a logo for RE – to help people understand what the modern subject is about.

Students also heard and discussed the story of Bishop Denis, Mozambican Anglican Bishop of Lebombo, Maputo, Mozambique who helped end the Mozambican civil war in 1992 and set up a programme which led to the surrender of 600,000 weapons that were later converted into art.

Stella Lawson, a SACRE member and a teacher who attended the conference said: “It was an amazing day with thought-provoking questions answered by many of the young people who were able to give logical reasons for their answers, and a true story resulted in some incredible art work using paper guns and hand grenades as the background for their icons of peace.”

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