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A new facility run by Scripture Union for training youth workers and church leaders in the area of multi-faith work has opened recently in Birmingham.
The Youth Encounter Centre has been set up by Dr. Andrew Smith, leader of Scripture Union’s Youth Encounter and Christian Youth Specialist on the national Christian-Muslim Forum, in response to a growing need for Christian leaders to be equipped for ministry in a multi-faith area.
The Youth Encounter Centre is based at the Springfield Centre, Moseley, Birmingham, close to the Sparkhill area of the city. The location of The Youth Encounter Centre in a predominantly Asian community with close links to a local church make it ideal for encounters with people of other faiths and local Christians. The Springfield Centre, including The Youth Encounter Centre, was officially opened on Saturday 15 November by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.
Dr. Smith set up the Youth Encounter project with the aim of helping Christian teenagers live out their faith amongst their Muslim friends, and comes as a result of many years experience working with Muslim children and young people.
In a report released this week by Beatbullying, titled Interfaith Report, it was revealed that one in four young people of all faiths has been bullied because of their religion. One of the recommendations in the report is an increase in outlets for young people of all faiths to discuss issues that matter to them.
Youth Encounter was born out of Scripture Union’s Faith and Young People dialogues which bring together Christian and Muslim teenagers. Youth Encounter gives young people a chance to explore issues relevant to young people of all faith communities and build friendships with people of a different faith. Youth Encounter has now grown to include the training of leaders at the Youth Encounter Centre. Courses are run throughout the year often alongside other organisations, including The Centre for Youth Ministry, CMS, Birmingham Diocese and Oasis Trust. Courses give youth workers exposure to people of different faiths and cultures and different places of worship and the chance to reflect, Biblically, on Christian youth work in a multi-faith society. Courses are led by Dr. Smith and often include input from local practitioners and academics.
Dr. Smith feels that The Youth Encounter Centre and its training programme are very important for modern youth work: ‘Having this facility available is a great opportunity for those wanting to learn more about working with children and youth of other faiths. There is a need for leaders and youth workers to be able to engage with communities that may not necessarily have a Christian majority and The Youth Encounter Centre and the training that happens here allow them to find out about how it can be done.’ENDS
Notes to editors:
For more details on all aspects of Youth Encounter and the Youth Encounter Centre see www.youthencounter.org.uk
For more information contact: Christina FarleyMedia and PR OfficerScripture UnionDirect line: 01908 856143Email: email@example.com
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