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July 2020
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Religious Youth Service

Art as a Service in Creating Peace in the Communities

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Bristol, England—RYS held an art service project from July 1st to the 9th. Bristol city is marred by its high crime rate and violence. Its ill repute became more apparent as we visited the neighborhood around the Bristol Central Mosque. Some of the participants were skeptical that we could make a difference in such an environment. But, very quickly these doubts were proven false. On the first day, local children came out and joined in with the project. Soon the parents and other youths from the community came out in support of the project. For a brief period, this small part of the Bristol community came alive with laughter and happiness. There was some concern that mosaic pieces would be vandalized in our absence. But the local youth were inspired by the project, and they watched over the artwork.

The RYS project was not just about hard work. Participants were introduced to various places of worship: a Hindu temple, a Sikh gurdwara, a mosque, a Buddhist center and a synagogue. These visits helped correct misunderstandings and enabled participants to appreciate each other’s religion.

As the project concluded, many local dignitaries expressed their support. Initially many had been skeptical about the project, including committee members of the mosque. When they saw the finished work they were surprised at the way the project had brought people closer together and inspired many diverse people to unite. Thus, while this project may have begun as a small group of people who were not a part of the community, by the time it concluded, local people had joined in, working together as a community seeking peace and harmony. Everyone witnessed how living for the sake of others can bring vitality to a community and spark love among neighbors.

Participants: 21
Religions Represented: 4 
Nations Represented: 8

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