Issue 55 - 14 Sultán 157 BE / 1 February 2001 CE
Winter School 2000
Northern Ireland's Winter School took place at a new location this year - Portaferry, County Down - from 24 to 28 December 2000. It was held in the Barholm Guest House, wonderfully located right across from the Strangford ferry and overlooking the Lough. Surrounded by beautiful countryside and the Exploris, there was a good choice of things to do when not participating in the offerings of the school.
The house itself was warm & inviting, once everyone had moved in and settled. The turnout was good, almost filling the capacity. The rooms were warm, and the kitchen large. It was nearly always filled with the beautiful aromas of Vida Lake's lovingly-made meals. Food was more than abundant, and no one went away hungry - that's for sure!
Edwin and Susan did a marvelous job of organising everyone and getting us settled in for the 5 days. Over the ensuing days, we were treated to speakers who all truly spoke from the heart: Dr. Keith Munro, Dr.Les Gornell, Betty Reed, Brian Corvin, Kevin Brogan, and Ian Long.(thank you!) All of these people presented very thorough talks, and gave us plenty of food for thought. Their enthusiasm was catching...
A memorial meeting was set aside for Mr. Hassan Sabri, who recently passed away, although famous the Bahá'í world over, he and his wife had attended our Summer School in Portrush two years running. While I never had the privilege of meeting this gentleman, I know from all that he had done in his life, and the impression he had made on others, that he will be sorely missed.
Even the weather cooperated, with glorious sunny days and a made-to-order snowstorm for the children. (and, truth-be-known, for some adults as well!) Speaking strictly for myself, I think the Winter School was the perfect way to spend what was going to be an uncomfortable time of year. It enabled me to get away from the commercialism of the holiday season, and experience thefeeling of camaraderie and oneness of purpose with my newly-found Baha'i friends. It offered an opportunity to re- affirm shared values and ideals. I hope that everyone who came to the Winter School this year left - as I did - with a better understanding of what it means to be a Baha'i.
Marie and Pat's Travel Teaching Trip
Marie Whiteside and Patricia Jamshidi had a wonderful travel teaching trip to Southern Ireland form the 12-19th of Nov. Their itinerary took them from Cavan and Sligo in the North down through Clonmel and finally to Ennis and Shannon communities in the South. We started out with Patricia slumped in the front seat hung over from night duty trying to sleep it off with Marie at the wheel. The car made it into Cavan just in time for a devotional meeting at a hotel in the centre of town. On entering the hotel one of us made a beeline for the loo to be sick while the other nearly passed out during the devotional. Quality travel teachers are rare. They were scraping the bottom of the barrel with us!
A lasting impression was made by this intrepid twosome when later that evening an AV presentation could not be got up and running despite painstaking tuition from Arjang Agahi prior to the trip. However the Cavan friends rallied round and it was discovered that we needed a power lead for the speakers! Further consultation unearthed the fact that polarisation needed to be corrected and wonder of wonders it worked. Our thanks to Arjang and the Cavan friends. We were welcomed everywhere with warmth and kindness and gave services ranging from talks, baby sitting, radio interviews to just mixing and listening to the friends. There were few coffee shops en route that did not come under our notice as suitable stopping off points just to lubricate our vocal cords for communication purposes. As is often the case we got a lot more form the visit than we gave. Our sincere thanks to all the friends who put up with us or put us up.
QUIET ROOM AT AIRPORT
Travellers passing through Belfast International Airport at Aldergrove will be aware of the Quiet Room, a place of prayer, peace, and meditation. (Other airports have chapels or Prayer Rooms, Aldergrove a Quiet Room - presumably quiet is less contentious than prayer in Northern Ireland.) It is on the corridor as you leave the arrivals area and its sign includes the symbols of the various religions represented, one being a nine-pointed star.
The Room is a successful initiative of the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum, a body with which Baha'is have been involved since its beginning. Literature and scripture of the Baha'i and other religions are available in it. As a regular user of Aldergrove I have always found the Quiet Room a place of true tranquillity and spirituality and I recommend it to any Baha'is with a little time to spend at the airport. They can also tell their friends about it. And on the principle that (a) a good thing should be encouraged and (b) there are always those to criticise, so it is good to balance them and accentuate the positive, I suggest that visitors not only sign the book in the Quiet Room they also - this might be even more important - complete one of those "customer comment" forms lying around the airport, to let the management know that you have used the Quiet Room and that it is an appreciated service to travellers.
Iain S. Palin.
Cavan hears about the Right of God
Patricia Jamshidi, as representative for Ireland for Huquq'u'llah, and as a part of a planned program, met with the Cavan Community on the 12th Nov. The evening was designed to help us reach our own understanding of this law of Baha'u'llah. This was done by role-play initially to help stimulate thought. It was then followed by excerpts from the writings on the subject which after being read were discussed. Patricia hopes to go next to the Sligo community.
©Copyright 2001, CommuNIqué, Bahá'í Council for