CommuNIqué - Newsletter of the Bahá'í Community in Northern Ireland
Issue 76 - 9 Qawl 159 BE - 1 December 2002 CE
FROM THE BAHÁ'Í COUNCIL
The 9th of January letter from the Universal House of Justice has stirred the whole Bahá'í Community to rethink our ways of doing and being, challenging us on an individual level, to become engaged in a systematic process that has at its core, two essential movements.
Firstly, to provide a steady flow of believers through the sequence of courses offered by our Training Institute, the aim being to provide a body of trained and deepened teachers of the Cause.
The second, as a result of the activities of these believers, will provide the impetus that moves geographical clusters from one stage of growth to the next.
However in carrying out plans on an individual, group or Local Assembly level we must remember the guidance given us by the Universal House of Justice when they state: The believers are encouraged to be open to new methods, to use a variety of approaches and not blindly insist upon doing the same thing everywhere a condition in which different individuals will concentrate on different activities, appreciating the salutary effect of the aggregate on the growth and development of the Faith, because each person cannot do everything and all persons cannot do the same thing. (Page 12 Promoting Entry by Troops)
Already in Northern Ireland individuals have arisen to the call of the Universal House of Justice to make use the Arts to help inspire the hearts and as a catalyst for understanding. Yet more needs to be done. The energy and enthusiasm of our youth is beginning to be channeled into organisations of influence in Northern Ireland. Youth are beginning to take up teachers posts in the George Townsend School thereby providing a powerful role model for others. But this is only a glimmering of the true capacity of our youth which has yet to be tapped.
True religion should serve to release the capacity latent in every human heart whether that heart be that of a man, a woman or a child. In so doing the giver becomes more deeply in love with Bahá'u'lláh, and the community a happy and vibrant one. Our collective challenge is to find ways in which this becomes a reality.
BAHÁ'Í COUNCIL FOR NORTHERN IRELAND
ELECTION OF BAHÁ'Í COUNCILS
Announcement by the National Spiritual Assembly
Dear Bahá'í Friends
The Day of the Covenant, 26 November 2002, marks the new term of service for the Bahá'í Councils. The Councils have, once again, made great strides in their work, as is shown by the excellence of the meetings in each country of the UK between the Council, the Counsellor, representatives of the National Spiritual Assembly, and the Auxiliary Board members for the areas concerned. These Institutional Meetings are an integral part of the administration of the Five Year Plan and are proving to be inspiring and fruitful. The National Assembly is greatly impressed by the rapid maturation and growing experience of these administrative institutions. The National Spiritual Assembly is delighted to share with the friends the new membership of the Bahá'í Councils in the United Kingdom:
Those elected: Dr Tiffani Razavi; Dr Babak Javid; Dr Vafa Ram; Ms Kay Hughes; Mr Adam Thorne; Mr. Inder Manocha; Dr Naghme Adab; Mrs Mitra Murray; Mrs Zarin Hainsworth-Fadaie.
Those elected: Mrs Pat Jamshidi; Mr Edwin Graham; Mrs Marion Khosravi; Ms Patricia Irvine; Mr Colin Rodgers; Dr Keith Munro; Mr Edward Whiteside; Mrs Patricia Craig; Mrs Viny Robinson.
Those elected: Mr Allan Forsyth; Mr Andrew Goodwin; Mrs Anwen Shahim; Mrs Venus Carew; Mrs Maggie Manvell; Mr Alan McKay; Mrs Nahid Donald; Mr Hari Docherty; Mr Rolf Schmidt.
Those elected; Mr Tim Melville; Mrs Christine Abbas; Mr Vivian Bartlett; Mrs Roya Azordegan; Mrs Kathryn Delpak; Mr Soheyl Azordegan; Mr Hosmand Kalami; Mr Denver Morgan; Dr Habib Behi.
The National Spiritual Assembly wishes the newly-elected members of the Bahá'í Councils well in their new term of service and assures them of its prayers for the confirmations of the Blessed Beauty to sustain them in their important services to the Cause of God.
With loving Bahá'í greetings,
NEWS OF THE ARTS
Letterkenny Bahá'ís Take the Arts to a New Level
So, Letterkenny isn't really the 'Nort', but the evening that was organised on Saturday the 16th November in celebration of the Birthday of Bahá'u'lláh is something that we should all know about up here! It was the first public 'Arts Evening' that has been organised in Letterkenny. Some northern Bahá'ís attended and performed. A record-breaking crowd (well we can say that as there are no records as yet for this type of thing!) of 65 people crammed into a lovely little hall upstairs at the Women's Centre to enjoy an evening of poetry, drama, audio-visual presentation, song, and drumming. Some of the presentations communicated the Message of the Faith directly, and others were simply for enjoyment. Some of the performers were non-Bahá'ís, as were about half the audience. The evening was a roaring success and one man reported becoming excited about the faith after having known about it for many years! Even the kids at the front remained quiet for the 75-minute duration, always a sign of a good show!
As the Guardian wrote in 1932, The day will come when the Cause will spread like wildfire when its spirit and teaching will be presented on the stage, or in art and literature as a whole. Art can better awaken such noble sentiments than cold rationalizing, especially among the masses of the people. Perhaps that day has come at last!
From the Committee for the Promotion of the Arts:
The Youth Committee for Northern Ireland now has its own Website - visit it here.
A CALL TO ASSIST OUR YOUTH
Over the past few years an increasing number of our youth have been attending Wetlands, an exciting and spiritually uplifting get-together for youth from Ireland, Great Britain and further afield. This takes place annually. This year, as in years past, it will be held in Wales.
The young people always return charged with renewed energy for teaching the Faith and of belonging to a wider community of Bahá'ís. The Council has always been aware of the benefit, not just to the youth but to the wider community, and are always eager that as many as possible attend. It has been the practise of the Council to subsidise the fares. Travel costs from Northern Ireland are more expensive than most other places in these islands; however, with depleted reserves of our National Fund it will not be possible this year unless we can raise at least some of the money ourselves.
The National Treasurer has set up a special fund for Wetlands and we, in Northern Ireland, should contribute generously. The youth are being invited to look at ways they can raise funds for this project, and the rest of the friends can help by doing one of two things. (1). Support any project youth in your area are undertaking OR (2). Send a donation to the Treasurer of the Bahá'í Council for Northern Ireland. Please make cheques out to NSA of the Bahá'ís of UK.
The following are the five delegates elected from Northern Ireland to the UK Bahå'í National Convention in 2003: Arjang Agahi, Patricia Irvine, Iain Palin, Soheil Roohipour, Eddie Whiteside.
OMAGH REMEMBERS TAHÍRIH
Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary) of first exponent of women's equality
On Thursday 10th October, in Omagh Library, Omagh Bahá'í Community with assistance from nearby communities commemorated the martyrdom of poet and a promoter of women's rights, Tahírih". When she was put to death in 1852, she is reputed to have said to her executioners, "you can kill me, but you will never prevent the emancipation of women.
The evening was introduced by Mrs. Hazel Holmlund, from Ballymena who gave a brief résumé of Tahírih's life. Two of Tahírih's poems were read by Lady Rosemary Salisbury and Mr Eric Bullick, respectively Principals of Drumragh Integrated College and Omagh Integrated Primary School.
A dramatic dialogue-between Jim Holmlund (Ballymena) and Judith George (Coleraine)-was performed and live music was provided by Bahá'í youth. The chairman of the meeting, Rustam Jamshídi, closed the programme by stressing the importance of gender equality and its wider implications, beyond mere matters of justice and fairness. He said that: only as women are welcomed into full partnership, in all fields of human endeavour, will the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace can emerge.
YEAR OF SERVICE
It is with great excitment that your Year of Service Co-ordinatior announces the all-new YoS Corner! In it you will be brought up-to-date on the "mighty mobilisation" of youth - all the kinds of exciting service and teaching projects the youth of our Community are taking (and have taken) part in around the world. Also, we will let you know of any opportunities for youth service that come up as and when. Don't forget if you want any info at all on YoS, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
To start off this month, we have an article from Karen Jamshidi who tells us about some of the ways that YoS has changed her.
From the 5 August 2001 to 23 May 2002, I went through the most amazing experience of my life. I went to assist in the Brilliant Star Montessori school on the island of Saipan, Marianna Islands, with Lucie Hanrahan. Little did we know that it would be such a nourishing and life changing time. Before I went on my Year of Service I never really spent much time thinking about prayer or the power which it held. To be honest I never really thought about anything more than my A levels or what I was doing at the weekends!
Don't get me wrong. I prayed, and did so with Faith, but my journey to the other side of the planet really opened my eyes to the full potential of prayer and spirituality as a whole. At the moment I'm at University in Edinburgh at Queen Margaret University College and I am having the time of my life but the one thing I think of every morning when I get up is the life that I lived a year ago. People would say to me before I left, "You will be sent so many tests when you are on your year away and you will receive so many blessings!" - so I shouldn't really have been surprised when I was confronted with, what I thought, were insurmountable tests and difficulties. At night I would sit in my room and nearly go mad over some of the things that I came up against and the only place I could turn to was my prayer book and Bahá'u'lláh. It's hard to explain and I really think you have to experience it to really appreciate the true power and wonder of it all. But, literally, the next day the problem would have in some way been eased or have simply disappeared. This automatically brought me closer to God and Bahá'u'lláh. Even if I had resisted I would have eventually realised that Bahá'u'lláh is looking out for me and is when there is no one else, He is there. It's such a comforting thought and that thought stayed with me throughout my Year of Service and has now made me a stronger more independent individual.
CommuNIqué - Newsletter of the Bahá'í Community in Northern Ireland