CommuNIqué - Newsletter of the Bahá'í Community in Northern Ireland
Issue 78 - 14 Sultán 159 BE - 1 February 2003 CE
FROM THE BAHÁ'Í COUNCIL
THE POWER OF FAITH
In the 9th of January 2001 letter from the Universal House of Justice to the Counsellors they stated:
One of the first steps in the implementing the programme may well be a survey to determine the condition of each locality in the area.Among the initial goals for every community should be the establishment of study circles, children's classes, and devotional meetings, open to all the inhabitants of the locality.The observance of the Nineteen Day Feast has to be given due weight, and consistent effort should be made to strengthen the Local Spiritual Assemblies. [Paragraph 16]
This paragraph alone gives clear guidelines to every group and Local Spiritual Assembly on the focus of their teaching and consolidation plans for the future.
Individual initiative can be fostered at the level of the cluster in reflection meetings however the duty of groups and Assemblies to develop their own plan remains and should complement individual initiative.This important message from the Universal House of Justice ends by saying;
In their own plans of action the institutions of the Faith must seek to gain insight into the operation of these great forces, explore the potentialities of the people they serve, measure the resources and strengths of the communities, and take practical steps to enlist the unreserved participation of the believers.
The way the friends in Northern Ireland have responded to the call of the Universal House of Justice in this message is truly heart warming. Patterns and habits of Bahá'í life are changing out of love and obedience to the Covenant.The world may tilt on its axis, chaos may sweep into every previously secure structure in our lives. We may be left stripped bare of anything but our Faith.One clarion voice crying out was Amatu'l-Baha Rúhíyyih Khanum in her poem 'This is Faith': she wrote:
To say: God, I believe when others deny,
We must remember that with faith we can move mountains, with faith we can understand as individuals what Baháu'lláh wants of us, with faith our local Spiritual Assemblies and groups can begin to experiment with plans along the lines of action given to us by the Universal House of Justice to carry the Word of Bahá'u'lláh to a suffering humanity.We only need to have faith.
With warmest Bahá'í greetings,
From the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom
PILGRIMAGE AND THREE-DAY VISITS NO LONGER PROCESSED IN LONDON
Dearly loved Friends,
Please note that with immediate effect the National Spiritual Assembly will no longer be processing applications and requests for pilgrimage and three-day visits to the Holy Land.All such requests should be directed to the Baha'i World Centre instead in the following way:
Pilgrimage -- by sending an email to pilgrimage @bwc.org; or by writing to the Office of Pilgrimage, Bahá'í World Centre, PO Box 155, 31001 Haifa, Israel
Three-day visits -- by sending an email to email@example.com ; or by writing to The Universal House of Justice, Baha'i World Centre, PO Box 155, 31001 Haifa, Israel.
The National Spiritual Assembly wishes to express its warm and loving appreciation to Mrs Shiva Ashrafi-Cooper who for over ten years handled pilgrimage and three-day visit requests on behalf of scores of believers in the United Kingdom.Many, many friends commented on the love, care and attention with which Shiva rendered this valuable service to the Cause.
NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY,
FROM THE TRAINING INSTITUTE
MORE STUDY CIRCLES COMING SOON
Ruhi Course 4 (Book 4) Study Circles: The Twin Manifestations. The tutors are now ready to conduct Book 4 Study Circles. If you have done Ruhi Books 1 and 2, you will be contacted soon and invited to join a Study Circle in Book 4. So get ready for it! (Note: If you have not been contacted by the middle of February, please get in touch with the Study Circle Coordinator).
The Belfast Soul Academy Study Circle
Remember one of the Course 1 Study Circles (Belfast Soul Academy) reported in November? well, it is now completed. Here is a short report from its tutor Kathleen:
The Belfast Soul Academy Study Circle which was made up of 10 collaborators, three of which were friends of the Bahá'ís, recently completed its study of the first book in the Ruhi sequence of courses "Reflections on the life of the spirit".The study circle met on a weekly basis every Sunday night over about a ten week period with a couple of day sessions fitted in to get through the course before the holiday period kicked in.We built up a great momentum and the participation levels by all involved was quite remarkable, a lot of fun was had by all!!! It's not over yet as the service project is scheduled for mid-January - a report will follow!
For any queries, or for registering to participate in a study circle, please email or call the Study Circle Coordinator:
What do study circles accomplish?
The accomplishment of study circles as an isolated entity is quite limited. It is only when a number of study circles are established in an area that their natural interactions will create the spiritual power needed to sustain accelerated growth. The Institute through its regional and area coordinators ensures that a high level of spirit is maintained through regular gathering of tutors, special campaigns in which every study circle is visited and encouraged to move forward, and through festivals and celebrations.
[TRAINING INSTITUTE BOARD]
YEAR OF SERVICE NEWS
As I still haven't heard from our Youth Correspondent in Chad, Bryony Byrne, so cannot share news about how she's getting on (wait for next issue), I thought I'd share some hot news just in for potential YoSers - a fantastic and challenging Year of Service opportunity in a beautiful remote little town near the Amazonian jungle called St Laurent du Maroni in French Guiana, South America. And you thought those French textbooks would stay in the loft?! Well, you might just need them now!
The LSA there is looking for a youth with a reasonable knowledge of French to help out with children's classes, study circles, and cultural activities. Musical talents are very welcome! As is someone with a head for organising games. The volunteer would also help to find other youth to train as youth tutors and children's class teachers. The climate there is tropical, always warm and quite wet. A welcome relief from Northern Irish weather! Accommodation would be with a local Bahá'í family for a small rent, including simple meals. As there would be no salary as such, extras would be borne by the volunteer. The LSA would provide as much support as is needed, in the form of a bicycle and even providing a raincoat for the rainy season! Due to local attitudes towards women, it would be difficult for a young woman to go alone. For this reason, the LSA is recommending a young man. If you're interested in finding out more about this beautiful country, and even thinking about offering service there, check out picturesofplaces.com/CentralSouthAmerica/frenchguiana.html for some awesome pictures of this country OR contact theYear of Service Co-ord for NI.
OVER A HUNDRED AT WORLD RELIGION DAY IN OMAGH
Over one hundred people attended the 20th celebration of World Religion Day in the library in Omagh on Sunday 19th Jan. Again this year the celebration coincided with the In Good Faith exhibition which is produced under the direction of the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum. The theme of the programme was The Oneness of Religion and the excellent audio/visual presentation on this topic, prepared by Colin Palin, set the scene for the afternoon. Mr Eric Bullick, headmaster of Omagh Integrated Primary School, remarked how moved he felt while watching it. He went on to say, some of the World Leaders should have been present to see it. The children from his school choir sang and this brought a special happiness and joy to the event.
All the readings were from the Bahá'í Writings and read by Mahin Gornall and Dorothy Riordan, along with three students from Drumragh Integrated College. It was particularly pleasing to hear these young people read the words of Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá with such reverence and meaning. This was undoubtedly due to the enthusiasm and encouragement they received from their headmistress, Lady Rosemary Salisbury. The Chairman of Omagh District Council, Mr. Pat McDonnell, attended and although he did not come prepared to make a speech he was happy to say a few words at the end of the programme. He said how impressed he was with the sentiments of the AV and the readings, and that during his year of office as chairman of all the people I have met and spoken to none have impressed me more than the Bahá'ís and what they are trying to do in the community. He also remarked at having heard some of the Bahá'ís being interviewed on the local radio on several occasions and that it was pleasing to know that modern means of communication were being used in a positive way and not just for entertainment.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT...
I asked God .
I asked God to take away my habit..
CommuNique is the newsletter of the Baha'i Council for Northern Ireland ©National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United Kingdom
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