CommuNIqué - Newsletter of the Bahá'í Community in Northern Ireland
Issue 82 - 16 ’Azamat 160 BE - 1 June 2003 CE
FROM THE BAHÁ'Í COUNCIL
Dear Bahá'í Friends,rtant Announcement on Child Protection from the Council
No doubt everyone in the community is, by now, aware of the vital importance of the Child Protection Procedures (up to 18 years old) We must realise that all these procedures, though they have come from the National Spiritual Assembly through the Bahá'í Council they are in response to the legal situation and the times in which we live. All Bahá'ís know that we must, according to Bahá'u'lláh, obey the laws of the country in which we live. So important have been these procedures that the National Spiritual Assembly has released them gradually so that we have time to absorb and implement them. It is to the credit of our community that this whole issue has been 'taken on board' and is being implemented. The Council would like to strongly remind all organisers of Bahá'í events, under the authority of Bahá'í institutions, that these events should not take place without proper Child Protection Procedures in place.
EVERY COMMUNITY IN NORTHERN IRELAND CAN HAVE ITS OWN WEBSITE
Did you know that more than three-quarters of all the enquiries about the Faith received by the National Spiritual Assembly come from the World Wide Web? And if people in your area want to know about the Bahá'ís the Web is likely to be the first place they go to?
With this issue comes a flyer about the Web of Faith Project, a programme of the National Assembly to help every local Bahá'í community develop its own Website. Some communities in Northern Ireland have such a site - but even now the majority do not. Yet all can. As the flyer explains, the NSA's Office of Public Information is there to help. The Council hopes that all - yes all - Bahá'í communities in Northern Ireland will support this project. You don't need the expertise. You just need to want to make it easier for people to learn about the Faith.
With warmest Bahá'í greetings,
OPENING OF BAHÁ'Í CENTRE
The official opening of the new Bahá'í Centre at 5 Clarendon Street took place on 1st May 2003. The rented first floor premises had been used for community activities for more than a year. A conscious decision, taken by the Spiritual Assembly to upgrade, has now resulted in a proper Bahá'í Centre. It is close to the city centre and prominently signed.
The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Kathleen McCloskey, was approached and kindly agreed to "do the honours" and open the Centre officially. Local Bahá'ís, friends, and especially non-Bahá'ís who had been particularly helpful in the process of establishing the Centre, were invited. Representation was sought from the Bahá'í Council for Northern Ireland and our own National Spiritual Assembly, of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom was informed of developments, as was the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Republic of Ireland. After the Mayor was welcomed by Elizabeth Palin, Chair of the LSA, and had cut the ribbon for the benefit of the press and Bahá'í photographers, proceedings moved to the main meeting room. There the Mayor delivered a positive and supportive message of greetings. Some highlights are:
"The Bahá'í community in Derry has been growing in the city since 1971 and the Bahá'í ethos of unity in diversity is something that has inspired many people from all walks of life within the north-west and on a more regional and national basis too." "Important contributions have been made by the local Bahá'í community on the proposed appointment of a Commissioner for Children and the community has also done sterling work in the struggle to overcome racism, discrimination and prejudice within our city." "Your community adds to the richness and diversity of life within this city and I look forward to many more years of Bahá'í involvement and good work within the wider community."
The Mayor was presented with a bouquet of flowers by seven years old Farrah Munro. The message of greetings from the National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom, read by Derry Bahá'í Joan Catterson, referred to the new Centre as "a focal point of fellowship, love and activity", while that from the Republic of Ireland NSA, read by Donegal Bahá'í Declan Devine, expressed the hope that it would "prove a valuable addition to the life of this historic city". Pat Irvine said a few words of appreciation on behalf of the Bahá'í Council for Northern Ireland and her Council colleague Eddie Whiteside read the Council's message of greetings, which said in part:
"The Bahá'í community in Derry is an inspiration for Bahá'ís throughout Ireland. Individual members of the community have made sacrificial contributions to the development of the community in the United Kingdom, in Ireland and further afield. The community has been a feature of life in the city for nearly four decades and during that time has established a reputation for the way that it has handled its affairs."
Finally Dr Keith Munro, who served on the first Spiritual Assembly when it was established over thirty years ago, and has continued as a member since, said a few words and the formal part of the gathering closed with a prayer said by local Bahá'í youth Colin Palin. Refreshments were served and the non-Bahá'í guests - including the press, as all three of the local newspapers sent photographers - were presented with an information pack about the Faith. A slate plaque commemorating the opening of the Centre has been mounted on one wall of the meeting room as a lasting memento of the occasion. A new section has been added to the Assembly's site on the World Wide Web about the Centre and its inauguration. The event gained good coverage (with colour photographs) in the local press
COMMUNITY AND INDIVIDUAL NEWS
NAW RUZ OUTING FOR PENINSULA CLUSTER
On Sunday 23rd March the Peninsula Cluster and friends met at Mount Stewart, the National Trust property on the shores of Strangford lough, to celebrate Naw Ruz. We had a pre-lunch stroll around the lake and later walked off the calories exploring the gardens and woodland and doing what Bahá'ís do well -chatting and socialising! The sun shone all day, the surroundings were beautiful and the 'craic' was great. We all agreed that it was a very enjoyable day and a good start to the new year. Plans are afoot to repeat the exercise on another Holy Day in the near future.
CORE ACTIVITY IN DERRY
Devotional meetings open to all are now being held every Sunday morning at the Bahá'í Centre, 5 Clarendon Street, Londonderry, at 11am. Everyone is welcome.
New Series of Deepenings in Derry Centre
The first in the new series of "Deepenings in Derry" took place in the Bahá'í Centre, Londonderry on 16 May when Kevin Proudman spoke on the Báb. A most interesting talk was followed by lively discussion and there was a generally feeling that we had all further developed our understanding of this Manifestation of God and His mission.
ASSOCIATION OF BAHÁ'Í WOMEN
'DROMATINE RETREAT' ABW CONFERENCE A RESOUNDING SUCCESS
The 'Equal Wings' Spring Residential Weekend at Dromatine Retreat and Conference centre, Newry on 25th - 27th April, was a great success. Hosted jointly by the two Associations of Bahá'í Women in Ireland [ABW-NI and ABW of Ireland], it was attended by 40 people, Bahá'ís and their friends, men and women from Cork to Belfast. Some travelled the whole day to attend. Friday started low -key with story telling. The accommodation was of the highest standard with large, clean en-suite rooms and simple food well presented.Saturday saw workshop sessions on the difference between 'sex and gender' and 'complementarity not uniformity'.In an excellent session, the attributes of men and women were compared to the attributes of a manifestation of God - which produced some interesting observations. afternoon were dedicated to walks amongst the vast numbers of flowering cherry trees and woodland, and creative projects. The evening held special delights which were as unexpected as profoundly moving .performances - Tahirih's story dramatically presented by Sarah Munro and the Whitesides, Billington aclass lyre player, who enchanted everyone with the music of O'Carolan, and modern lyre pieces and a dramatic monologue written and performed by Jennifer Howlett about a woman journalist [taught the Faith by Martha Root,] coming to understand Tahirih's life. Flora provided a bedtime meditation to end a perfect day.
On Sunday, Ken and Sabina Nagle took two workshops 'Take my Stance' and 'Sweeten other souls' were as entertaining as they were informative. In the final plenary session, we took it in turns to say what had impressed us in the course of the weekend - and impressed we had been. This, it has to be said, was a major success for the ABW and for the communities who had supported it.will be long remembered by those who attended.
Mahin and Les Gornall
Pebbles in a pond - 3
Some time ago, when attending the excellent Association of Bahá'í Women event, at the Rural College, in Draperstown, I must admit that I was (to use a North of England term, immortalised by Les Dawson) vexed, when I discovered that no press lead had been prepared. To set it out the situation concisely: Bahá'ís, generally, are very busy people and one person-with a little inspiration and the information to hand-can save communities' press officers time and lots of it, when it is all added-up! With a press lead, the individual press officers have no excuse for not making a submission. I don't know how many press releases will have resulted from the event in Draperstown! For me, the one to the Omagh newspapers took some time to write and get sorted out and would have been a lot easier if we'd had a pre-prepared one. We, the Bahá'ís of Northern Ireland have to try and develop a proclamation and publicity culture! One way of moving towards its achievement is by communities, that organise events, ensuring a press lead is made available-for visiting communities to take away with them-from each and every event. Follow-up press releases maximise the effect of Bahá'í events and I really don't understand why a press lead is not an integral part of the thinking of organisers. Finally, many of we Bahá'ís may be ordinary people, thrown into doing things for which we are not specifically trained. That, however, is no reason for us to behave amateurishly!
As the title of this article suggests, this is the third one that I have written, along these lines, in recent years. Weekly newspapers are read from cover-to-cover, each copy probably by several people. Further, the Irish diaspora is spread all-over the world. By putting articles into the local press-not only can your locality be affected-your item of news can be read by Irish people, receiving local newspapers and others, in places that you could not even dream of. Perhaps, in this day of e-mail and computers, the Northern Ireland Bahá'í Community should endeavour again to hold a "Press Officers' Seminar". The last one-proposed to be held in Dungannon, when the Sanders lived there-was cancelled for lack of participants!
LETTER FROM CANADA
I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoy reading your CommuNIqué newsletter.
When I was in N. Ireland in the '70s, I did a teaching trip with women who were part of the Belfast Community. At that time Lisbeth Greeves was living and I had the bounty of spending some time with her. The one thing I remember about then was that the Bahá'ís just moved when there were more than 9 adults to open up another location. It was such a great idea that I brought it back to Canada. Canada.ItIt seemed that we were always overrun with Bahá'ís in large cities or towns and nobody wanted to give up their job or home to pioneer. We took your idea, and because we are such a large country, put a thumb tack on where a person lived and put another where they worked. We then drew a line with a piece of string and made a circle around the place of work. It was amazing to find out that the goal areas were the same distance. I can't remember the exact number, but I am almost sure that around 16 people moved, filled the goal areas and kept their jobs. That was a long time ago in the Province of Ontario but now I live on the East Coast of Canada and it is a little more difficult to do this. I wish you luck.
Born in Belfast 67 years ago! I became a Bahá'í here in Canada in 1963. My heart is still there with you.
With loving Bahá'í greetings
THE THREE CORE ACTIVITIES
The study circle's a channel, a portal to God's grace;
A collaborator, inspired by John McCann Study Circle
Ruhi Course 3 Teaching Children's Classes - Grade 1
Date: 30 and 31 August 2003 (first session)
Venue: Omagh Integrated Primary School
Minimum Requirements: Completion of Ruhi Courses 1 and 2 (Books 1 and 2). Please note that if you are not already PECS checked, you will be required to apply for this at the time of booking.
For further information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
NORTHERN IRELAND SUMMER SCHOOL
THEME: Nurturing Souls
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SUMMER SCHOOL
Welsh Summer School 2003
For registration forms and further information e-mail:
BRING AND BUY SALE
Saturday 7th June 2.00pm
Coleraine. All proceeds for the fund
CommuNIqué is published by the Bahá'í Council for Northern Ireland under the auspices of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom
Following is the URL to the original story. The site may have removed or archived this story. URL: http://users.whsmithnet.co.uk/~ispalin/bc4ni/comm/