January/February 2015

The evolution of our understanding

January 01, 2015 Articles written and compiled by Tom Mennillo“The most dynamic clusters are those in which … the friends appreciate that their task is to identify what is required for progress to occur … and then find creative ways in which the necessary time and resources can be made available to achieve it.” — Universal House of Justice, Riḍván 2014“My (our) current understanding is …”Often, those words or a ...

Tacoma family, community learn service together

January 01, 2015 When twins Ella and Evangeline were born premature last May and spent a month in the hospital, it was pretty overwhelming for mom and dad Gwen and Joe Kramer.And they still had to meet 2-year-old Jaya's needs."It’s the worst," reflects Gwen. "It’s such a weird place to be in. You’re just going back and forth between home and the hospital, and every day you’re almost like a zombie."You have days ...

Strategies in motion to enlist help for emerging clusters

January 01, 2015 Bahá’ís in and around North Carolina’s Queen City were invited to a gala at the Charlotte Bahá’í Center the evening of Oct. 25.A pioneering gala, to be exact. It was an opportunity to arise and volunteer to serve as a homefront pioneer or mobile tutor in an area of the state or Atlantic Region where the Faith has few or no adherents.The Regional Bahá’í Council and Auxiliary Board members shared a ...

A homefront pioneer reflects on move within Virginia

January 01, 2015 By Monady Ahmadzadegan ShahmirzadiFriends, we have been endowed with a great gift: an opportunity to serve Bahá’u’lláh in this Formative Age in the development of the Faith and its institutions. The opportunities for service are everywhere, and there are many ways one can serve Bahá’u’lláh. One is homefront pioneering.My family and I moved from northern Virginia to the Lynchburg cluster of ...

Learning, action continue to mark youth movement

January 01, 2015 Bahá’í communities in the Long Beach, California, area were having trouble sustaining the junior youth spiritual empowerment program.“The junior youth group we had going in Long Beach stopped and started many times due to lack of human resources,” says Brittany Thomas. “I mean, our resources are slim when it comes to involvement in the junior youth groups.“As a result of our inconsistency and ...

Elder Bahá’ís stay invigorated through service

January 01, 2015 Much change has come to the Bahá’í world since 1996, when Bahá’ís and like-minded souls were set on a course to learn new skills and apply them in neighborhood-level efforts to build community.Elder Bahá’ís have taken on roles across the spectrum of activity. But for many, particular opportunities for service have opened up that benefit from their wisdom, experience and, often, circumstances.Fort ...

Longtime believer rediscovers community, dives into service

January 01, 2015 By Michelle SchiefelbeinIf you look around Bahá’í communities you will find sweet spirits such as Dorothy Smith who could tell you so many stories of their lives in the Faith and of the modern-day miracles they have witnessed.Dorothy is a kind, gentle, quiet lady in her 80s whom I met when she and her vivacious, energetic daughter Judith became reconnected with the Bahá’í communities of southern ...

Electoral units blaze diverse paths to vibrant consultation

January 01, 2015 What can electoral units do to make consultation at their annual convention relevant, vibrant — dynamic, even — in an age of cluster reflection gatherings and units comprising several clusters?Plenty, as it turns out.Some unit conventions this past October serendipitously benefited from the presence of young people who were energized at the 2013 youth conferences and have been putting their ...

A primer on unit convention consultation

January 01, 2015 When a Durham, North Carolina, believer expressed dismay that unit convention attendees had not been encouraged to offer ideas for the elected delegate to carry to National Convention, the Local Spiritual Assembly responded with a letter to the believer.For its concepts and language, the Durham Assembly drew on guidance from the Unit Convention Planning Guide, Guidelines for Local Spiritual ...


Community Building

‘Uncountable blessings’ in helping nurture sustainable Tanzanian community

January 01, 2015 How does it feel to have been involved in the building of Bahá’í community in a developing country, from formative stages through years of momentum-building, until the community substantially sustains itself?“Uncountable blessings,” write Jim and Becky Fairley, who left the U.S. Northwest in 1982 and lived for many years in Tanzania (with an early 1980s sojourn in Honduras) before moving back to ...

Smaller groups, shared learning at seasonal Bahá’í schools

January 01, 2015 Office of Education and Schools Seizing inspiration from last year’s youth conferences and encouraged by the National Spiritual Assembly, seasonal Bahá’í schools across the country opted to use collective learning to address community building this year. Though the titles varied, each school’s theme included words that described their hopes to foster the capacity to raise unique and distinctive ...

7-year-old talks about, exemplifies courage

January 01, 2015 “Courage: A Spiritual Dimension” isn’t just the title of Alma Gram’s talk to neighbors and classmates.The 7-year-old Seabrook, Texas, Bahá’í exemplifies it as well.The speech came about as the Gram family’s daily deepening on the Word of God turned to that subject.“My mother liked so much how I explained the quotes, so one day she asked me if I can share my thoughts with others — in other words, ...

Learning what seekers want: Spiritual searches and their motivation

January 01, 2015 When seekers investigate the Faith through the national Bahá’í Web presence (www.bahai.us or the Facebook page) or the 800-22UNITE phone line, the friends who work to connect them with local communities often find their motivations instantly touching and endearing. Among recent examples:A seeker in a small community in the Atlantic States wrote, “I’ve prayed for guidance and God has sent me to ...


In the Life of Society

Award-winning school project focuses on rights for Bahá’ís

January 01, 2015 By Riaz Mowzoon-Mogharrabi I am a Bahá’í junior youth in Arizona. Through local Feasts and junior youth groups, I learned about my responsibility to help eliminate racism and injustice through conversations at firesides, deepenings, or explaining our history at lunch. But making people aware is possible through academics as well. In sixth grade I entered an exhibit on the persecution of Bahá’ís ...

Bahá’í Chair keeps spotlight on sexual assault, racism

January 01, 2015 As programs on race continued with a fall symposium, a lecture co-hosted by the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland added to discussion of another barrier to peace: sexual assault.Award-winning documentary filmmaker Lisa F. Jackson was featured in an installment of the Bahá’í Chair’s Empowerment of Women and Peace series.Addressing the topic “Journeys to Justice: From ...

Ohio quilter Carolyn Mazloomi awarded top honor for folk arts

January 01, 2015 If the term “folk art” gives you the wrong idea, let’s take care of that right now. Carolyn Mazloomi is certainly not about freezing the art of quilting as an echo of some old-time memory.Instead she has spent three decades developing a warm, growing social space for the African-American quilting tradition — and for stitching today’s lives and voices throughout that work.Her efforts over the ...


Community Commons

‘Irfán Colloquium announces 2015 schedule of events

January 01, 2015 The ‘Irfán Colloquium has announced its sessions for 2015.‘Irfán is a forum on studies related to the fundamental principles of Bahá’í beliefs, the Writings of the Founders of the Bahá’í Faith, the interface between the Bahá’í Faith and current intellectual and religious trends, and the main challenges in human society. Through the year, sessions are to be held in English and Persian at Bosch and ...

Ninth Annual Bahá’í Choral Festival and Devotional Concerts

January 01, 2015 The ninth Bahá’í Choral Music Festival will be held at the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, May 21–24.Attended each year by about 200 singers from around the United States and as many as 13 countries around the world, the festival has become highly anticipated by residents in the North Shore area of Chicago. Area residents nearly fill the House of Worship for the two identical ...

Spirit of the Cornerstone project at Temple renewed for ages 15–21

January 01, 2015 The Spirit of the Cornerstone project is being reinstituted to give young people ages 15–21 an invaluable opportunity to serve at the holiest Bahá’í House of Worship this summer. Spirit of the Cornerstone participants will be accompanied by volunteers who already serve at the House of Worship as they greet and welcome visitors. Though the program for this year’s project is different from those of ...

World, U.S. Bahá’í websites get makeover

January 01, 2015 The Internet has become a major part of how Bahá’ís communicate what they believe and what they do.That’s true both in efforts to attract people to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and nurture that interest and in participation by Bahá’ís in the discourses of society.And now two official windows into the Faith — www.bahai.org on the international level and www.bahai.us in the United States — have ...

Eloise Mitchell supported Faith in West Africa, many U.S. locations

January 01, 2015  Eloise Pearl Mitchell was a pioneer and Auxiliary Board member for the Bahá’í Faith in West Africa in the formative 1950s, and moved to several U.S. locales over the years as a homefront pioneer.A prolific writer for educational magazines and contributor of Bahá’í-inspired articles to newspapers, Eloise entered into the Abhá Kingdom on September 22, 2014, in Big Rapids, Michigan, where she had ...

Jay Corre excelled in jazz, served Faith internationally

January 01, 2015 Jay William Lischin was better known internationally under his stage name, Jay Corre, by which he built a formidable reputation as a jazz tenor saxophonist, on his own and accompanying a variety of artists. He mentored countless jazz students in southern Florida, arranged music for Bahá’í conferences, and supported the Faith enthusiastically.Artists he performed or recorded with on sax, clarinet ...

Nosratollah Rassekh, educator, was among early Persian Bahá’ís in U.S.

January 01, 2015 Nosratollah “Nas” Rassekh, a Bahá’í scholar, author and translator, for many years professor and chairman of the department of history at Lewis and Clark College, was part of a groundbreaking contingent of nine young Iranian men who came to study in the United States in 1944.He passed away September 7, 2014, at age 89 in Portland, Oregon, whose Spiritual Assembly he had served for half a century. ...


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