Indiana Baha’is and friends weave fabric of activities together

October 15, 2018
Indiana Baha’is and friends weave fabric of activities together

There seems to be no limit to the number of ways friends of the Faith are contributing to Baha’i-initiated community-building efforts in West Lafayette, Indiana.

That level of participation represents “a beautiful weaving together” of efforts to share the Faith’s teachings with an expansion of community-building activities and “loving friendship,” says Johanna Merritt Wu, vice chair of the Local Spiritual Assembly, the Baha’i governing council for West Lafayette.

Abhi Reddy (second from left), district director for U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, meets with Bahá’ís (from left) AJ Lucky, Caity Parsons and Johanna Wu. Photo courtesy of Johanna Wu

One friend of the Faith even joined a delegation of Baha’is in Indiana’s 4th Congressional District when they met with U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita’s district director to request support for a resolution decrying persecution of the Baha’i Faith in Iran.

The delegation included Wu, Caity Quinn Parsons and AJ Lucky, who recently became a Baha’i after being in a play Parsons directed at Purdue University.

Visiting the congressional office along with the Baha’is was a man who had been imprisoned and tortured in Iran for organizing protests. Wu says “innocent Baha’is who happened to be nearby” were arrested as well but not released with him.

West Lafayette Baha’is met the man a year ago and he has regularly attended Baha’i fireside talks ever since, as well as participating last October in events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, prophet-founder of the Faith.

The friend’s wife and son went to the Indiana Baha’i Summer School in July 2018, and she is now helping to teach a Baha’i neighborhood children’s class.

That class is held in the home of another friend of the Faith, a “spiritual but not religious” woman who met the Baha’is through a Muslim who invited her to the Baha’i community’s regular devotional gathering.

And that’s not all, says Wu.

Billy Baker, a Baha’i, organized a class at a Unitarian church to study Reflections on the Life of the Spirit from the Baha’i-inspired Ruhi Institute curriculum. The women who participated in the class now regularly attend the devotional gathering. Baker is setting up a children’s class at the church as well.

Participants in a junior youth camp in West Lafayette, Indiana, which includes Baha’is and their friends, perform the play “O, Will You Take This Rose?” that explores themes from the junior youth text The Human Temple. Photo courtesy of Caity Quinn Parsons

The Baha’i community’s weekly youth group is expanding to include Purdue Baha’i College Club members — only some of whom are Baha’is. The idea came from a student who is a friend of the Faith and participated in the youth group the past two years. Another friend of the Faith who wants to participate is the daughter of Baha’is in a different area of the state.

Also on the horizon are two more study classes, including one on Teaching the Cause from the Ruhi curriculum, and new junior youth groups that will be facilitated by two college students.

The “weaving” continues.

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