Monthly talks bring service of Faith’s past heroes alive for Massachusetts children

January 3, 2019
Monthly talks bring service of Faith’s past heroes alive for Massachusetts children

The last of the spiritual giants known to Baha’is as Hands of the Cause passed from this world in 2007.

Young people in Concord, Massachusetts, watch a presentation on the life of the Hand of the Cause Roy C. Wilhelm. Photo courtesy of Bre Vader

But the Baha’i community of Concord, Massachusetts, is inspiring a new generation with their “examples of service and steadfastness” through a series of monthly talks to children’s classes and junior youth groups.

“The concept is to ask a member of the community to come and offer a presentation on the life of a Hand of the Cause of God,” says Bre Vader, a member of that community.

Hands were appointed by the Head of the Faith through 1957 to encourage growth of the Baha’i Faith worldwide for the remainder of their lifetimes. Some were honored with that title posthumously in recognition of their services. Their functions are now carried out by Counselors appointed for each continent and Auxiliary Board members appointed for smaller regions.

About 25 young people, ages 18 months to 14 years, participate each week in a children’s class and a junior youth group in Concord.

On Nov. 18, 2018, they gathered as Fran Pollitt, a Baha’i visiting from nearby Wayland, told stories and led activities illustrating the life of Roy C. Wilhelm (1875–1951), who was given the title of Hand of the Cause of God after his death.

Since Wilhelm was a coffee importer and regularly served the beverage to guests in his home, Pollitt brought three kinds of coffee beans for the children to smell and take turns grinding.  

The Hand of the Cause Roy C. Wilhelm and his mother, Laurie, are pictured in 1923 in Teaneck, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Bre Vader

She also created a dramatic presentation featuring the characters of Wilhelm and his mother, Laurie, that was acted out by two adult members of the Concord Baha’i community, David Vader and Monette Van Lith.  

The children watched intently as the actors told of Wilhelm’s 1907 meeting with ‘Abdu’l-Baha, then head of the Faith, in the Holy Land. They heard stories of the trials and services of the Wilhelm family.  

Then they decorated little books Pollitt created that were similar to those Wilhelm published to share Baha’i quotes and prayers.

More than the youngsters are benefiting from these talks, says Bre Vader.
“It is meaningful to share these stories,” she says, “as they remind us all of the heroes of our Faith and the unique ways we can be inspired by their examples of service and steadfastness.”

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