Saturday, November 17, 2007

Encouragement from the Assembly in Arlington

The crucial role of Assemblies in the Five Year Plan - mentioned by both the House of Justice and the National Assembly - is becoming increasingly clear as advanced clusters are coming to rely on these institutions more and more. That’s why we wanted to share this letter from the Arlington County Assembly (from the NoVA East, VA (B) cluster). What a great example of an Assembly planning for support of the Plan, assisting community members to step into the field of action, and clearly offering its support and encouragement! Included in this communication are a number of ideas and pledges generated by the Arlington community.

And if you needed any other reason to keep reading, the short note from the friend that submitted this letter says it all: “wow. . . i can see the changes in my old home community of arlington, virginia :))) the lsa rocks.”

Dearly loved friends in Arlington,

Your Spiritual Assembly sends each of you its deepest loving greetings.

[At the last Feast] the Local Spiritual Assembly shared with the community that it has decided to create two 3-month teaching plans from now through Ridván 2008. At the Feast, we asked the community members present to consult on which activities they felt were most needed in Arlington to achieve our Five Year Plan goals of increasing our community of interest within Arlington– those wishing to learn more about the Faith– and of broadening the base of our ongoing teaching activities.

Participants were also encouraged to submit pledges for specific activities they wished to undertake over the next three months. The Spiritual Assembly will be incorporating the suggestions and pledges from Feast into our community’s first 3-month teaching plan.

Those suggestions and pledges are listed below for your information and inspiration.

The Spiritual Assembly is hoping that you may have further ideas and suggestions for teaching, even those of you who were able to attend the Feast and may already have shared some ideas. The Assembly also hopes that each member of the Arlington community will feel moved to make a pledge to undertake a teaching activity of his or her choice over the next three months.

Should you wish to offer some form of service, the LSA is ready and eager to assist you. For example, should you wish to conduct a children’s class and you need someone to assist you, please let the Spiritual Assembly know and it will assist you in that goal.

Should you wish to go door to door to homes in a particular neighborhood, for example announcing a devotional meeting or the start of a children’s class, please let the Spiritual Assembly know, so it may assist you.

No service or activity is too small.

At the [next Feast] the Spiritual Assembly plans to share the 3-month teaching plan , so please send any suggestions or pledges to . . .

As our beloved Universal House Justice of told us:

“Now is the time for the friends to seize new opportunities to extend the range and influence of the Faith, to reach a new level of action in expanding the community and fortifying its foundations. It is indeed time for audacious action undeterred by a fear of mistakes, fired by the urgency of ministering to the pressing needs of humanity. Will the American Bahá’í community not see its chance to meet the challenge? Will its members not once again blaze a trail that can set in motion a myriad victories?”

We look forward to collaborating and serving with all of you as we expand our teaching efforts to emblazon the Name of Bahá’u’lláh in Arlington and win hearts for His Cause.

With much love,

The Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Arlington

Suggestions and pledges from the community:

Institute Courses and Study Circles

  • Schedule a Book 6 in Arlington

Children’s Classes

  • Neighborhood children’s classes
  • Children’s classes at County site, e.g. TJ Community Center (where Fair is held)

Devotional Gatherings

  • Holding devotionals in your neighborhood or apt. bldg.
  • Devotional gatherings to support those in bereavement or grieving
  • Announce devotionals and firesides by using bulletin boards in mailrooms in your apt. or condo bldg.
  • Starting an interfaith meditation group, based on Baha’i perspective on meditation
  • Devotional in Ballston. Will contact [one friend] who is currently hosting a fireside in Ballston, to expand the number of devotionals in that area. Will host a fireside on the weekend that [she]will not be hosting one. The hope is that we can be a sustainable resource in Ballston.
  • Hold two devotional meetings
  • Each individual member of the Spiritual Assembly of Arlington has pledged to hold at least one devotional gathering before Ridván 2008.

Firesides and Social Gatherings

  • Collaboration; building on existing activities
  • Informational socials (not necessarily a formal speaker)
  • Bicycling groups
  • Projects: group for sharing, supporting, informing each other about personal projects
  • Inviting/accompanying people to Baha’i events (e.g. at NoVa Center in Sterling)
  • Holding firesides or deepenings
  • Women’s social group (”Fun-omenal women”)
  • Men’s movie club
  • Working to teach the Faith by organizing the adult speaker series at the OWBS. This is like a weekly fireside for seekers, it’s just not in our community.
  • Hold two firesides as a result of a teaching team

Outreach for Teaching

  • Form one or two teaching teams
  • Door to door canvassing
  • Arlington County volunteer opportunities
  • Learn more about El Salvador’s culture
  • Follow up with the seekers from the Arlington County Fair
  • Systematic familiarization with one’s neighbor’s

No comments: