Monday, February 11, 2008

Ann Arbor MI grow their children’s classes with outward-looking orientation

In this story, Ann Arbor, MI a new A, shares how neighborhood classes spread gradually in their cluster. Beginning with children of Bahá'ís, classes now have grown to include neighborhood children not from Bahá'í families, and then eventually to into classes formed within their own neighborhoods. The cluster also shares their experiences related to classes held at the Bahá'í Center.

Classes, classes, everywhere there are classes.

The parents in our cluster have embraced hosting neighborhood children’s classes. The first neighborhood children’s classes started a little less than two years ago. One Bahá'í couple, whose children are grown and out of the house, asked some relatives of theirs, who have children, if they could start a virtues class at their home on Thursday evenings. The host family, of whom the husband is a Bahá'í, and his wife is not, agreed. Initially, a few Bahá'í parents brought their children to join the class. The class began to grow, and neighborhood children were invited. Eventually, the class grew so large that a few of the Bahá'ís from other parts of the cluster, and whose children were also attending the class, decided to host their own neighborhood classes. These families decided to host classes on different days of the week, and regularly invite their children’s non-Bahá'í friends to attend them.

Another factor in the spread of our cluster’s classes is the new Bahá'í Center in Ypsilanti Township. Although the Sunday children’s classes at the center, with few attendees from the community of interest, vary weekly from robust size to only a few participants, the continuity of these activities helps the community to maintain a focus on the importance of Bahá'í identity and fellowship. These classes are regularly attended by Bahá'í families from both within the cluster and surrounding municipalities outside the cluster. Occasionally, there are friends from the community of interest who will visit the Center. The Bahá'í Center classes, however, present challenges in the allocation of cluster members’ resources and time, and make the transition towards an outward orientation more of a struggle. Those Bahá'ís who have begun to focus on community classes, rather than attending those at the Bahá'í Center, are conflicted, because as much as they love what the Center represents, obedience to the Five Year Plan suggests that outward orientation in one’s neighborhood is the key to having ones actions more closely in alignment with the guidance of the Universal House of Justice. In short, Bahá'í families in our cluster are sacrificing familiarity and comfort for the fulfillment of the Five Year Plan.

Michigan 17’s neighborhood children’s class

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