Thursday, September 25, 2008

Inviting neighbors to a "spiritual party", and into the Cause

Devotional meetings are one of the core activities. They are also one of the key building blocks of a new civilization—a way of creating new patterns of community life centered around prayer and connecting with the Word of God. This report about a devotional meeting in South Carolina was shared by the Regional Bahá’í Council of the Southern States. Particularly noteworthy are the consistent and ongoing efforts by the friends to reach out to numerous contacts, in a variety of venues, to participate in the gatherings. And these take place not in isolation but connected with other efforts of individuals to teach the Faith.

In one community, a weekly devotional gathering has helped to not only attract an increasing number of seekers, but has contributed in an ongoing manner to the growth of the cluster. The hosts have compared the devotional gathering to participating in a “spiritual party”. . . .

Every Tuesday about 12-15 seekers come together in a Bahá’í home for a simple dinner, prayers, and singing. Some are neighbors who were approached by the friends. Some are local junior youth who are attracted by the loving and welcoming spirit of the home.

Still others have been met through encounters at a coffee shop located close to a university campus. These customers and seekers are mostly in the age range of 17 to 34 and are from various cultural backgrounds. In the coffee shop they often study for classes or work on their laptops. A member of the teaching team approaches the customer and a friendly conversation is initiated. The conversation naturally leads them to inviting the seekers to the devotions and to “break bread together”. The teaching teams meet weekly to plan and to focus on this receptive population.

In recent weeks, one of the participants in the devotional meetings declared his Faith in Bahá’u’lláh. Another seeker, a mother of two of the junior youth who attend the devotions, also declared. The mother was visited by the teaching team and Anna’s presentation was shared with her. At the same time it was being shared, one of her children helped with the presentation by reading the quotations. The mother observed her daughter’s excitement as she read the Creative Word and was deeply moved by this and by the Message.

These stories of personal teaching initiatives are very inspiring and encouraging. We send our deepest love and warmest regards to all the friends.

Regional Bahá’í Council of the Southern States

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