Friday, October 31, 2008

The fruits of collaboration

This report from an A-stage cluster in the Central region is full of gems. Here is a cluster where the various institutions have learned to collaborate and work together, where the friends have made steady progress in raising up human resources and accompanying them to serve to the utmost of their capacity, where the Local Spiritual Assemblies are taking a leading role in all the work. And no matter what their achievements, the friends are continually striving to learn more.

Although the summer vacation period interrupted the intensity of the efforts in some zones of the cluster, other zones took great advantage of the period by starting junior youth groups or children classes. In the future, advance planning, such as summer programs for children and youth, will help to insure consistency in the teaching efforts.

We have managed to make use of almost all our human resources (tutors, children’s class teachers, animators of junior youth groups); now the challenge is to maximize their time. . . .

Follow-up with new Baha’is has been less intensive than we had hoped. Adjusting to their schedules and priorities has been a challenge, but the core team and Local Spiritual Assembly are reflecting on how to address this challenge.

One junior youth group has formed from an earlier effort where a group of young people learned about the virtues with the Bahá’ís. Now the friends are able to make use of the animators materials with this group.

We are now in the process of increasing the number of zones in which there are teaching activities. More Bahá’ís are engaged in teaching by participating in home visits, study circles, children’s classes, junior youth groups, devotional gatherings and firesides.

Teaching teams are gathering together and studying the guidance and planning projects in their neighborhood, and then consulting about the progress made and lessons learned.

The core team has given support to surrounding clusters by increasing their understanding of the Plan and by encouraging their involvement, as well as supporting multiplication of the core activities. As a result, about 8 of the friends from surrounding clusters are now involved. Direct teaching efforts and children’s classes have started in nearby communities.

Accompaniment of the Local Spiritual Assemblies by our Auxiliary Board member to work in a collaborative and coordinated way has been one of our main goals and has brought a wonderful outcome. The level of commitment of the 4 Local Spiritual Assemblies in the cluster has increased notably. Since they have started to serve on teaching teams and be more focused on the Plan, they are also much more involved in teaching and multiplication of core activities, as well as home visits to the members of their communities. The loving collaboration and coordination among the institutions is a strength in the cluster. Of course there is still so much to learn but we can already see nice progress.

We have started to take advantage of the Nineteen Day Feast as a resource for encouraging the friends and accompanying them in their consultation about planning, follow-up, and lessons learned.

The cluster institute coordinator role is so critical in an A-stage cluster, and so different from one cluster to another. The spirit of teamwork among the institutions has been vital, and we hope to continue learning about it.

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