Friday, June 5, 2009

Indianapolis reaches out and moves ahead

Indianapolis, IN (A) has just started another cycle of its intensive program of growth. In this report, one of the believers shares some reflections from the most recent experiences of the friends. Note how the arts have been incorporated in various ways to the IPG. Accompaniment and other creative approaches are engaging a wider number of the friends in teaching. Particularly heartwarming is how an outward-looking orientation—such as showing Bahá’ís’ respect for other religions and starting core activities in a spirit of service to our neighbors—is engaging the Community of Interest, as well as helping the teachers to create new connections with the people they meet.

Advance planning for the latest IPG included a music workshop. Participation rather than performance was the key, with lots of percussion. We learned many songs which energized all ages at the meetings.

The use of a “Pledge Garden” (a poster of greenery with different colored flowers for core activities) was a fun way to collect statistics. A junior youth created the garden. . . .

Community of Interest participation helped us appreciate an outward orientation. Two spouses of Bahá’ís are studying Book 6. They attended the Cluster Reflection Meeting, and assisted with firesides as part of their Book 6 practice.

Our Intensive Program of Growth began Easter weekend. Three teams visited middle class neighborhoods near the Bahá’í Center. If someone responded to the invitation to learn about the Bahá’í Faith by saying, “I have my own church,” or something similar, the teachers shared one of the quotes of Bahá’u’lláh praising Christ, such as “Know thou that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God. . .” The response was usually positive and led to further conversation.

One neighbor, who had visited the Bahá’í Center, is busy with her children and a demanding job. She gratefully accepted the offer of a neighborhood children’s class, and within a week, her Bahá’í friend had started it.

After a fireside at which Anna’s conversation was shared, two neighbors of the Bahá’í host have now begun studying Book 1.

The following Saturday, Bahá'ís from Bloomington came to learn about direct teaching in neighborhoods. This accompaniment was helpful for all of us. The Indianapolis believers felt supported by the Bloomington friends’ enthusiasm, efforts, and prayers. Anna’s conversation was shared and two members of the Community of Interest asked for return visits. After teaching together, our Bloomington friends said they feel more confident about teaching in their cluster.

All in all, teachers are feeling more confident with each cycle.

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