Friday, June 12, 2009

"We look forward to the day when each neighborhood experiences what we have been experiencing."

A new pattern of community life is emerging all over the planet, and is sprouting up in a significant way in many clusters in the United States. As the processes of growth and consolidation progress, many aspects of Bahá’í community life, previously carried out at a centralized location, are now being re-established at the neighborhood level. The friends are beginning to experience some of the joys and benefits of this new pattern. We are thus delighted to share an excerpt from a “Teaching Team Report” from Scottsdale, AZ (A) to a Local Spiritual Assembly in the cluster. The friends’ experience is that neighborhood-level gatherings can be intimate, empower new believers, and assist with teaching and consolidation. Note also the important role of the Local Assembly in supporting this learning process. Finally, this team’s report is being shared back to the Assembly and thus disseminating the insights gained on a wider scale.

Dear Local Spiritual Assembly, . . .

We are so pleased to share with you the accounts of our learning and growth in hosting neighborhood Feasts and Holy Days and report the results. As these events are more manageable in size we are better able to serve and meet the needs of the participants. For instance, the social portion of Feasts has taken on a whole new meaning and has become a time of intimate discussion and further deepening on the Writings amongst the friends. At the initial Feast, all who were present collectively engaged in discussing the afterlife during the social portion. One of the new believers was so excited about the Feasts that they inspired him to teach his friends about the Bahá’í Faith.

Most recently, the celebration of the Declaration of the Báb was a wonderful gathering; comprising prayers, a slide presentation, music, and a brief account of the life history of the Báb by one of the new believers. We noticed that members of our teaching team were all engaged throughout the event in teaching a seeker who attended and lovingly discussing the glory of the Faith with the new believers. As they were leaving the gathering, the new believers expressed how “exalted and inspired” they felt.

On behalf of our teaching team, we would like to thank you for the opportunity and the support you have given us. Without you none of this would have been possible. Neighborhood Feasts and Holy Day observances have lent themselves to consolidation and new declarations, have increased the unity of our teaching team, have helped us to better connect with the vision of the Universal House of Justice. We look forward to the day when each neighborhood experiences what we have been experiencing. Please keep us in your prayers and accept our heartfelt and sincere gratitude.

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