Monday, September 28, 2009

Long Island picks up the pace with creativity

Imagine you’ve been on a long airplane flight (let’s say 11 hours in the air so far). That jet plane was launched quite some time back and is well on its way to its destination. You might expect to just continue cruising in the middle of the air. But let’s say the pilot decides to pick up speed. He or she revs up the engines, and now you are flying through the air even faster! That’s what’s happened recently in Long Island, NY (A). Their IPG has been through a number of cycles, so this time around, they decided to focus on ways in which they could increase the intensity of their efforts during the expansion phase. Emerging from their consultations (and actions) was a wide range of intriguing approaches to both core activities and direct teaching.

One of the things that the area teaching committee asked the friends to do during the eleventh cycle of the Long Island IPG was to intensify the level of activity associated with the expansion phase. Many of the friends took that to heart, as evidenced by a particular community that reported a significantly higher level of activity during the expansion phase. Among those activities were the following:

One person found a way to talk about the Faith via "mini firesides" with five or more colleagues at work. . . .

Another person found many teaching opportunities associated with the funeral of a Bahá’í friend.

Someone had a telephone "fireside" with a doctor whose relative is from Haifa and had visited both Haifa and to the House of Worship in Wilmette.

Someone went on “walking firesides" at work where she talked with a friend about the Faith.

The community held a devotional, and one of the seekers who attended plans to begin a Book 1 study circle soon.

Another believer decided to take Book 5 in order to prepare to be an animator, and plans to begin a junior youth group.

Efforts actively continued to stay in touch with and set up events for seekers who had come to the community via the Seeker Response System.

Finally, an intriguing context for starting a devotional at work: One of the believers has been having a daily devotional with one of his co-workers who is Christian. It seems that both of them did not want to get involved in the daily setting of backbiting and gossip that occurs in most workplaces, so rather than hanging out during breaks with the rest of the workers, each one kept to himself. Once they realized they were in similar circumstances, this naturally led to a decision to hang out together during breaks. Since both are spiritually oriented, this led to many discussions on spiritual matters and finally a decision to pray together. This believer brings the Bahá’í prayers and writings, and his colleague brings his own set of materials. Many interesting discussions have taken place on a regular basis, and a strong friendship has been built. This daily devotional has been going on for several months.

With loving greetings,

Area Teaching Committee of the Baha'is of Long Island

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