Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Astonishing accomplishments in just 12 months

Sometimes when we are so busy with the teaching work, we don’t ever notice the progress that is occurring. And yet, when we pause to look back on where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going, we can see that we have accomplished so, so much! The Regional Bahá’í Council for the Northeastern states just sent this message to all the Bahá’ís in that region. Wow! I have to say it again. Wow! In the space of just one year since the Regional Bahá’í Conferences, huge successes have been made on several fronts: cluster advancement, enrollments, homefront pioneering, etc. The accomplishments are stunning, and the Regional Council has used these successes as a window to encourage the friends to even more successes. This message also paints “the big picture” of how all the elements of the Five Year Plan and the various efforts of the friends fit together.

Dearly loved friends in the Northeast:

The Regional Bahá’í Council is delighted to share the wonderful accomplishments achieved in the 12 months since the December 13-14, 2008 Northeast Regional Conference held in Stamford, Connecticut. As the Universal House of Justice called on the friends gathered at the six Regional conferences in the United States, we are seeing that, “Every steadfast believer,” those who attended that conference, as well as those who were not able to do so, is showing “a faith and determination, a commitment to unity and sacrifice that will lift the Cause to a new stage in its development.” . . .

The Universal House of Justice said at Riván 2009, “A mere three years ago...” “With great vigour the friends everywhere began to pursue the goal of establishing intensive programmes of growth in no less than 1,500 clusters worldwide...” “But no one could have imagined then how profoundly the Lord of Hosts, in His inscrutable wisdom, intended to transform His community in so short a span of time.”

In 12 months our region has gone from 10 to 23 clusters engaged in an intensive program of growth. 14 more clusters are projected to reach that stage by Riván 2011. This means that by the end of the Five Year Plan, 37 out of our 48 clusters—where 94% of the believers in the Northeast reside—will be engaged in an intensive program of growth. This will be a remarkable accomplishment to put before the Universal House of Justice.

The number of adult and youth enrollments in the Northeast has grown during this Plan from 97 in year one, to 184 in year two, to 387 in year three! We are witnessing growth as a fruit of the institute process. “Experience suggests that the more closely teaching approaches and methods are aligned with the capacity acquired from the study of the institute courses the more rewarding the results.”

Most of our growth comes from “believers...entering into closer association with people of many walks of life, engaging them in earnest conversation on themes of spiritual import.” But seekers are also contacting us. In the past year there have been 77 enrollments in the Northeast from seekers who contacted us through the Seeker Response System. The number of seekers in the Seeker Response System in the Northeast has quadrupled from 200, two years ago, to over 800 today.

Another great blessing of Bahá’u’lláh is that 50 homefront pioneers have arisen in the Northeast since the Regional Conference and have been placed in 18 clusters “to help form the core of believers needed to establish the mutually reinforcing processes of teaching and training.” The Regional Council would like to place at least 50 additional homefront pioneers in the next 18 months, many of them in 19 clusters where “the settlement of homefront pioneers, even for six to twelve months, will provide stability and continuity for the teaching work and the process of community building.”

In clusters where a core group of believers are actively involved in the institute process and engaged in direct teaching we often see Bahá’í institutions and agencies collaborating more closely; Local Spiritual Assemblies actively involved in cluster and core activities; and youth engaged in the provisions of the Plan. The Regional Council is confident of winning the remaining goals of the Plan when we see the sacrificial services being offered by homefront pioneers, mobile tutors and travel teachers; capacity being built in cluster agencies; two learning sites developing in the region; resource persons serving clusters; home visits becoming the norm; formation of junior youth groups and neighborhood children’s classes accelerating; human resources being mobilized through accompaniment; and the friends increasingly opening neighborhood activities to all inhabitants of their communities.

These are our accomplishments in the last year. They portend a wonderful outcome for the Five Year Plan in the months ahead. While there will still be challenges as we strive to achieve sustainable growth in cluster after cluster, the Regional Council is certain that our focused commitment to the framework for action will overcome every obstacle.

The Regional Council prays for opportunities to walk this path of service, together with you.

With much love, appreciation and admiration.

Regional Bahá’í Council of the Northeastern States

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