Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pioneering to a Neighborhood

The Area Teaching Committee of the Phoenix, AZ cluster (A-stage) recently shared the following:

Having a Bahá’í living in a neighbourhood who is willing to establish friendships with the neighbours, and start a process of community building via the core activities, can be a highly rewarding asset.  We are witnessing this in several neighbourhoods.

New York City (A-stage) is talking about the same thing:

Once we identify a receptive population and neighbourhood — and specifically an apartment building or block in a neighbourhood — we have learned to focus our human resources to amplify the strengths and abilities of home front pioneers and teachers on the ground. Having capable souls living in these buildings is essential, and to these key resources we have invited skilled teachers/tutors to commit three-to-five hours per week to lift the level of activity and learn about spiritual community building in these micro-settings.

In Waukesha, WI (A-stage) a believer who left one locality to pioneer to a neighborhood in a different locality communicated with her Regional Council about the benefits:

…We can see already what a difference it makes to the people in the neighborhood that I am living here. Our main focus has been to establish children's classes, and then have other core activities spin off from that. Our Area Teaching Committee had chosen this neighborhood for attention a little more than two years ago during an expansion phase of an early IPG cycle. We found it to be receptive, and had children's classes during the summer of 2008. We had continued to find receptivity during successive cycles, but without a permanent place in the community it was hard to get a foothold. I have been here for just over two months, and we have confirmation after confirmation that we're on the right track. Our children's class is growing, as are our relationships with parents.

This calls to mind the emphasis placed by the Universal House of Justice on pioneering in this Plan:

Equally important will be the support lent to a cluster through an influx of pioneers. The desire to pioneer arises naturally from deep within the heart of the individual believer as a response to the Divine summons. Whosoever forsakes his or her home for the purpose of teaching the Cause joins the ranks of those noble souls whose achievements down the decades have illumined the annals of Bahá’í pioneering. We cherish the hope that many will be moved to render this meritorious service during the next Plan, whether on the home front or in the international field -- an act that, in itself, attracts untold blessings... Priority should be given to settling short-term and long-term pioneers in those clusters that are the focus of systematic attention, whether as a means of reinforcing endeavours to lay the groundwork for accelerated growth or stabilizing cycles of activity under way. (27 December 2005)

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