The Life of the Spirit: Prayer

The following article is from bahai.org. Photo copyright © Bahá’í International Community

Just as our bodies require nourishment to develop properly, we need regular prayer for our spiritual sustenance and health. Prayer is food for the soul; it deepens the love of God in our hearts and draws us closer to Him.“There is nothing sweeter in the world of existence than prayer…The most blessed condition is the condition of prayer and supplication.1 To live in a state of prayer entails not only uttering sacred verses in moments of devotion; it suggests, too, that throughout the day we should turn our hearts towards God.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for July 2018

July 11, 2018

Bookclub members took some time away from reading and discussing all kinds of books to investigate ideas for a service project in order to give back to the community. Although we are still discussing the ideas that came up, we have decided to emphasize books in whatever we do. We have several options to pursue, including a short-term project for local community development, and something longer term that would involve children and support their involvement with books in school and at home. Literacy in general and love of books are ideas we hope to foster. More details will follow as the project develops. Stay tuned!

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for June 2018

June 13, 2018

June’s meeting was a discussion of the book The Anvil of the Spirit by Morris Taylor.

Book club members observed that overall, the book describes a way to revitalize Feast in Baha’i communities by encouraging members to try a variety of different approaches. They felt that the book was compelling, and saw it as having an impact in many ways. It offers a toolkit of ideas and methods to help with challenges in the community, personal lives, relationships, and at work. Many of the ideas emphasized the importance of relationships, and of specific tools such as listening, humor, building trust, and resolving conflict. Discussion participants felt that the ideas, methods, and techniques presented were applicable in their own lives as well as the Baha’i community at large.

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Spirit prevailed at the Race Unity Day picnic in Chelsea

A small group of stalwart friends met to celebrate Race Unity Day in Chelsea on Saturday, June 9th, 2018. A lovely selection of potluck offerings was laid out under the shelter at Pierce Park on Main Street. The rain didn’t discourage the joyful, loving gathering. A local person, attracted by newspaper announcements, came to share in the event. The beauty and peace of the park added to the warmth of the afternoon. As a bonus, our 10 foot long banner reading “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth… – Baha’u’llah” was visible from Main Street.

It was really a nice afternoon and so nice to have a friend come because she’s dedicated to racial justice!

The Life of the Spirit: Character and Conduct

The following article is from bahai.org.

Central to the spiritual life is the development of spiritual qualities that assist each of us in our eternal journey towards God. In this world, the cultivation of such qualities is inseparable from an ongoing refinement of our conduct in which our actions increasingly come to reflect the nobility and integrity with which every human being is endowed. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá states:

We must strive unceasingly and without rest to accomplish the development of the spiritual nature in man, and endeavor with tireless energy to advance humanity toward the nobility of its true and intended station.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for May 2018

May 9, 2018

Our last meeting included a reflection on our previous six months, and planning for the rest of the year. The group was positive about the use of themes in our book selections, and decided to continue their use. Members felt that use of themes encouraged expanded variety of both books and genres, and were hopeful that this variety could appeal to non-Baha’is as well as Baha’i members. Reflection also included a discussion of suggestions to attract more members and increase participation, including holding more events (such as the author lecture held last year), announcing the bookclub more often at events to increase awareness, calling people with personal invitations, and ensuring that all types of announcements/invitations are clear that the bookclub is not specifically a Baha’i book club.

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The Gate: Dawn of the Baha’i Faith trailer and movie info

There has been a lot of excitement about the release of the film The Gate: Dawn of the Baha’i Faith, so we’ve collected some links about the film to share with your friends. In the Detroit area, the film will be televised on June 24, 2018 at 2pm on WXYZ-TV (Channel 7). The Baha’i Center of Washtenaw County will also be hosting a movie night featuring the film, so keep in touch for more details!

About the Film (from thegatefilm.com)

In the midst of religious intolerance and extremism, one religion—the Bahá’í Faith—offers a path toward world peace by advocating the oneness of humanity’s major religions. Now, this groundbreaking documentary tells the amazing, little-known story of the origins of the Bahá’í Faith.

The Gate: Dawn of the Bahá’í Faith recounts the founding of this new world religion in Persia by a Prophet known as The Báb. In the mid-1800s, Jews, Christians and Muslims alike were awaiting the imminent arrival of a Divine Messenger. Beginning in 1844, the Báb’s message, which included then-controversial ideas like the oneness of major religions and the empowerment of women, spread like wildfire across the region amidst this religious climate.

However, His groundbreaking new message presented a threat to religious and political leaders of the time, resulting in relentless persecution of the Báb and His followers. The Báb’s message ultimately triumphed with a growing number of faithful; today, the Bahá’í religion is practiced throughout the world by over five million people.

Combining dramatic reenactments with interviews of renowned historians, religious scholars and Bahá’í Faith experts, The Gate: Dawn of the Bahá’í Faith celebrates the brief, exciting life of a prophet and the indelible impact His message continues to have on the world today.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for April 2018

April 11, 2018

Our last meeting was a discussion of The Saddlebag, a book by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani. It is based on an anecdote about the theft of a saddlebag from the Bab, recounted in The Dawn-Breakers (pg. 103). Ms. Nakhjavani imagines the travels of the saddlebag after the theft, and how each person coming in contact with it, and the writings it contains, is affected.

Bookclub members were quick to point out the many Baha’i references contained in the story, which also has characters from most, if not all, of the current world faiths. As the setting is the area around Mecca and Medina, readers also discussed the many cultural references, some of which were understandable to western readers, and some of which were not. For example, the Bride is bringing her dowry along, marriage is arranged, and a slave is present. Superstitions play a part in the plot, but there are also occasions of apparent precognition or “sight”.

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The Local Spiritual Assembly

The following article is from a series on the Bahá’í Administrative Order at bahai.org. Photo above: Collonade of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice © 2018 Bahá’í International Community

At the local level, the affairs of the Bahá’í community are administered by the Local Spiritual Assembly. Each Local Assembly consists of nine members who are chosen in annual elections. As with all other elected Bahá’í institutions, the Assembly functions as a body and makes decisions through consultation.

The responsibilities of the Local Spiritual Assembly include promoting the spiritual education of children and young people, strengthening the spiritual and social fabric of Bahá’í community life, assessing and utilizing the community’s resources, and ensuring that the energies and talents of community members contribute towards progress. It is also responsible for organizing the Nineteen Day Feast, which is the cornerstone of Bahá’í community life. During the Nineteen Day Feast the friends living in a particular locality gather to pray and consult together, give suggestions to the Local Spiritual Assembly, and receive information from it.

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The Caring Group

Do you know someone in the community who is having health issues? Someone who is facing some other sort of difficulty and would appreciate hearing from the Baha’i community in the form of a card or a call? We now have a process in place to provide contact with those of us who might welcome a caring gesture from the community as a whole. A Caring Group has been established to provide this service. Although there is often general information available in the community, we are encouraging those who know of Baha’is who would be pleased to receive a caring gesture from the group to please share this knowledge with their Local Spiritual Assembly or with an established contact from their group, who will pass it on to the Caring Group. As this is a new process, we are hoping to expand it gradually, and to do our best to insure no one is omitted. Thank you for participating in what we hope will be another way to add unity to our community. If you have questions or concerns, please contact bcwccaringgroup@gmail.com.

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