Baha’i Bhavan, Ahwa – 8 June 2019
As an effort towards accompanying the Local Spiritual Assemblies, the State Baha’i Council of Gujarat organized a one-day deepening program for the members of the Assemblies on 8th June 2019 at Ahwa Baha’i Bhavan. Some thirty-five members from …. Participated in the program. As this was the first gathering after the election of the Local Assemblies, the purpose of this program was to provide the members an opportunity to discuss the nature and Importance of the Local Spiritual Assembly, and its basic functions and role in the process of community building taking shape in their communities.
The deepening program began with prayers followed by a session on ‘Baha’i Administration and Local Spiritual Assembly’. This session helped the friends to reflect upon the nature and purpose of Baha’i Administration and especially to discuss the nature and basic functions of the Assembly such as holding regular meetings, conducting Nineteen Day Feat and Holy Day Celebrations, Establishing Local Baha’i Fund, and its role in the community building process.
The session on ‘Local Spiritual Assembly meetings and Yearly Calendrer’ helped the friends to understand some of the points that may help them in conducting their Assembly meetings regularly and effectively. It was discussed that preparation for the meeting is a crucial part, which may include preparation of Agenda, Inviting and ensuring the participation of all the members, a physical arrangement to ensure the smooth functioning of the meeting; ensuring that the necessary information, letters, reports are available. The friends had an opportunity to reflect upon how the meeting may be conducted smoothly- the role of the Chairman, Secretary, and other members, as well as their role after the meeting, like preparing the minutes, implementation of the decision taken by the Assembly, etc. It was discussed that the Assembly may prepare their yearly calendar with the dates of meetings, dates of Nineteen Day Feasts and Holy Day Celebrations, and other events, etc. One point was given due importance that before concluding the meeting of the Assembly date, place and time for the next meeting must be decided.
The session on Nineteen Day Feast and Holy Day Celebration gave the friends an opportunity to discuss about the how the Assembly can invite all the believers residing in the community and ensure their participation, how all the three parts may be given due importance and especially how the Assembly may try to create a spiritual atmosphere wherein the believers may be charged once in nineteen days and long for the next Feast. Again, it was discussed that the preparation for both Nineteen Day Feast and Holy Day Celebration is very much important.
While discussing the establishment of Local Fund the friends agreed that their Assembly may encourage the believers for regular contributions towards Local Fund along with spot collections and need base contributions. Some of the Local Spiritual Assemblies shared their experiences of how they encourage the believers to offer their contributions on a regular basis. The Local Assemblies were also encouraged to send their contributions towards National and other Baha’i Funds. The discussion on ‘role of Local Spiritual Assemblies in the process of building vibrant communities’ assisted the friends to discuss how the Local Assemblies can play a significant role in building vibrant communities. Some clips from the film ‘A Widening Embrace’ helped them to see how they can take ownership of the Growth process and assist and accompany the resources available in their communities.
The program was concluded with the sharing of experiences from recent ‘group visit to the House of Worship in Delhi’. It was a spiritual visit and the friends were spiritually charged through discussions on various topics like concept of service and worship, how the devotional gatherings are planting the seeds of future “Mashriqul-Adhkar” in the communities, how a family can serve the Cause. They were thankful to the National Spiritual Assembly, Counsellor Rajan Sawant, Director of the Temple and the staff for having an opportunity to spend some days of their life in the Temple premises.