World Conferences in Full Swing Across the Midwest
News About the Region
from the national Bahá’í website for the United States, bahai.us
Retrospective: A Blossoming of initiatives in the Midwest
Though diverse in focus, these initiatives shared a common thread of building networks of people in the Midwestern states dedicated to sharing Baha’u’llah’s teachings in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio.
In Ohio, cluster teams came together to learn from each other as they strove toward the shared goal of advancing through the milestones.
… Participants also read the names of departed Ohioan Baha’is as part of a devotional program that concluded the gathering.
Midwest Youth conference participants seek solutions to racism
Summer 2020 will long be remembered for protests against racial injustice that filled the streets of many U.S. cities. Young people have been at the forefront of this movement, impatient with the nation’s status quo — a feeling no doubt shared by many young Baha’is.
The Midwest Youth Conference, July 18–19, sought to develop a response to this social reality. Held via online videoconference, it attracted 75 participants from Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
My spiritual journey began when I was a very young child. I was raised by two wonderful parents who emigrated from Greece to the United States. Our home in Ohio was like the United Nations. My parents opened their home and hearts to people of all faiths and nationalities.
Celebrating Progressive Revelation
At a celebration in Saint Paris, Ohio, guests were offered an opportunity to work on a timeline of the progressive revelations of Messengers of God; make prayer cards; assemble flowers of various colors and shapes and place them in “God’s Garden”; learn about the life of the Bab; and “search” for a “gem” as the Letters of the Living searched for the Bab.
Prayer, preparation and courage fuel growth in Indiana communities
With two young girls — Zinnia, 3, and Radia, 7 — Paith MacQueen Gruszynski needed in-home childcare, and in her ad she specified she was looking to hire someone willing to help them create a “prayerful home.”
Kyra Potts responded. They formed a quick connection and spoke frankly about their personal lives during their first phone call. “Paith said that she would pray for me every day,” says Potts. “I just felt God throughout it all.”
Public connections flourish at Baha’i centers of learning
Through a relationship with Children’s Theater Company (CTC) of New York and community partner The New Standard Academy, Louhelen Baha’i School has developed beneficial relationships in nearby Flint using theater and education.
Together with CTC, local community organizations and Baha’i institutions, Louhelen presented musical performances for schools at the local community theater located at New Standard and the University of Michigan-Flint. The musical Henry Box Brown was so well received, a relationship developed allowing the Louhelen outreach team to provide Baha’i-inspired after school programming, says Louhelen Administrator Cam Herth.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
I was a child in the small town of Peru, Indiana, in the 1980s. I was raised by an atheist father and a Catholic mother who was pretending to be a Baptist. My mom insisted that my sister and I go to church every week, and I often questioned what we heard there.
When the Baptist preacher said that Buddha was a devil, I looked at my mother and asked, “Isn’t Buddha just like Moses but in Asia?” She just smiled and nodded without saying a word.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
My early experiences with religion were interesting. My uncle, Addison Lawton, was an influential Presbyterian minister. When I was 5, my family visited him, and on Sunday I was brought up to the front of the church. Reverend Lawton lifted me up in front of the congregation to baptize me, but I reached and grabbed him by the wrist. “Watch it, Buster,” I said. “What do you think you’re doing?” Even at 5, I didn’t believe in compulsion in religion.
Indianans “Light Up the Night” for racial justice
Harrison Hill is a historic residential neighborhood in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It is home to people of diverse ancestries — and for many that’s a cause for celebration. The decades-long marriage of two of the neighborhood’s residents, Gayle and Akinlana (“Akin”) Bevill-DaDa, exemplifies the possibilities for interracial relationships. Gayle is white and Akin is Black.
Cleveland reflection enriched by participation of Congolese families
Under the shade of an enormous tree, Baha’is in the Cleveland, Ohio, area met on Aug. 4 for what one participant called their “best cluster reflection meeting ever.”
Reflection meetings are held every three months to review Baha’i-initiated community-building efforts in a cluster of communities and make plans for the next three months.
Attendance at these gatherings in the Cleveland area had flagged in recent years, says Ron Frazer, …
Peace sculpture advances vision
for Michigan Baha’i property
More than a century ago, Muskegon, Michigan, was seen as a possible place to build the Baha’i House of Worship for North America. That singular honor eventually went to Wilmette, Illinois.
But a Baha’i-owned property in Muskegon, only blocks from a Lake Michigan inlet, has evolved in its own purpose. This past summer saw the dedication of a peace sculpture to enhance a meditation garden established two decades ago.
Stories from the US Bahá’í Newsletter
… about communities in the Midwest Region
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