Creating Vibrant Communities
Creating Vibrant Communities is an initative of some Baha'is in Westchester. It consists of a gathering, every other month, to uplift our souls and energize our communities through an interfaith devotional, talk series, reflection and elevated conversations, and actions on topics facing our society in these challenging times.
Amidst ongoing conversations - not only in the United States, but across the globe - about how our election processes can best advance democracy, accountability, and good governance, we do well to look to a variety of sources for new ideas and approaches. In this presentation, Prof. Bobby Ahdieh will explore lessons that the distinctive election principles and methods utilized in the Baha'i community might hold.
Robert B. Ahdieh was appointed Dean and Anthony G. Buzbee Endowed Dean's Chair at the Texas A&M University School of Law in July 2018. A graduate of Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs and Yale Law School, Ahdieh served as law clerk to Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before his selection for the Honors Program in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to coming to Texas A&M, he was the K.H. Gyr Professor of Law at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and a visiting professor at Columbia, Georgetown and Princeton University law schools.
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Some claim that 'most children in school fail'; that is they fail to develop their true potntial. In this presentation, Dr. Brian O'Toole, an Educational Psychologist from the UK who had worked in Guyana for the past 42 years, explored this claim and examined what can be done to remedy this fundamental problem as well as to restore moral and character development in our education system. 04-25-2021: Texts of Devotional Readings 04-25-2021: Video of this talk
The ideal of human rights is based on belief in the inherent dignity of all human beings. Yet, our political culture and economic system reward greed and aggression, and the combination of divisive ideologies and social inequality, in addition to the scourge of racial prejudice, has brought the global community to the point of unprecedented crisis. In this talk, Professor Akhavan addressed the historical forces that nudged humanity towards the concept of universal human right and the realization of humanity's interdependance. He further elaborated on how such shifts in our collective thinking may move humanity from the shadow of prevalent conflict and catastrophic climate change towards a just world civilization. 02-21-2021: Texts of Devotional Readings 02-21-2021: Video of this talk
This talk articulated the opportunities before humanity today - from local action to global coherence to deal with various challenges humanity faces - economic, racial, environmental - as symptoms of a deeper crisis. The talk was given by Mr. Daniel Perell, a representative for Baha'i International Community's United Nations Office. His areas of work include social and sustainable development, climate change and the environment, global citizenship, human rights, and the role of religion in society. 12-19-2020: Texts of Devotional Readings 12-19-2020: "The Role of Crisis in Humanity's Progress" Talk Resources 12-19-2020: Video of this talk
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth" - Baha'u'llah This talk considered a few steps that we can take to support racial unity, no matter where we live. The talk was given by Dr. June Manning Thomas, Professor Emerita of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan. She is the author of several books and articles, with a focus on social justice, urban planning history, and community development. 10-24-2020: Texts of Devotional Readings 10-24-2020: "Three Strategies for Race Unity" Talk Resources 10-24-2020: Video of this talk
Creating vibrant communities requires a reorientation in our thoughts and actions. As such the Baha'i Community is pursuing four core activities. They are briefly outlined below and more details are available by clicking the arrow on the right hand side:
Devotional gatherings which bring everyone together for prayer, song and meditation. They take on the cultural character of local communities and embrace many faith traditions. Prayer and quiet contemplation, as well as, joyous singing, drumming and other artful offerings are features of many devotional gatherings. Children classes are for a community's youngest and most precious treasures. Our classes help children connect to their inherent nobility and goodness, and practice the qualities given to them by God, like kindness, generosity and forgiveness. Junior youth groups help young people, ages 11 to 14, navigate a crucial time in their lives and build moral clarity for the many decisions they'll face. Youth groups design service projects relevant to their neighborhoods and find healthy ways to socialize together. Study circles where a small group builds knowledge, spiritual insights and skills to contribute to the betterment of society. The series of materials help trace a path of service to humanity that each of us walk at our own pace, assisting and being assisted by other.
A study circle is a small group that builds knowledge, spiritual insights and skills to contribute to the betterment of society. The first in a sequence of courses focuses on prayer, meditation, life and death and the development of the soul. The series of materials help trace a path of service to humanity that each of us walks at our own pace, assisting and being assisted by others. Treading this path implies the pursuit of a twofold moral purpose: firstly, attending to our own spiritual and intellectual growth, and secondly, contributing to the transformation of society. The materials are based on the teachings of the Baha'i Faith. For more information or to join a class in your neighborhood, please contact StudyCircles@westchester-cvc.org.
Children's Classes are committed to bringing out the spiritual qualities in children. These classes are based on the Baha'i concept that children are a "mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom." Lessons consist of memorization of prayers and quotations, songs, stories, cooperative games, and artistic activities like drama and colouring. Spiritual qualities discussed include unity, justice, love, truthfulness, humility, generosity, kindliness, etc. The emphasis of the class is on learning to think, to reflect and to apply spiritual laws to the life of the individual and society. For more information on children classes in your neighborhood, please contact ChildrenClasses@westchester-cvc.org.
In neighbourhoods around the world, young people aged 11-14 gather together to participate in what is known as, the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program. In these groups, the Junior Youth develop their spiritual qualities, their intellectual capabilities, and their capacity to serve society by engaging in meaningful discussions and artistic expression - through drama, cooperative games, the study of literature, storytelling and acts of community service, which all help the Junior Youth form a strong moral identity and empowers them to contribute to the well-being of their communities and the world at large. For more information on children classes in your neighborhood, please contact JYGroups@westchester-cvc.org.
Devotional meetings are occasions where any soul may enter, inhale the heavenly fragrances, experience the sweetness of prayer, meditate upon the Creative Word, be transported on the wings of the spirit, and commune with the one Beloved. Feelings of fellowship and common cause are generated, particularly in the spiritually heightened conversations that naturally occur at such times and through which the "city of the human heart" may be opened. For more information on devotional gatherings in your neighborhood, please contact atc@westchesterBahais.org.