During the short period of time towards the end of December when most are on holiday for Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s the Baha’i community had two significant conferences. Each was separated by half a world in distance and an equal measure of distance in tone. The first was the 26th annual Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference held in Arizona, US between December 23rd and 26th.
This year’s Arizona conference featured the following speakers: David Young, Fariba Aghdasi, Erica Toussaint (US NSA member and previous ABM Propagation), Jena Khadem Khodadad, Kavian Sadeghzadeh Milani, Ghasem Bayat, and Sharon and Jos?© Fiero. There were also speakers for junior youth and many performers, including Andy Grammar.
If you attended, share with us how it was. From what I’ve heard from fellow Baha’is, the Arizona conference is a great place for young Baha’is to meet prospective future partners. I still chuckle recalling the anecdote of a friend who attended the conference a few years ago and was cornered in an elevator by a Persian Baha’i mother (on behalf of her daughter). When she found out he was a medical doctor, he had a hard time getting away from her for the rest of the conference.
So if you did attend, I hope you practiced your Baha’i pick-up lines: “Baby, I just did some Ruhi Book 2 and now I wanna pay you a home visit.” or “Why don’t you make like the Treasurer’s Report at Feast and give me your digits?”. But I’m sure most attendees were able to squeeze in some other activities as well.
The other conference was in Haifa for the Counsellors between December 28th and January 1st 2011. During this conference, “deliberations will be held on the features of the next Five Year Plan”. So we have that to look forward to.
The Universal House of Justice wrote a letter to the conference attendees to provide its guidance. There are many portions that were notable for me from this letter, one of them was this excerpt:
Service on the institutions and agencies of the Faith is indeed a tremendous privilege, but not one that is sought by the individual; it is a duty and responsibility to which he or she may be called at any given time. It is understandable, of course, that all those involved in Bah??â€™? administration would rightly feel they have been invested with a singular honour in forming part, in whatever way, of a structure designed to be a channel through which the spirit of the Cause flows. Yet they should not imagine that such service entitles them to operate on the periphery of the learning process that is everywhere gaining strength, exempt from its inherent requirements. Nor should it be supposed that membership on administrative bodies provides an opportunity to promote oneâ€™s own understanding of what is recorded in the Sacred Text and how the teachings should be applied, steering the community in whatever direction personal preferences dictate.
Universal House of Justice Letter to Conference of Continental Boards of Counsellors (December 2010):