Baha'i News -- Native Topekan comes home for renewal

Native Topekan comes home for renewal

By Phil Anderson
The Capital-Journal

The Rev. Phil Reed, a native Topekan, will lead a parish mission titled "Something Old, Someone New: A Catechumenate for Cradle Catholics" at 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 3601 S.W. 17th.

Reed will discuss the following topics during his presentation: Sunday --- "Prayer that Transfigures"; Monday --- "Leading Us Through Temptation (Jesus in the Desert)"; Tuesday --- "Getting Our Thirst Quenched (Jesus at the Well); Wednesday ---"Reconciliation: Spiritual Visine"; Thursday --- "Celebration of Renewed Life (Sharing Eucharist and Ourselves)."

Reed also will lead discussions at 9 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday in the church's Formation Room. Discussion topics will be: Tuesday -- - "Fasting as a Practice"; Wednesday --- "Islam and Us"; Thursday --- "Our Money and Our Values."

A new edition of a book written by a Topeka author has been released just in time for one of the Baha'i faith's major annual observances.

The 168-page book, titled "Fasting: A Baha'i Perspective" , was penned by Duane Herrmann.

Earlier this week, Herrmann said the Baha'i Fast of Loftiness shares similarities with both Islam's Ramadan and Christianity's Lent.

The Baha'i fast, which this year is observed March 2 to 21, during the month of Loftiness, is a 19-day period in which no food or drink is consumed during daylight. It is a time of reflection and renewal in preparation for the new year, which begins on the first day of spring.

Said Herrmann: "'Loftiness' is an appropriate name, since during the fast we are to raise our thoughts above the mundane things of this world ---such as food."

In his book, released by the Oxford, England-based George Ronald publishing company, Herrmann brings together all the references to the fast in Baha'i scriptures, and also draws from many commentaries on the subject. Additionally, prayers about the fast and for detachment and spiritual development are included.

Recently, additional selections and prayers about the fast were translated and released by the Baha'i World Center in Haifa, Israel, where the texts are collected. This provided the opportunity for Herrmann to expand the original book to maintain its comprehensiveness.

The revised edition is about a third larger than the 121-page original, which was published in 1990, and was born out of experiences within the Topeka Baha'i community.

"The purpose of the fast is detachment," Herrmann noted. "The abstaining from food is a secondary consideration.

"One year, very few members of the Topeka Baha'i community could observe the fast, as there are many exemptions, and some of the older ones felt deprived that they had passed the age limit for fasting.

"In response, I gave a class on the over-riding importance of detachment, regardless of eating or not. That developed into the book, so it grows out of direct experience in Topeka. The book is sold to English-speaking Baha'i communities all over the world."

"Wine and Dine for Camp Rainbow" is the theme for the second annual fund-raising dinner to be held at 7:30 p.m. today in the social hall of Temple Beth Sholom, 4200 S.W. Munson.

The event, sponsored by the Temple's 15-member high-school youth group, raises funds for Camp Rainbow, a one-week sleep-over camp for children ages 6 to 13 who have cancer, leukemia or blood disorders.

The camp, which takes place in Babler State Park in St. Louis, is offered at no cost to attendees and their families. Therefore, funding must be provided to support Camp Rainbow.

Each camper age 6 to 11 has his or her own counselor. Meanwhile, the 12- and 13-year-olds have one counselor for every two or three campers.

"The purpose of the camp is to have fun with kids who might have been forced to grow up too fast or miss part of childhood due to illness," said Beth Kossoy, the adviser of the Temple youth group. "It provides a safe, secure, understanding environment where it's OK to go swimming, have fun, sing, dance and just be a kid."

The dinner was first organized last year by Rachael Greene, who was the youth group president and who had served as a Camp Rainbow counselor. The two youth group co-presidents this year, Adam Karol and Allie Kossoy, wanted to continue the tradition.

Last year's event generated approximately $2,000 for Camp Rainbow, and it is expected that at least that amount will be raised this year.

For more information, call Temple Beth Sholom at 272-6040.

The 41st annual Kansas Prayer Breakfast will be held at 6:45 a.m. Friday at the Ramada Inn Downtown, 420 S.E. 6th. Martha Williamson, executive producer of the CBS-TV series "Touched by an Angel," will be the speaker. Tickets are $13 and are available by calling 267- 0285.

Countryside United Methodist Church, 3221 S.W. Burlingame Road, will present a "Lenten Labyrinth Walk" from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 2 in the church chapel.

A replica of the Chartres Labyrinth will be available for meditation and walking.

The Labyrinth is an ancient tool for prayer and meditation, and is found on the floors and cloisters of many ancient cathedrals.

Several presentations on the labyrinth and a time for gathered prayer and journaling will be included in the event.

For more information, call 266-7541.

See SCENE, page 4E

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