Several community secretaries have recently received phone calls from an individual (probably not a Bahá’í) who is giving an
account of a tragedy (his wife and baby were killed in a car accident) and asks to meet with someone to talk about his bereavement. At the
meeting he then asks for money to help him deal with his situation. If you receive a call of this nature then the following advice may help
The Council will be monitoring the situation and, if it appears that a pattern is emerging of systematic efforts by one or more individuals to
obtain money from the Bahá’ís, then the police will be informed.
A small group of youth descended on Moffat for a youth weekend on Friday 23rd August to partake in a spiritual awakening and a
reinforcement of values. The weekend kicked off with a devotional with suitable music. This was followed by a session by our Auxiliary Board
Member Rita Docherty on 'Attraction' what it means and what the spiritual implications of it are.
After some birthday celebrations the evening session was held by the intrepid Grant Morley who explored the ‘who are we
anyway' aspects of our existence followed by 'what actually makes our identity'. This session was so well received that it overran its
allocated time by an hour!
Sunday morning and we had another session with Grant on goals and personal development. Then a closing devotional and readings.
A great weekend. Hopefully more will be able to attend the next one, which will be in the February 2003 half term.
A big thank you must go to Rita and Grant for all their relentless help and service.
Reporters: Gavin McNicol and Liam Stephens
The Dedication of Àite Sìthe
On Saturday 16th of November, the Bahá’ís of Skye met for the dedication of the recently-completed ‘place of peace’ situated amid a
beautiful wooded peninsula at the south end of the island. The nine-sided, wooden structure was erected by Mike Smith, formerly of Skye but now
living in Devon, and nestles into a hillside planted with cherry trees known as the ‘peace garden’. The Gaelic name for the building is
‘Àite Sìthe’ and a name plaque, skilfully produced by Graham Parry, has pride of place on the outside. Inside is simplicity itself: on the
wall facing the door there is a nine-pointed star in wood bearing the Greatest Name and adjacent to this a beautifully framed text explaining
the purpose of the building as a place for prayer and meditation. It also states that ‘Àite Sìthe’ is dedicated by the Bahá’ís to the
oneness of humanity, finishing of course with a quotation from Bahá’u’lláh.
The day before the dedication it had been stormy and wild, but on the 16th the weather was fair and calm. By 2.00pm 18 members of the Skye
community had gathered at Rubha Phoil and miraculously managed to squeeze onto the bench seat which runs all the way round the interior.
Devotions began with a resounding rendition of ‘Blessed is the spot’ followed by a mixture of readings and prayers, including a special
prayer of thanks to our twin [triplet? – Ed.] communities of Barnet, and Kensington and Chelsea; to Mike for all his hard work; and to Sandy
(our newest Bahá’í) for giving us the plot on which to build. We finished as we began – with song, and then all lined up outside for the
‘photo shoot.’ As this was happening two buzzards suddenly appeared above the group, circling for a minute or two before flying off. Although
we are left puzzling over the significance of this rare and most unexpected sight we’re sure it must somehow be significant!
The procession then wended its way to the local village hall for a delicious feast and top class entertainment ranging from piano, by way of
cello, to clarsach. Finally, we arranged all the chairs in a big circle with a colourful display of flowers in the middle and the 20 people now
present recited the long healing prayer for Maggie (who was in Intensive Care in Inverness), singing the refrain after each verse. We missed
Chris and Maggie’s presence terribly but many people commented on the power of the prayer and so in the spiritual sense we were all united on
this very special day.
The drive home was in the twilight with an almost full moon shining over the water as we followed the coastline. The landscape was so beautiful,
bathed in the gentle light of the moon, giving everything an air of mystery and magic. A fitting end to a memorable and indeed, momentous occasion
in the history of the Faith on the Isle of Skye.
Reporter: Sathia Varqa
Aberdeen and around
The Robert Gordon University Bahá’í Society
The Robert Gordon University Bahá’í Society kept up with tradition and opened its doors to poverty stricken students for an international
fundraising meal; the event coincided with the first meeting of the society. This year particularly proved to be a success in terms of student
numbers. About 40 students from various departments of the university packed the meeting room queuing to fulfil their temptation from pizza to
onion bahjis. Arrays of ethnic and local cuisine were laid out on the table, courtesy of Aberdeen and nearby Bahá’ís. Total collection,
including donations, was £51.28. A Tranquillity Zone will be the next event sometime in November; the other main event lined up is study
circle. Students continue to find Aberdeen as an attractive place to pursue their university degrees, it must be the grey buildings or perhaps
the weather! This year we have 3 Bahá’í students: from Texas, the Czech Republic and Nottingham respectively. There are ten students in total,
five in each university. To all potential university students, come and touch the land of John Esslemont, visit the annual Aberdeen Summer
School and enjoy the crisp clean air, this will be the move of your life, truly a place to study and enjoy! (Forgive me for the marketing
One World Week
Bahá’ís took part, for the second time, in the One World Week event held in Aberdeen on the 23rd of October. This year we
contributed to the theme of racism, with readings from the Writings relating to racism being read. The event was hosted by the Interfaith
organisation, where Bahá’ís play an active role both in Aberdeen and nationally. The local Assembly of Aberdeen took this opportunity to
present nine Bahá’í publications of various interest to the universities, colleges and public libraries in Aberdeen. The presentations were
kindly received and with thanks. Northern College of Education, particularly appreciated the donation, as it coincided with their introduction
of religion related subjects. Another little success project with a major impact in the long term.
Ruhi Tutor Training Programme – Wet weekend
Three Bahá’ís from Aberdeen packed their bags and headed to Ian and Lorrie’s in nearby Fyvie, Aberdeenshire for a weekend of intensive
training and socialising. Diane, Adam, Karmel and Chehreh (from Shetland, Dundee, Glasgow and Alford respectively) joined us. Rita was our
mentor and the Fozdars our hosts.
Needless to say the training was something of a deep and structured learning process. The two days were full of serious
learning, though with a good bit of time of socialising during which Diane taught us some Shetland dialect, Chehreh displayed her high class
artistic skills, Helen tried to make us say ‘Is there any Remover...’in Irish, and Adam showed off his guitar, playing his own compositions.
Our weekend investment will be put into practice at the Bahá’í society in the university, and in the Alford community, from November onwards.
Not to mention about Lorrie’s food would be like the weekend without cream. An authentic homemade chicken tandoori, soups and pitta bread with
Greek salad are just some of the highlights. It was a weekend well spent in all ways. Thanks to Rita for coming all the way; running the course
and making us all qualify to take part in the FiveYear Plan more meaningfully. The rain never diminished our spirit, although we could see it
pouring on top from inside the house!
Third Area Meeting
The Greater Aberdeen area held its third Area Meeting on 22nd September – the area comprises Aberdeen City and a 25 mile
radius around it. Morag and Sana Donald opened their house to the Bahá’ís. It was unfortunate that the weekend coincided with the 2nd Inter
Institutional Meeting in Inverness; however, the Council liaison Nahid did manage to be present for part of the meeting. At the moment Bahá’ís
in the area are all in Aberdeen city with two families in Westhill and Elrick. Nahid presented feedback fresh from the institutional gathering,
as well as lots of clarification on matters raised at the last meeting. Discussion centred on the three core activities as well as plans to
start those that have not been started in some parts of the Area. A video on the opening of the terraces in Haifa was also part of the
afternoon. As is the custom, lunch was a mandatary, with delicious desserts following – many thanks to Morag and Sana for their hospitality.
The next area meeting will take place on the 7th of January 2003 in Zohra’s home at 2pm.
The John Esslemont school has been a cornerstone of the Bahá’í community in the Northeast and brings the Bahá’ís around the
area together every weekend. This year the School, after several constructive meetings, finally decided on a paradigm shift in the structure of
the school. Instead of pupils and teachers splitting into different classrooms, this year the school management team decided to consolidate the
school into one ‘big’ class. Lessons will include learning a specific skill, or doing something directly to benefit society. The lessons may
be taught by a Bahá’í or others outwith the school. The school is keen to invite people to the school to teach such skills as singing,
dancing, painting, cleaning the riverside, or anything where the children could learn and apply directly to an audience which maybe a caring
home, hospital, school or events like charity, interfaith or even a parties. The first class has already been held; Chehreh taught artwork for
table and tree decoration. Upon completing these classes the children and adults would then be performing their artistic skills in a nursing
home either on the 30th November or 1st December. For more details contact the school director Ian Fozdar.
ABW Glasgow Conference, November 2002
A one-day conference, organised by the Association of Baha’i Women, was held on Saturday 16th November 2002 in Glasgow.
The conference, entitled “Weird Wonderful and Wise” turned out to be not too weird,
definitely wonderful, and full of wise females!
Mandy Hepburn welcomed the participants and, after encouraging talks by Lizbeth
Thomson and Maureen (our new member), we are sure new local Association of Bahá’í
Women branch groups will be springing up all over Scotland!
Everyone who attended enjoyed the friendly and intimate atmosphere, and benefited from sharing the two morning workshops on gender and equality
issues. After lunch a representative from the Association of Muslim Women, Mrs Farkunda Choudry, gave a very interesting talk on being a Muslim
woman in 21st Century Scotland. She was an excellent speaker and seemed very much at ease answering all the questions we posed. She also
expressed her interest in future interfaith activities. The conference closed on a light note as inspiring, comical and thought -provoking
stories were enthusiastically read by Carrie Varjavandi, Sonya Habibi-Sier and Maureen Sier.
The Falkirk branch of the Association is holding a one day workshop, run by Carrie Varjavandi, on banner making, to be held in Mrs Farzin’s
home on Saturday 14th December – please contact Carrie direct if you would like to attend.
Plans are in the offing for a residential meeting in the spring to enable us to balance the time spent in study with sharing time together as
friends. For those of you who could not manage to come to the conference, it was so good to hear from you and we hope you can come to future
events. We would like to extend an invite to all our women in Scotland to ‘Watch this space’.
"The Scottish Baha'i" is the newsletter of the Baha'i Council for
Scotland, ©National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United Kingdom 2002.
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