Baha'i News -- Newsletter of the Bahá'í Council for Northern Ireland

CommuNIqué - Newsletter of the Bahá'í Community in Northern Ireland

Issue 85 - 13 Asmá 160 BE - 1 September 2003 CE




Dear Bahá'í Friends,


The Five Year Plan talks of our increased capacity to share the joy of our Faith with others through teaching. Part of this increased capacity comes from the quality of our community life. If we allow it, Art can act as a catalyst to transform who we are as a community, to help us create a culture of creativity, an environment of joy and happiness. Art, when properly channelled can become a vehicle for the expression of our soul, helping us realise our real potential. If we, young and old alike, throw ourselves into this challenge to bring Art into our Feasts, our devotionals, our children’s classes, our reflection meetings, our study circles and our teaching it has the ability to increase our ability to live and share the Faith.

As we experience the development of the arts in community life we call to mind the words of the Guardian: “That day will the Cause spread like wildfire when its spirit and teachings are presented on the stage or in art and literature”. (Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi in a letter addressed to Mrs Weir, May 1933.)

For this reason the Bahá'í Council for Northern Ireland invites the whole community to participate in a programme for enhancing the use of the arts, mainly organised by our Committee for the Promotion of the Arts:

The first event organised is an Arts Workshop to be held on Saturday 20th September 2003. All communities are being invited to send at least two representatives to this workshop/meeting. We would encourage as many as possible to attend.

The second event, “Changing Zones” is set for 12th October. It is a regional event, intended to be similar to the annual National Bahá'í Festival but smaller. Put this day in your diary and invite your friends to join us for a day of enjoyment.

The third event will be in the New Year in January or February. There will be more details later.

In the Five Year Plan booklet of the Bahá'í Council for Northern Ireland, we have asked our Local Spiritual Assemblies to take on the challenge of promoting the use of the arts in the community. We call on all our Assemblies to rise to this challenge by encouraging support for these events.

With warmest Bahá'í greetings,


 Northern Ireland Bahá'í Summer School 2003

Six wonderful days – even the weather was with us, lovely venue, great food and a happy atmosphere. The Northern Ireland Summer School at Craigavad 14-20 July was a joy in every way, with Baha’is not just from all over Ireland but from many places including the Arctic Circle, Texas, South Africa and Uganda. Over a hundred were present either resident or day visitors. Our speakers included three National Spiritual Assembly members (two - Shirin Tahzib and Iain Palin - from the UK and one - Brendan MacNamara - from Eire, our two Auxiliary Board Members Anne O’Sullivan and Denis Coyle, and our own dear Lesley Taherzadeh from the Holy Land.

Young Baha’is were involved in various capacities, as speakers, leading entertainment, taking children’s classes and the arrangement and presentation of our soul-inspiring devotionals each morning.

We had talks on Baha’u’llah and the Summons of the Lord of Hosts, various Hands of the Cause, the Century of Light and the World Order Letters of Shoghi Effendi. Betty Reed, Claire Greenberg, and Jeanette Hedayati regaled us with memories of work at the National Office in the mid-1960s, when Betty was NSA Secretary and Claire and Jeanette her entire staff, and who will ever forget the workshops round that puppet show (those that don’t understand check Ruhi Book 4!). Other more light-hearted sessions included African Singing, Tai Chi, a drum workshop and a variety of sketches from Baha’i history.

At the entertainment later in the week we discovered a wide range of talent within the community and enjoyed an unexpected treat in the voice of Wes Baker from Uganda. Wes, whose decision to come to our Summer School had been last-minute, is a member of the “Voices of Bahá” choir and having heard him perform we could understand why.



 Shirin Tahzib  Pat Irvine Wes Baker


  • Dr Shirin Tahzib, Chair of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom
  • Pat Irvine beats the drum for the Bahá'í Council
  • Wes Baker in fine voice
  • Break time - and proof that the sun sometimes shines in Northern Ireland!
  • Keith Munro, Chair of the School, welcomes Wes
  • The three ladies on whom the work of the NSA fell during the 1960s, Betty Reed (former NSA Secretary, later Counsellor) centre with Claire (left) and Jeanette

  The three special ladies Wes and Keith




The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Castlereagh is very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Orang Agahi as the new Director of the George Townshend Baha'i School. This period of service is for three years. The Assembly would like to express its deepest appreciation and gratitude for everything that Arjang Agahi,as the outgoing Director, and his wife Edwina have done to aid the undoubted progress the school has made and to extend to them all in their future service to the Faith.


In Londonderry the Verbal Arts Centre asked for a Bahá'í artistic presentation in connection with the Maiden City Festival. This took place on 5th August, with a drama performance, prayers stories and poems, and an audio-visual presentation, all ably co-ordinated by Sarah Munro who planned the programme.

Also in the Maiden City Lawrence McMinn and Michelle O’Mahony represented the community at a meeting with the new Mayor of Derry in the city’s historic Guildhall on 23rd July. They presented him with Bahá'í literature and had a friendly discussion about the community and its aims and activities. The mayoralty usually changes annually in Derry and the Assembly always seeks such a meeting with the new mayor.


The sojourn in Northern Ireland by Wes Baker, from Uganda, also generated activity and publicity. After Summer School he visited several communities. In Omagh Wes, a member of the celebrated and much-travelled “Voices of Bahá” choir, was able to meet with members of the Derg Valley Choir and share singing with them and friends—a Choir member described it was a “wonderful event” and “a beautiful musical and spiritual evening”. He was also the subject of local radio and newspaper interviews. In Magherafelt he was able to give what the press called an “impromptu concert” and was, once again, the subject of good local publicity.



And also in Magherafelt there were scenes of emotion and fond farewell at the going-away party for eighteen years old Andalib Gornall, who has now left for a Year of Service in South Africa.

Everyone’s prayers and best wishes go with him.

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