|The Scottish Bahá’í, No.44 – Summer, 2006||scottish community news|
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Scottish Gathering, Inverness
One has become accustomed to a high standard of both content and presentation at the Scottish Gatherings over the last few years, helped considerably by the attractive venue in Inverness, and this year was no exception. Don’t take my word for it, look at the
After the initial devotional session, we were welcomed to the Gathering, on behalf of the Council, by Allan Forsyth. Kishan Manocha brought greetings from the National Assembly and was followed by beautiful a capella singing by Mo and Sarah.
The principal speaker at the Gathering was retired House member, Ian Semple, who is himself Scottish in origin. Mr Semple spoke eloquently and clearly on several
John Parris spoke about the process involved in the purchasing of the new Bahá’í Centre in Edinburgh, explaining how it progressed through a fascinating series of crises and victories. He also mentioned how the money given by the Bahá’í community hardly impacted at all on donations to the National Fund – something which has never happened before.
Another matter of national importance was covered by Carrie Varjavandi who spoke about her ‘Time for Reflection’ experiences in the Scottish Parliament (see the spring 2006 edition of The Scottish Bahá’í). Those present were also able to see the official video recording of the event.
Saturday afternoon saw us breaking into groups (the Highlands and Islands being by far the largest!) for two workshops on the last and current Five Year Plans. Questions, some challenging, were presented by a facilitator.
On Sunday morning, following a memorial for those Scottish Bahá’ís who passed on during the last year, Neysun Carew presented a beautifully compiled history of the life of Bahá’u’lláh.
The final session looked at the problems and successes of Scotland’s own ‘A’ cluster – Forth and Clyde.
Of course, no Gathering is complete without its entertainments. This year was no exception and on Saturday evening we were regaled with music from Jodi Cooper, Mo Hunter and Sarah St. Clair, Nassim and Ross Donald, and Jeremy and Carolyn Fox. We were able to enjoy Carrie Varjavandi’s convincing portrayal of Mrs Whyte telling of her encounters with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mona Helmy kept us all on the edge of our seats as she related the story
An aspect of the Gathering that is something of a closed book to many adults is the work being done, outwith the
So, what made this Gathering (in my opinion) the best yet? Certainly the very high quality of the sessions and the drastic shortening of each session from 40 to 20 minutes helped maintain a constant feeling of freshness; I imagine very few people nodded off during any of the sessions! Finally, Naysun Carew, as master of ceremonies, must be congratulated
So, I would say that, if you can, do come next year; it will be an experience not to be missed.
”In one of the youth sessions someone shared their experience of travelling that day to Inverness. On the bus was a woman they vaguely knew from home. This person immediately fired question after question about religion and her faith and was truly seeking answers. The youth telling this story shared with the group the fact that she felt that she was not really able to respond in a way she would have liked. In the junior youth class we also spoke about this in terms of memorising quotations and carrying prayer-cards with you to share with others. I felt that I was usually prepared, as I carry books with me for this kind of encounter. Straight after the junior youth session, we had a tea break and, during that time, a guest in the hotel approached and asked why we were there. I explained that we were friends and were members of the Bahá’í Faith. He told me he wanted to know more – very simply and very directly. I had no books on me – I was not prepared! So leaving him with someone to talk with, I dashed into the hall and grabbed a copy of the little book by Gloria Faizi. This man accepted it gratefully, kissed my hand to thank me – and it turns out he lives on the west coast near to me. I hope one day he will look in the telephone directory and under ‘Bahá’í Faith’ get my number. That would be one home visit to really anticipate.„
|A few more photos|