Sacred Moments: The Knowledge of God

Knowledge of God

Devotional Gathering At Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning

Sunday 3rd  July – 11:00 am

Corner of Princes Highway and Bellambi Lane, Russell Vale

‘Abdu’l-Bahá refers to the knowledge of God as “the cause of everlasting life, eternal honour, universal enlightenment, real salvation and prosperity”. This is the knowledge “that is beyond all knowledge, and it is the greatest glory of the human world. For in the existing knowledge of the reality of things there is material advantage, and through it outward civilization progresses; but the knowledge of God is the cause of spiritual progress and attraction, and through it the perception of truth, the exaltation of humanity, divine civilization, rightness of morals and illumination are obtained.”

The  Sacred Moments on 3rd of July will provide an opportunity to reflect on the knowledge of God. You are warmly invited to attend and experience new dimensions of sacredness. In Sacred Moments, Bahá’ís, and their friends and families unite with one another in prayer. There are no rituals; no one individual has any special role.

Forum: Raising Children With Virtues

children with virtues

Ann Hinton will exlopre how qualities inherent in children can be cultivated twoards bringing about their true happiness in a forum  which will be held on Sunday 19 June, 4:00 pm at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning, Corner of Princes Highway and Bellambi Lane, Russell Vale.  All Welcome

This forum aims to consider the virtues or character qualities inherent in all human beings and explore effective ways that parents can nourish the essentially spiritual attributes that lead to authentic happiness.

Inspiration wIll be offered through selected Baha’i Writings on education and the program will also draw on the experience and insights of participants by addressing questions such as ‘How can we raise our children to enable humanity to foster a more just and peaceful society?’ann hinton

The forum will be presented by Mrs Ann Hinton, a retired school teacher who has lived in Wollongong for the past five years. Ann spent significant years of her childhood and youth in the UK and the Middle East. Her early professional career began in theatre as a dancer, having completed her education at the Royal Ballet School.

Sacred Moments: True Happiness

happinessDevotional Gathering At Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning

Sunday 5th June – 11:00 am

Corner of Princess Highway and Bellambi Lane, Russell Vale

 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá identifies two kinds of happiness, physical and spiritual. He explains that the “physical happiness is limited; its utmost duration is one day, one month, one year. It hath no result.” On the other hand, “spiritual happiness is eternal and unfathomable. This kind of happiness appeareth in one’s soul with the love of God and suffereth one to attain to the virtues and perfections of the world of humanity.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá also highlights that “true happiness depends on spiritual good and having the heart ever open to receive the Divine Bounty.”

The  Sacred Moments on 5th of June will provide an opportunity to reflect on the nature of true happiness. You are warmly invited to attend and experience new dimensions of sacredness. In Sacred Moments, Bahá’ís, and their friends and families unite with one another in prayer. There are no rituals; no one individual has any special role.

Wollongong Community Elects Local Governing Council

electionEach year, during the first day of the Bahá’í Festival of Ridvan, members of every locality where Bahá’ís live gather together and elect the Local Spiritual Assembly, a nine-member council responsible for guiding, coordinating and stimulating the Bahá’ís in their jurisdiction. This year the election took place on 20th of April.

Bahá’í elections are distinct for their lack of nomination and campaigning. The entire process is free of electioneering, nomination or canvassing. Electors vote by secret ballot for the nine people they believe best suited for membership on the local governing council according to their conscience in a spirit of prayer, giving consideration to moral character and practical ability.

This year, the elected members of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Greater Wollongong are

  • Mrs Allison Atkinson
  • Mrs Linda Caroll
  • Dr Mahnaz Fanaian
  • Mr Bahram Hashemi
  • Dr Kishan Kariippanon
  • Mr Ho San Leong
  • Dr Golshah Naghdy
  • Dr Fazel Naghdy
  • Mr Masoud Rowshan

 

Sacred Moments: The Divine Springtime

springDevotional Gathering At Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning

Sunday 1st May – 11:00 am

Corner of Princess Highway and Bellambi Lane, Russell Vale

According to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the season in which a Manifestation of God appears is the divine springtime. He explains: “When Christ appeared in this world, it was like the vernal bounty; the outpouring descended; the effulgences of the Merciful encircled all things; the human world found new life. Even the physical world partook of it. The divine perfections were upraised; souls were trained in the school of heaven so that all grades of human existence received life and light.” Similarly, in this age, “Bahá’u’lláh has come into this world. He has renewed that springtime. The same fragrances are wafting; the same heat of the Sun is giving life; the same cloud is pouring its rain, and with our own eyes we see that the world of existence is advancing and progressing. The human world has found new life.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

The  Sacred Moments on 1st of May will provide an opportunity to reflect on the divine springtime. You are warmly invited to attend and experience new dimensions of sacredness. In Sacred Moments, Bahá’ís, and their friends and families unite with one another in prayer. There are no rituals; no one individual has any special role.

Every meeting consists largely of reading prayers and passages from Bahá’í sacred texts, and often uplifting music, in an informal yet respectful atmosphere. A spirit of communal worship is generated by these simple gatherings, and this spirit permeates the community’s collective endeavours.

The Dynamic of Collective Action: One Community’s Extraordinary Story of Reconstruction in the Wake of Devastation

Tana Baha'i community

One year after Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu, the island of Tanna has made remarkable strides towards recovery, with youth at the heart of the process. What can we learn from this story? What enabled this community to be so self-determining in a time of such extreme difficulty?  Phillip Hinton will discuss such questions and present a film documenting Tanna community’s response to this catastrophe, on Saturday 2nd April, 7:30 pm at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning, Corner of Princes Highway and Bellambi Lane, Russell Vale.  All Welcome.

Over the past decade, Bahá’ís and their fellow islanders have been working to strengthen the fabric of community life there. In villages throughout the island, collective worship has become part of the regular pattern of life. Bahá’ís have witnessed a rise in social harmony and cooperation between different groups. Barriers that previously divided people have gradually fallen away. And urged on by the support of village chiefs, young people of the community have, in recent years, found the means to contribute to the betterment of their society through a variety of practical projects.

Director of the Vanuatu Immigration Service Henry Tamashiro … has been following developments on Tanna very closely and has been struck by the response of the population there, during and after the storm.

Describing the community’s priorities in the immediate aftermath of the storm, he explains, “They tried to re-conceptualize the meaning of ‘relief phase’ and ‘reconstruction phase’ in light of what they had been learning about community-building.

They concluded that the response to the cyclone could not just be about building structures. The most important thing to the community was to make sure the education of the children and youth would continue.”

Reflecting on the reconstruction process in Namasmetene village, Mrs. Naiu says, “These projects encouraged community members to arise and take charge of the reconstruction process rather than waiting for an aid agency. We knew we should not depend on aid donors, but should take charge of our own development”(Source: Bahá’í World News Service)

The presenter, PHILLIP HINTON was born in Britain in 1942. When he was four his family moved to Phillip HintonCape Town, South Africa, where he became a Bahá’í in 1961, and where he began his acting career. In 1963 he moved to London to attend the first Bahá’í World Congress, and worked for the next 12 years on TV and with some of Britain’s leading theatre companies, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Chichester Festival and The Bristol Old Vic Theatre as well as appearing in several musicals in London’s West End.

Phillip came to Australia in 1975 to continue his acting career. He has also been one of Sydney’s leading ‘voice artists’. For the ABC, Phillip read Bahá’í prayers in the series, ‘Meditation’ and was a guest of Caroline Jones on ‘The Search for Meaning’, in which he traced his spiritual search through writings and poems.

In 1992 at the Second Bahá’í World Congress in New York, Phillip took part in the drama, Heralds of the Covenant. His one-man play, ‘Portals to Freedom’, has toured the world, including a performance at the Seat of the Universal House of Justice in Haifa. In 2002 it was part of the first Bahá’í International Arts Conference and Performing Arts Festival in New York.

Sacred Moments: Human Station

human silheute

Devotional Gathering At Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning

Sunday 3rd of April – 11:00 am

Corner of Princess Highway and Bellambi Lane, Russell Vale

The human reality is endowed with innate excellence, and the potentialities inherent in human station are great. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains: “The station of man is great, very great. God has created man after His own image and likeness. He has endowed him with a mighty power which is capable of discovering the mysteries of phenomena. Through its use man is able to arrive at ideal conclusions instead of being restricted to the mere plane of sense impressions. As he possesses sense endowment in common with the animals, it is evident that he is distinguished above them by his conscious power of penetrating abstract realities. He acquires divine wisdom; he searches out the mysteries of creation; he witnesses the radiance of omnipotence; he attains the second birth—that is to say, he is born out of the material world just as he is born of the mother; he attains to everlasting life; he draws nearer to God; his heart is replete with the love of God. This is the foundation of the world of humanity; this is the image and likeness of God; this is the reality of man; otherwise, he is an animal.

The focus of the Sacred Moments on 3rd of April will be on human station. You are warmly invited to attend and experience new dimensions of sacredness. In Sacred Moments, Bahá’ís, and their friends and families unite with one another in prayer. There are no rituals; no one individual has any special role.

Every meeting consists largely of reading prayers and passages from Bahá’í sacred texts, and often uplifting music, in an informal yet respectful atmosphere. A spirit of communal worship is generated by these simple gatherings, and this spirit permeates the community’s collective endeavours.

Sacred Moments: Thirst For Spirituality

Thirst for spirituality-small

Devotional Gathering At Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning

Sunday 6th of March, 11:00 am

Corner of Princess Highway and Bellambi Lane, Russell Vale

In the journey towards spiritual growth , ‘Abdu’l-Bahá mentions that “The first thing to do is to acquire a thirst for Spirituality, then Live the Life! Live the Life! Live the Life! The way to acquire this thirst is to meditate upon the future life. Study the Holy Words, read your Bible, read the Holy Books, especially study the Holy Utterances of Bahá’u’lláh; Prayer and Meditation, take much time for these two. Then will you know this Great Thirst, and then only can you begin to Live the Life!

The focus of the Sacred Moments on 6th of March will be on how we can acquire thirst for spirituality, which as mentioned by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is the pre-requisite to living a life of inner peace, purpose and meaning. You are warmly invited to attend and experience new dimensions of sacredness.

In Sacred Moments, Bahá’ís, and their friends and families unite with one another in prayer. There are no rituals; no one individual has any special role.

Every meeting consists largely of reading prayers and passages from Bahá’í sacred texts, and often uplifting music, in an informal yet respectful atmosphere. A spirit of communal worship is generated by these simple gatherings, and this spirit permeates the community’s collective endeavours.

20th Century Parents Raising 21st Century Children

Laura Hedayati

Clinical Psychologist, Dr Laura Hedayati will speak on the above topic at a  Forum on Saturday 13 February, 7:30 pm at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning, Corner of Princess Highway and Bellambi Lane, Russell Vale, NSW 2517

Our world has never changed so fast. For the first time in history we look to our children for knowledge in some areas, particularly in the area of technology – they are the experts and we are the novices.  If we want to work our smart phone we ask our children, if our computer stops working we ask our children, navigating our home entertainment system, buying a movie off bigpond, even accessing knowledge off the internet are likely to be areas that children and young people are more skilled at than parents.  Our children are very techno savvy, they are great observers and have access to almost unlimited knowledge, however, they still lack the experience and wisdom to necessarily discern the value and worth of what they are exposed to.   Information is instantaneous, abundant, unfiltered.  Children and young people are vulnerable to being deliberately targeted to, having their beliefs and behaviours shaped and manipulated by others’ agendas be it commercial or attitudinal.  In this workshop some of the societal influences (technology, marketing, media and materialism, peer pressure, etc) that impact on young people and shape their attitudes and behaviour with be discussed.

This Forum will look at how we can prepare our children to navigate these influences, to be able to discern what is healthy and helpful and what is unhealthy and unhelpful.  We need to remember that we are raising children and adolescents to be adults, to consider the qualities of the human spirit we want our children to have, the content of their character.  To be loving, to be considerate, respectful, to have compassion, be trustworthy, have integrity.  These spiritual qualities are all within our children in potential, we need to help them to know that they have these qualities, that they can choose them and use them, they can be resilient.

Dr Laura Hedayati is a Clinical Psychologist specialising in Child, Adolescent and Family mental health.  She works in a private practice in Nowra and has provided clinical psychology services to children, young people and their families for over 20 years.    She has a diploma in Clinical Psychology and completed her Doctorate in emotional and behavioural disorders in pre-schoolers.  Dr Hedayati has had extensive experience in child, adolescent and family mental health, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, pervasive developmental disorders and behavioural management difficulties.  She has run stress management groups for girls who self harm, and groups for parents of challenging children (ADHD and ODD).  Dr Hedayati has also delivered talks to registrars, teachers, mental health professionals and parents on depression, anxiety, self harm and parenting.

All are welcome to attend the forum.

Active Wear for the Soul

Katharina and Kishan with their chidlren, Jamilah and Rafael

From Left Kishan and Katharina  with their children, Jamilah and Rafael

There is demand for a multi-billion dollar fitness industry by a society increasingly obsessed with outward appearance.

But how do we clothe our soul? What spiritual attributes is humanity really hungry for?

Recent world events poignantly illustrate the social decay of our times.

Now more than ever the world needs citizens who live by the words spoken by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Paris in 1911:

… let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path

Kishan and Katharina will be leading a dialogue on these issues in a gathering that will be held at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning, corner of Bellambi Lane and Princess Highway, on Friday 27 November 7:30 pm.  This will be a discussion and reflection on how the same energy that goes into preserving our physical health can be ignited in building a kinder society. The gathering is open to the public and all are welcome.

With a PhD in anthropology and a combined background in medicine and international public health and development, Kishan and Katharina Kariippanon have diverse experience working with communities in a wide range of settings including Russia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Indigenous Australia, addressing individual and social health and wellbeing. They have recently moved to Wollongong with their two young children and are members of the Baha’i community.