Alternate Activity 1: Engagement - A Baha'i Gathering
Activity time: 90 minutes
Preparation for Activity
- Baha'i Contact Us toll-free: 1-800-22-Unite; or, Contact Baha'i can help you find a Baha'i community. Contact the group and ask to attend a gathering open to the public. Ask what visitors should know before attending the service.
- Inform youth that Baha'i typically are welcoming to newcomers, but personally conservative. Guide youth to dress and behave accordingly.
Description of Activity
Participants attend a Baha'i gathering and discuss the experience.
Meet beforehand to check appropriate dress and review courteous behavior guidelines. Suggest that youth take note of the physical space and what graphic images or iconography are present, what style the facility exhibits, and the accessibility of the service. Encourage them to look for signs of multiculturalism, and notice the emotional tone and style of the worship experience.
After the engagement, process the visit. Ask participants for their immediate responses. What was the experience like for them? Did it seem more or less familiar than other services they have attended? Did they feel more or less comfortable at the Baha'i gathering than at other worship experiences? Why?
- What did you see? Symbols of faith? Books? Decorations?
- Was there an altar? If so, what was on the altar?
- Who participated in worship and in what way? Were genders treated differently?
- Were special garments worn?
- Was there music? What was it like?
- What was the atmosphere? Was it more or less formal than your congregation?
- Were there children present? If so, were accommodations made for them? Were there any youth?
- How were you and the group treated?
- Did you notice indications of intentional welcome to people of diverse backgrounds?
- Were there familiar elements or themes in the sermon? Could it have been delivered from a Unitarian Universalist pulpit? Why or why not?
- The most important themes in many Baha'i services are unity, love, and peace. Were these evident? Were teachings of prophets besides Baha'u'llah incorporated into the talk? What were the most important issues raised in the talk? What did you agree with most strongly?