The Lamp, volume 2 Number 1

The Lamp

A Newsletter Produced by the Wilmette Institute

Volume 2, Number 1, June 1997


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New Classroom and Food Arrangements for Summer Residential Session

The Wilmette Institute has found a much nicer classroom than was available at National-Louis University last year. It is located at the First Unitarian Church of Evanston, 2 miles down the street from National-Louis University. The classroom features a beautiful, meditative painting, has a view of trees and flowers, contains a kitchenette, is air conditioned, is handicapped accessible, and comes with free parking. The Institute is renting the room Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Vans will be used to transport students back and forth from the dormitory to the classroom. Classes on weekends will be held at the Bahá'í National Center office building, 1233 Central St. in Evanston.

Dormitory accommodation will be in Baker Hall, like last year, and will cost $20 per night per person (payable to the Wilmette Institute, which will pay National-Louis University). Because we are not using the university's classrooms, we do not have to use the National-Louis University's cafeteria. Hence the Wilmette Institute will not offer a meal plan to the students. Some will probably want to use the cafeteria on a pay-by-meal basis. However, there is a cafeteria at the Evanston Hospital less than half a mile away that generally is cheaper and of higher quality. The vans that transport the students to class will also be available to take students to the hospital cafeteria or local restaurants or grocery stores. The Institute will also coordinate group meals several times per week.

These logistical changes have been made necessary and possible because National-Louis University's classroom space was unavailable this year because of heavy use by their own students. As a result, the Wilmette Institute had to look farther afield for classroom space, and found a very suitable replacement.


Getting Credit

Despite the change in classroom location, National-Louis University will grant credit to our course on individual development and the creation of strong marriages and families. However, they must be assured of a certain minimum enrollment. Therefore those students who would like credit should inform Lisa Young immediately. Additional information will be mailed to you as soon as it becomes available.

    Inside:                    Page
    Residential Session Schedule             2
    How Much Do I Pay?                       2
    Do You Need Financial Assistance?        4
    Have You Received the Homework?          3
    Orlando Nunez Memorial Fund              7
    Getting to the Dorm                      3
    Elective Course                          4
    Introducing Dr. Peter Oldziey            5
    Introducing Dr. Heshmat Moayyad          4
    Student Survey Results                 6-7
    News Notes                               5
    Student and Faculty Poetry            9-10

Residential Session Schedule

Attached to this issue of The Lamp is a detailed breakdown of the summer schedule. Please note these important details:


* The program begins with an orientation and welcoming dinner on Saturday, July 19, at 5 p.m. Please plan to arrive Saturday morning or, at the latest, Saturday afternoon.


* The program closes with a Candlelight Dinner on Friday evening, August 8, 6-10 p.m. Dr. David Ruhe will again be the guest of honor and the valedictory speaker. Please do not plan to leave before Saturday morning, August 9. In addition, consider staying for the following:


* The 'Irfán Colloquium on "The World Religions and the Bahá'í Faith" will start Saturday morning, August 9, at 9 a.m., and end Sunday afternoon, August 10, at 2 p.m. It will feature various speakers, including some of your fellow students. Registration: $30, with an additional $30 for meals.


* The elective course on "The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh During the Baghdad Period" will start Sunday evening, August 10, at 7 p.m., and end Friday, August 15, at noon. Tuition: $150 (includes materials and a home study phase, August 15-September 30).

We hope you can stay for all four weeks!


How Much Do I Pay?

By now you should have already paid a $300 deposit, half toward the dormitory fees, and half toward tuition. When you come to Wilmette, you will need to pay another $250 of tuition, and the rest of the dorm fees, which is $270 if you are only staying for the basic Spiritual Foundations program (21 days.) You should also bring at least $15 per day for food, which is $315 for the basic Spiritual Foundations program. This is a total of $835 that you will need for the basic summer session. Other costs to anticipate are textbook purchases (around $50,) general bookstore expenditures (Wilmette Institute students get a discount at the House of Worship bookstore), buying souvenirs, and of course buying a Wilmette Institute T-shirt!

The Wilmette Institute must be paid quickly, as we have to pay the bills for the summer session.

To compute how much you will need to pay in dorm and food costs if you are staying for the Irfán Colloquium and the Elective Course week, you should calculate $20 per night for the dormitory, and at least $15 per day for food.

The remaining half of the tuition ($400) is due in September.


Getting to National-Louis University

Students must be at National-Louis University by 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 19, 1997, so that they will be able to participate in the welcoming dinner and orientation. Therefore we recommend that students arrive Saturday morning or early afternoon, or if necessary, Friday night.

The Wilmette Institute will provide transportation from O'Hare International Airport to National-Louis University on Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon. To do this we MUST know who needs transportation and who arrives when, so that we can schedule someone to meet you. Please contact Lisa Young, and she will provide you with further information.

When you arrive, the number to call will be 847-337-7750, the cellular telephone of the person coordinating transportation.

If you plan to arrive at times other than Friday, July 18, or Saturday, July 19, you will have to arrange for your own transportation from the airport. After you pick up your luggage, call American Taxi at 1-800-244-1177. Tell them your name and tell them you want the "corporate rate" for the Bahá'í National Center offices. They will give you a cab number. This way you will get a flat rate to Evanston which should cost about $21, with no extra toll charges, and no charge for extra passengers. If you hail a taxi that runs a meter, it will cost $40-$50.

The address for the dorm of National-Louis is Baker Residence Hall, 2808 Sheridan Road,
Evanston, IL 60201.

Alternately, anyone who is patient and familiar with the Chicago subway system can get to National-Louis for $1.50. Call Lisa Young if you have any questions.


Have You Received the Homework Yet?

Those students who have already registered and paid for the 1997-98 Spiritual Foundations program have received the home study assignments for May, June, and early July. These are mostly preparatory reading, so that when you arrive here you will know what the teachers are talking about. We are counting on you to do this work, so that everyone is ready for the classes. There is one writing assignment--a five page paper--that must be done before you arrive, because the writing workshop (the first week of class!) will be partly based on it.

The homework assignments include a study guide to A Short Introduction to the Bahá'í Faith (first-year students only,) a history assignment, a scripture assignment, and an assignment list for Module B, study of the Individual and the Family.

Some people have commented that the homework assignment seems overwhelming. Don't worry; you are not alone. Do your best. If one assignment seems hard to do, try another one and go back to the earlier assignment later. Be creative. When in doubt, call a fellow student or Lisa Young (who is also struggling to do the assignments) or Robert Stockman.

Elective Course on the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh
Baghdad Period

Plans for the elective course are now complete. Among the faculty will be Moeen Afnani, Iraj Ayman, Moojan Khadem, Habib Riazati, and Robert Stockman. After examining a cost analysis, the Wilmette Institute Board has decided to lower the tuition charge to $150 (from the previously announced $200). This should encourage more students to attend. Charges for room and board remain unchanged, at $20 per night and approximately $15 per day for food.


Do You Need Financial Assistance?

Some financial aid is still available; call Lisa Young for details. The Wilmette Institute also has drafted a letter it can give you to take to your local spiritual assembly or other local funding source. The letter explains the Wilmette Institute, the Spiritual Foundations program, and introduces you as a student of the program in need of assistance. If you need a copy of the letter, call Lisa Young.
Results of 1996-97 Academic Year

To date, 16 students have completed their final examination an returned it to the Institute for grading. The results were as follows:
A		1
A-		4
B+		5
B		2
B-		0
PASS		4

The Institute is still grading exams as they arrive, so students are urged to complete the exam when they can.

Do I Need a Car?

Some students have been asking if they will need cars at the residential session. Cars are certainly not required or necessary for the program. Most distances can be walked, and there will be vans for getting to places that are far away. However, it is not a bad thing to have a car here. It allows greater freedom. Especially now that the classroom is in a different facility, students may appreciate having a car. Also, if some students particularly dislike walking or are physically incapable of walking long distances, a car might be useful.


Introducing Dr. Heshmat Moayyad

Dr. Heshmat Moayyad will deliver the classes on the life and writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He comes from a distinguished Persian Bahá'í family. Dr. Moayyad received his doctorate in Persian literature from the University of Frankfurt. He has taught Persian literature at Harvard University, the University of Naples, the University of Frankfurt, and, since 1966, at the University of Chicago. He is the author, translator, or editor of several works on modern Persian literature in English. His talks are moving and should be a treasure for all.

Introducing Dr. Peter Oldziey


During the 1997 summer session Dr. Peter Oldziey will be conducting the workshop on teaching the Faith. Dr. Oldziey (pronounced ol-jay) has been heavily involved in the teaching work since his declaration in 1972. He helped coordinate and participated in a long-distance teaching project, when Amherst, Massachusetts, Bahá'ís opened the small town of Hoosick Falls, New York., some hundred miles away, in 1978. He subsequently wrote up a case study of the effort, which involved shopping in the town, getting one's hair cut there, doing volunteer work, enjoying the town's parks, and gradually getting to know residents. He has also been very active hosting firesides and coordinating the area Youth Workshop, which has been largely responsible for a significant influx of new believers in the Dover, Deleware, area.

Dr. Oldziey wrote and helped publish The Garden of Bahá'u'lláh: Visual Lessons for Study of the Bahá'í Faith (New Delhi: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1988). It was based on theories he developed in his doctoral thesis on development of educational materials that symbolize spiritual concepts in a way that permits dialogue with a nonliterate population. He has his Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He also coauthored, with his wife, Pepper, the new booklet entitled Electing Baha'i Assemblies, published earlier this year by the Office of Assembly Development.

Peter Oldziey is a financial planner by profession. His wife, Pepper, has been involved in Bahá'í Publishing for 15 years as a designer, author, and editor. They have two children, Kalim, 15, and Danielle, 13.

The workshop Dr. Oldziey is planning will include videos of interviews of new Bahá'ís talking about what attracted them to the Faith. It will also include activities and discussions designed to bring new understandings and renewed commitments to this "greatest gift of God." We are looking forward to his participation.
News Notes


* Ramsey Zeine deeply regrets that he cannot attend the Spiritual Foundations program this summer. Business concerns will keep him in Beirut. He sends his love and greetings to all. We will miss him greatly.


* Last year's yearbook is still in the process of being produced. It is scheduled to be finished by the residential session. If you are interested in buying one and have not already paid, please contact the registrar.


* 1997-8 students, please submit a small picture of yourself to the registrar for the 1997-8 yearbook. Wallet size, portrait style is preferable, but if you don't have that, anything will do.

* A Wilmette Institute "Catalog" has been mailed to you. It is filled with much useful information about this summer. A day-by-day schedule will be sent as well.


* A letter asking for various forms of assistance, including financial assistance, was recently mailed to a groups of friends of the Wilmette Institute. We enclose a copy to our students with this issue of the Lamp, so that you will know what the Institute's needs are.


* Please let Lisa Young know if you want to room with someone in particular. The dormitory does not have many single rooms; almost all are doubles.

Results of the First Year Student Survey

The first year students were asked to complete a survey of their teaching efforts and the effect the Spiritual Foundations program has had on their efforts. So far, we have received 11 surveys. They report the following:

How many firesides have you given since starting the program?
Total: 153 Average: 14 Range: 0-65

How many of these did you give BECAUSE OF the program?
Total: 96 Average: 9 Range: 0-65

How many deepenings have you given since starting the program?
Total: 111 Average: 10 Range: 0-32

How many of these did you give BECAUSE OF the program?
Total: 79 Average: 7 Range: 0-32

How many enrollments of new Bahá'ís do you feel you centrally assisted since you started the program?
Total: 9 Average: (less than one) Range: 0-5

How many of the deepening sessions Ramsey Zeine assigned during the summer program did you give?
Total: 43 Average: 4 Range: 0-24

We are still accepting the surveys, so if you have not returned yours, please do so as soon as possible.

Some comments from the student surveys

"`Spiritual Foundations' had a tremendous impact not only on my life but on my teaching. I feel free to express that I am a Bahá'í and if questioned explain about the Faith."

"Made me feel more responsible and accountable for teaching efforts."

"The knowledge and wisdom I gained from the summer will always influence me."

"I give credit to my participation in the Spiritual Foundations for a Global Civilization for having awakened within me the experiential reality of the oneness of religion with a depth of understanding that has released within me a flame of compassion for all humanity..."

"[The course] was a highlight in my life and one I will never forget."


Some helpful suggestions for the program:

* Choose different spokespersons in deepening sessions each time so that everyone gets a chance to practice public speaking, and try to have more diverse groups.

* Focus teaching classes on the Promoting Entry by Troops compilation.
[dotaccent] For the next religion module, focus on Islam as the cradle of the Bahá'í Faith, and make the material directly applicable to teaching.

* Have students study 'Abdu'l-Bahá's talks as examples for public speaking

* Offer more practice teaching, role-playing, and reciting material at the residential session

* Have smaller deepening groups so that people have more opportunity to participate

* Make teaching at the House of Worship a requirement


Orlando Nunez Memorial Fund Update

To date, six contributions have been received toward the Orlando Nunez Memorial Fund, totaling $270. The Wilmette Institute Executive Board thanks all the contributors. One of the events of this summer's session will be a memorial program for Orlando, who tragically passed away in November.

Testimonials
To: roya ayman
Subject: Greetings from a Wilmette Institute student


Dear Dr. Ayman. I so much enjoyed your course on speaking last summer. It has proved very useful for me. I now do group therapy where I stand in front of or sit in front of a group of people several times a day and have also done a presentation to an audience and felt very much at ease. (unheard of for me).

I really did gain so much from that experience last summer and now I would like to expand the course to a course in my graduate program with TGSA. I am studying Human Services, and would like to use what I did with you last summer along with some other projects to prove my knowledge in public speaking. Could you help me by suggesting some references where I could expand on what I learned from you? Do you have any tapes of your lectures? I did tape the first session, but it is not the best quality. I still have all the papers that you passed out and the article on "Understanding Social Psychology" and "Checklist for Success".

I heard that the CEO of the Company I work for wants all his top administrators trained in public speaking and I would like to volunteer to do the training. With the notes I have from sessions with you and a few more added ideas, I think I might be of service. What do you think? I learned some very key points, about how to gesture, how to talk to everyone when answering a question from an individual, etc. Do you think you could help me out? I'd definitely appreciate it.

Thanks, I'll be waiting to hear from you, and thanks again for all the valuable exercises last summer.

Testimonials, continued

Overall, please describe the impact of the first year of the Spiritual Foundations program on your teaching efforts.


It taught me what I should do as a Bahá'í and also how to do it. (Just a beginning I know, but people need direction.)

By giving Ramsey's course it has helped other isolated Bahá'ís in Oklahoma to become active Bahá'ís. Two areas have started working together. There were 2 isolated believers and now there are 4, and they give firesides every 19 days and rotate both firesides and Feast between their 2 communities. Also has helped Bahá'ís in 4 cities to become active.

With the help of Dr. Ayman and Ramsey, I no longer fear getting questions that I cannot answer. Dr. Ayman has helped me through e-mail.

. The Institute has helped me to set goals and then keep track of these goals, to help to monitor ones activities for the faith.
. The Institute has helped me to realize that reading the writings is important and must be done daily.
. The Institute has helped me to give the faith more of my time, to not make excuses, to try and to realize that I am not doing anything, but that God will help if you give him time and prayers.

The Institute has helped me realize that we have to work to gain spiritual qualities and to learn to forget one self. We are working on both these problems, and though it is a lifetime project, again you have given support and direction in trying to work on personal goals and spiritual goals.

The true impact is not me, but 4 communities, that have started to grow.

Examples
Delaware County has formed an LSA before, but one person sent in an absentee Ballot and it formed. This year forms were sent out and one of the friends opened their home for elections. Four people showed up for the elections and six absentee Ballots were returned by mail. People who never answered mail did this year, and they are going to try to learn what an LSA does and is. Eight are Cherokee Indians and one Marshallese. Ten out of thirteen voted- this was never expected.

Vinita was 2 Bahá'ís in Oct 95. Now it is 6, and 4 out of six are taking the Covenant course. When we were on our third lesson, we canceled because of strep, and then an Assistant meeting, resulting in no classes for 4 weeks. Last Saturday we went to Vinita expecting to finish the 3rd class and start the 4th class. The Active Bahá'ís in Vinita each separately had completed all 9 lessons on the covenant and wanted more, but asked that we find something that they could do that was not so hard. The highest education level in Vinita is 6th grade. Have ordered the Rúhí books for them and the other Bahá'ís in the area.

They are wanting to learn, whether they have a teacher or not, and I think that is what you wanted.

Langley has a new Bahá'í and she has shown up on my door step each week that I am well, to learn about the Faith.

The Bahá'ís in Vinita have given 3 firesides on their own. (They said they would prefer me there, but friends wanted to know about the faith and they gave firesides.)

Poetry by Dr. Savi

Note from Julio Savi, 1996 (module A) instructor in the Spiritual Foundations program:
"Very soon I will publish an anthology of poems I wrote in Italian. One of these poems is dedicated to the students of Wilmette Institute I met last year. I kindly ask the permission of the Wilmette Institute Board to include the poem and its dedication to the students in my anthology. Best wishes for Ridván."

Children of the Dawn-Breakers, Wilmette (Illinois), 31 July 1996
Young profiles
where the shadows
of remoteness
make the auroral light
shine even brighter.

The billows of love
surging in your breasts
submerge us all
in deep oceans
of tenderness and hope.

Anguishes and joys
alternating in human hearts
move the wheels of life.

For them we draw away
from charming spells

of beautiful mermaids,
whose songs allure
-all the more today-
the untaught pilgrim of life.
For them we hasten
to our heart's Beloved,
we respond to His call,
and tenaciously fight
the battles of this life.

And if the tenderness

of our hearts
is a reason of pain for us,
let us preserve it

nonetheless just there

where it disquiets the most.

Heaps of anguish
are nothing when,

finally on a mountaintop,
our astounded eyes
behold Eternity's
peaceful expanses.


Poetry by Shawn Higgins
Enamored of God

When God created mankind in His own image, He made our souls a mirror capable, if pure and clean, of reflecting His image in the world.

He said, "Man is My mystery and I am his."

This is why mankind was created. This is why the world was created. This is why there was creation.

He assigned us the task of keeping our mirror clean so that, should we happen to encounter Him in the heart of another, He will be able to rejoice in His own reflection.

This then is the story of how one stubborn soul learned the true meaning of love.

In my younger days I believed that a sufficient love could exist between two people to last them their whole lives.

Convinced of this truth I searched the hearts of all I met for the signs of this love and the under-standing of what would give it an everlasting foundation.

After much suffering and blessed disillusionment I found a young woman in whom all the signs of eternal love were manifest and my soul soared into the heaven of nothingness.

But I grew impatient at the delay and confused by the silence of her response, so my newborn wings faltered and my broken soul fell back to earth.

In my ignorance I gave the choice into the hand of one far more wise in the knowledge of love than I.

And so I accepted the crown of thorns my Lord desired for me from the hands of a new woman and headed down the long path of my first marriage.

My hopes for love with God's choice, however, were soon shattered and I staggered on in shock and disbelief that the trust I had put in Him had seemingly been so completely betrayed.

But the Via Dolorosa always leads to Golgotha and the Christ-like are inevitably crucified by their own animal nature on the cross of glorification.

Why else would He have said, "If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself, and if thou seekest My pleasure regard not thine own, that thou mayest die in me and I may eternally live in thee?"

His claim on our love is great and cannot be denied. We can have no greater love than we can have for Him.

But how do you learn to love someone you never see, whose gentle caressing hand isn't there to remove the stress of life with a touch, the energy of whose love never quite seems enough to still the body ache, as much as you would like it to?

Soon enough the ship of marriage foundered on the shoal of irreconcilable differences and I left this land of sandstone and shale in the interest of peace and harmony.

I embarked upon the Ark of Paradise, a slave ship dedicated to the slaughter of innocent fish, and set sail upon Arctic waters.

There, for the second time, I met the Maid of Heaven, this time in the guise of a half-Hoopa Indian, half Norwegian mortal.

We spoke at length twice and in her words I heard my own history reflected. Her speech transported me to heaven and I sought no other beloved. Had she not at that time been on a descending path, moving away from communion with God, we might have been able to join forces.

But when the Ark came into port and we finished unloading our frozen treasure, our paths parted and my heart resumed its grief.

I took up my exile here where I had left off, burdened by debt and loneliness, but newly reconciled to the long years of toil ahead on the way toward peace of mind.

Many were the life sustaining dreams and manifold the signs of His enduring love for me received periodically from His angels sent to help me deal with the grief of separation from the One I love.

Time passed and I drew closer through incremental stages to contentment with His decree, "Let no one give you comfort but Me," which is also "No one can comfort you but Me," until all that remained between us was the body ache of a lonely heart.

So painful was this condition at times and so persistent the symptoms that more than once I sought out God to tell him that, Himself willing, I would renounce all hope for an earthly companion and find my happiness in serving Him alone, if He would only make it possible by removing this thorn from my heart.

Praise God for unanswered prayers. His mercy is perfect and His knowledge of our needs complete.

They say, the darkest hour is just before dawn. Let me then be filled with this darkness, O my God, that the promised day might come. And it has.

For she is a mirror bright with the face of God and I am reduced to nothing by her effulgent beauty.

A glance from her radiant face speaks volumes to me and the heat of her words refines and shapes my character.

I was as one dead. You used her to breathe within me the breath that is life itself.

Her advent has resurrected me.

Your divinity, O God, is alive in her and its magnetism attracts all who come near.

Is it any wonder then that I love her?

My good fortune enraptures me, for I have discovered within her the infinity of Your human address and I have learned that You really do live in the hearts of Your children.

I am at long last enamored of God.

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