First pioneering orientation takes place in Vancouver

Posted: 2022/09/30

In response to the House of Justice’s call for Nine Year Plan pioneers, friends in British Columbia gathered for an orientation that focused on the spiritual and practical aspects of pioneering.

BC Pioneering Training 350x263

Participants in the pioneering orientation stand outside the Vancouver Bahá’í Centre for Learning.

In April, the newly-formed Pioneering Task Force of British Columbia began organizing the first orientation program for our region. Little did we know, it was to be the first pioneer orientation of its kind in North America. The orientation session took place from June 10-19 at the Vancouver Bahá’í Centre for Learning, with 11 participants.

Pioneers during this Plan are being called upon to help clusters both on the home front and internationally reach the third milestone in their development, so that each country and region in the world has at least one advanced cluster from which to draw learning.[i] The spirit of pioneering that has inspired countless souls in the history of our Faith needs to be carried forward alongside the practical skills and abilities required to help clusters advance from one milestone to the next.

Over the nine days of the orientation, the participants immersed themselves in prayers and Writings focused on the spiritual qualities and attitudes required of a pioneer, such as resilience, a spirit of sacrifice, a positive outlook, an outward-looking orientation, and a humble posture of learning alongside others. They read stories about the Knights of Bahá’u’lláh—the first to introduce the Faith to certain countries and territories—who responded to the call of the Guardian and won the goals of the Ten Year Crusade. Selected passages from the text Century of Light were also studied, strengthening an understanding of the development of the Faith over time. Additionally, the friends studied guidance from the House of Justice to deepen their understanding of the goals of the current Plan, the framework for action, the underlying principles of the training institute, as well as the distinct role of pioneers at this time.

The program also integrated the study of specific Ruhi Institute materials, with a focus on holding meaningful conversations and understanding the importance of raising up new human resources to contribute to the process of expansion and consolidation. Field visits to centres of intense activity were integrated into the program, giving the participants opportunities to have meaningful conversations and take part in activities in advanced neighbourhoods.

Confirmations were forthcoming and there were many moving stories from these visits. For example, when participants in the pioneering training got lost on their way to the Youth Education Centre, a local resident helped by walking them there. This individual was a mother to a junior youth and shared her concerns about the well-being of her children after the participants explained the purpose of where they were heading. She was swiftly connected to activities in the neighbourhood and participated in their meeting that afternoon, joining the team for prayers.

In addition to the field visits, the orientation program integrated the arts, including music and visual art activities, inspiring the friends to present what they were learning about in creative ways. The participants also viewed several films commissioned by the Universal House of Justice that look at both the current and historical development of the Bahá’í world. The response of the friends to the pioneer call and their spirit of self sacrifice were deeply moving.

The task force is now learning about the initial deployment of pioneers to centres of intense activity where they can continue to strengthen their learning and skills before pioneering to goal clusters. It is becoming increasingly clear that strong collaboration between several institutions and agencies of the Faith will be required for this next step, which is emerging in our region. We eagerly look forward to the further development of the pioneer strategy, assured that confirmations will continue to support all efforts to win the goals of the Nine Year Plan.

Friends who wish to express interest in attending a pioneer orientation in British Columbia can contact the task force at pioneering@bc.bahai.ca

– Contributed by the Pioneer Task Force of British Columbia

 

[i] The House of Justice has described the characteristics of a cluster that has reached the third milestone in its development in paragraphs 22-33 of its 29 December 2015 and paragraph 11 of its 30 December 2021 messages to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors.