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North Vancouver District Bicentenary Celebrations Summary
The following is an account of the bicentenary activities within the three neighbourhoods of North Vancouver District Baha’i Community. The friends arose to an unprecedented extent and responded to the call of the Universal House of Justice “these Holy Days should be viewed as special opportunities for the friends to reach out to the widest possible cross-section of society”. This summary may not fully capture all the events that took place. It is possible some friends did not report their home-based celebrations to the Assembly. There were a number of home-based events. Each neighbourhood held at least one public event.
The bicentenary themes in North Vancouver District Community included creative, artistic, and cultural expressions; focus on families and children/junior youth; and public discourse with the indigenous members of our community. There was a myriad of home-based conversations about the Person of Baha’u’llah to those connected though “a family tie or common interest, an occupation or field of study, neighbourly relations or mere chance acquaintance”.
Planning for the bicentenary commenced with the cluster-wide teaching conference in February 2017. Each neighbourhood held regular reflection meetings and consulted on public and home-based celebration events.
On October 7th, the Baha’i friends in the Capilano/Edgemont Neighbourhood held a Service Devotional. Following a multi-faith devotional, children helped pack supplies for underprivileged North Shore Youth. About 12 friends of the Faith in attendance were invited to the Bicentenary Children’s Unity Festival.
On October 14th, the Baha’is of the Lynn Valley/Lonsdale neighbourhood held an Art Show. A diverse group of artists were asked to create images inspired by selected Writings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah. There were 24 artists, 6 of whom were not Baha’is. 34 pieces were exhibited. The paintings were created using acrylic, oil, digital, collage, paper craft and fibre art media. The Art Show represented the neighbourhood’s unique exploration of creative means to celebrate the Bicentenary. Friends engaged in conversations while viewing the inspiring art work. A bookmark was handed out that contained Baha’u’llah’s Writings and reference to our website for those interested. About 150 people attended of whom 25% were not Baha’is.
The other pre-bicentenary celebrations included Seymour/Deep Cove neighbourhood’s home-based celebration on October 19th and Capilano/Edgemont neighbourhood’s dinner gathering on October 19th.
There were three major public events that occurred during the bicentenary weekend. The first was a children and family-focused outdoor bicentenary picnic. This event was children and family-focused. An informal presentation was made on the personage of Baha’u’llah. The uplifting and celebratory event included collective art activities. An assortment of musicians performed live music including guitar, drums, and the fiddle. The event went on successfully despite harsh weather conditions. About 100 attended with 28 friends of the Faith, 5 Junior Youth, and 45 children.
The second public event was the Children’s Unity Festival organized by the Capilano/Edgemont Neighbourhood. The Junior Youth were instrumental in setting up and supervision of various stations. Those attending felt the festive atmosphere. The Magic Show drew a large crowd. Baha’u’llah’s Writing were being displayed on a Slide Show screen. Parents engaged in uplifting conversations. Some invited classmates helped with some of the art and craft stations. The ‘Photo booth’ station allowed friends to take home a souvenir picture along with the Creative Word. The Puppet Show with the theme of Unity in Diversity was performed twice and was enjoyed by all participants. Invited participants were children’s school peers and their parents. Approximately 175 people attended. There were about 50 friends of the faith, 25 Junior Youth, and 50 children.
The third public event was the bicentenary celebration at the Tsleil Waututh Community Centre, organized by the Seymour/Deep Cover Neighbourhood. The significance of this event is that it represented the culmination of the Seymour/Deep Cove neighbourhood’s longstanding relationship with the indigenous population residing in that neighbourhood. There was a welcoming atmosphere. Attendees were being greeted by children offering sweets. A Blessing speech was given by a Tsleil Waututh First Nation member in Native language then translated into English. History and suffering of the First Nation people was shared. The presentation ended with Baha’u’llah’s message introduced as pathway to healing. A presentation then ensued that directly introduced the Baha’i Faith and the message of Baha’u’llah. The program also included devotions and artistic performances. Many elevated and joyful conversations ensued over light lunch. Excess food was donated to the poor families on the reserve. There were 110 participants of whom there were 40 friends of the Faith and 5 children.
The Assembly is aware of ten different home-based celebrations during the bicentenary weekend in the community. One of these events involved inviting dignitaries, political figures, and religious leaders. There were 17 dignitaries in attendance in this gathering. There was a presentation on the person of Baha’u’llah. A home-based dinner was served. A conversation ensued. Each guest was given a gift package containing Words of Baha’u’llah. In addition, a food distribution service project took place on Saturday October 21st.
Overall, 790 people participated in bicentenary events of whom there were 252 friends of the Faith, 49 Junior Youths, and 151 Children.
For the slide show presentation on the bicentenary events, please click on this link.