Other Six-Word Essays and Comments on a Course on Bahá’í Archives: Celebrating the Wilmette Institute’s Twentieth Anniversary
To help celebrate the Wilmette Institute’s twentieth anniversary, Wilmette Institute learners are continuing to send “essays of six well-chosen words” and longer comments describing their Wilmette Institute experiences. This month we received a six-word essay from a Wilmette Institute student and a six-word essay and comments from two students who took the course Introduction to Archives for Bahá’í Archivists, offered by lead faculty Roger M. Dahl.
Judy Russell, from Prescott, Arizona, sent this six-word essay:
Worldly eyes seeing through Divine spectacles.
Stephen Thirlwall, from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, offered this six-word essay about the archives course he completed as part of a group in Ottawa:
insightful – practical experience – togetherness – real progress
Then he elaborated by describing the report and recommendations his group made to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ottawa:
A major step was achieved in terms of being enabled to present to the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ottawa a comprehensive report on the archiving needs of the community, a review of central archiving approaches and challenges, along with a plan to address the needs and advance our archiving practices. These are directed toward making a more “living” and active archives. While our team still awaits a meeting with the Spiritual Assembly and approval for at least first steps, awareness has been greatly increased, and we have a small but active program for personal presentations by several local believers that we call “Spiritual (Auto)biographies.” As best as possible, we are capturing recordings of these.
“Take care of the Archives. That’s the best service you can give,” recommended Knight of Bahá’u’lláh Lilian Alai, when I consulted with her about the matter. As a very new Bahá’í straight out of my former life as a nun, service was paramount to me. So I enrolled in the course “Introduction to Archives for Bahá’í Archivists” offered by the Wilmette Institute. It was a winner, one of the best decisions I was destined to make in my new Faith.
From the excellent technology of the website as programmed for the courses at Wilmette, to the expertise and easy accessibility of the course instructors, and on to the new friends burgeoning in the “classrooms,” the absorption of course content is smooth and permeating. Without having to raise one’s hand to be recognized, participation is guaranteed to the full, with written comments and questions addressed quickly by both staff and classmates, in a courteous and respectful exchange of facts and opinions. It was thoroughly enjoyable and spiritually stimulating, as well as enriching in both the academic and professional areas.
The teachers care. They are dedicated to the sacred Cause to which all of us aspire to serve, and their own service at Wilmette Institute is dear to the Heart of our Beloved Founder Bahá’u’lláh, Who raised the teaching profession to an exalted dimension within our Bahá’í culture. Their research doesn’t stop at course preparations, but they willingly assist students in further efforts at uncovering data and resources to reference and clarify subject material. Nor do they disdain going down a detour from the topic under discussion if it will eventually add to the wealth of knowledge involved.
Wilmette courses helped me find my feet as a Bahá’í. I still find time to enroll in one or two more in order to enhance my own pioneer experience in Costa Rica, where I work in the National Archives and tutor the different Ruhi courses. Life in the Faith is full of new ventures, reaching out to other Bahá’ís, to the community at large, to seekers and returned believers, with the firm step of confidence in the strength of Bahá’ulláh, the Master, and Shoghi Effendi, all of whom uphold and guide the treasure that is the Wilmette Institute. To all those who enroll in its hallowed internet classrooms, I gratefully say, “you will always cherish the experience.”
You still have time to send your own six-word essay or your reminiscences or stories. E-mail them to Dr. Betty J. Fisher (email@example.com) and copy them to Dr. Robert Stockman (firstname.lastname@example.org). For more details, see the next story called Sharing Your Six-Word Essays, Impressions, Reminiscences, or Stories about your experiences with the Wilmette Institute.
If you are intrigued by the comments on the course Introduction to Archives for Bahá’í Archivists, you are in luck. It will be offered again on September 22, 2015 (running through December 22). For more on the projects stemming from the archives course, check out the story in this issue titled “Local and National Bahá’í Archives Worldwide Improve with Actions of Learners in the Introduction to Archives Course.”