Opening the Curtain
O Divine Providence! We are weak and Thou art the Most Powerful. We are as tiny ants and Thou art the King of the Realm of Glory. Bestow Thy grace and confer Thy bounty upon us, that we may kindle a flame and shed its splendour abroad, that we may show forth strength and render some service. Grant that we may bring illumination to this darksome earth and spirituality to this fleeting world of dust. Suffer us not to rest for a moment, nor to defile ourselves with the transitory things of this life. Enable us to prepare a banquet of guidance, inscribe with our lifeblood the verses of love, leave fear and peril behind, become even as fruitful trees, and cause human perfections to appear in this ephemeral world. Thou, in truth, art the all-Bountiful, the Most Compassionate, the Ever-Forgiving, the Pardoner.
The tradition of “testifying” holds a place in many cultures and communities. What do you think it means? On the stage of life or on a real stage, how can we bring illumination to this darksome earth? How can we unveil our learning to a wider human family? Life’s stage offers an opportunity to shine, if we step from behind our curtain and see the oneness of humanity in the eyes of each other.
At the culmination of this symposium, all will have a chance to share new insights, inspirations, and plans with the community, in one form or another.
At some point each day, time will be permitted to prepare for the gathering in which parents and community members come to learn from this gathering.
The stage will consist of the living history museum, the podium and the printed program (or poster display). Music learned over the course of the week can also invigorate the event
Preparing to Shed the Light
Advise parents and guests to arrive in time for the program, knowing that students will be released only after its completion.
Each day, reserve an hour to prepare to illuminate and inspire the audience and thus, to open new doors.
A suggested program format on the last day might include the following:
Opening the Door to a Life and/orOpening the Doors to New Light (older group)
A reading or quotes about Robert Turner and ‘Abdu’l-Baha
Opening the Doors of Our Hearts
A representative of each group may want the chance to share an inspirational story
Opening the Door to History and Opening the Doors to New Light (younger group)
A living history museum, featuring figures students want to honor, for universal, meaningful participation. (See these chapters for examples of resources to draw from.)
Costuming may be kept to a minimum - -perhaps hats only or no costumes-- by using a Q & A approach to the museum. For example, pin questions on the participant such as, “Ask me how I responded when...”
Opening the Door to Our Legacy
Each local group represented outlines its plan for a legacy-making project to lovingly unite or improve their community in the three months to come. The most important part of the program comes when they commit to these next actions and objectives.
Some groups may have learned one or more of the songs featured in the various sections. They may present these as small groups or as a whole group.
The entire group could agree on an audience participation song.
Written Program Suggestion:
If time permits collating a copy of the constitution or code of ethics the students collectively wrote, it could appear in the program.
(In any case, it could be posted on easels near the living history museum).
On the last day of the symposium, if your group is near enough, consider a field trip to the new monument erected to honor Robert C. Turner, at Cypress Cemetery in Colma California. Meanwhile, enjoy a summer of service in honor of this humble, devoted man, whose eyes radiated love and who, therefore, opened doors to the generations that followed. Best of luck as you open doors for those generations to come.