Gerry of Cranbrook, BC

“We are sort of isolated,” Gerry says. “From about June to November each year, at least five of the Local Spiritual Assembly members go away for vacation and so we are left with only a few friends in the community. We don’t typically hold a LSA meeting during that time.”

We sit comfortably at a local coffee shop in Cranbrook, British Columbia, with our Baha’i friend. Her experience as a full-blown participant of the Faith over the years unfolds in rich detail.

“We’ve had a Local Spiritual Assembly here since the 1940s. I wasn’t here then but I did declare sometime in 1979. I was drawn to the Faith because of a strong curiousity mainly about what my kids were up to. Maybe you’ll remember the Jonestown fiasco at the time. That situation got me thinking about my children changing their religion to the Baha’i Faith and it made me cautious. I listened closely to their explanation of the theme of unity and after two years of learning about Baha’u’llah’s mission, I declared,” she says.

“In the ‘80s, the government wanted communities to build peace parks. The Baha’is approached the city of Cranbrook to support the plan and were given permission to plant twelve trees. Now, on every Sunday closest to the 21st of September, we gather during the daytime and celebrate United Nations International Day of Peace. Since then, we’ve laid a nine-pointed star on the site.”

“In November, we support the Salvation Army with the celebration of United Nations Day of Poverty. Our Baha’i community provides the desserts.”

“You asked about how we teach the Faith. It includes our participating in community events, helping the local United Church with their Dress the Homeless campaign by preparing ‘sock boxes’ filled with personal hygiene products like a toothbrush, gloves and a pair socks. Our Baha’i community consists mainly of older retired friends. We would need the support of the youth to dynamically produce a proper teaching campaign in Cranbrooks. It would be very helpful to receive youth pioneers here – even for a short term, or a young family for long term.”

“As far as individual teaching goes, we help serve breakfast at a few of the local churches and have the opportunity to speak individually with the participants.”

Gerry’s sweet smile beams at Frank and me.

“These days, we support one another with phone conferences. A group of us, with the help of Ray Joy in Quesnel, BC, learn more about the Faith over the phone. Tracie from Sicamous, and Janet Emerson, an Auxiliary Board Member are also participating in our group. Also, what was very exciting for us was that we were invited by the Anglican Church leader to make a presentation on the Baha’i Faith at their children’s class.”

Frank spoke a prayer and we let her know that her tales, past and present are impressive. Her knowledge of the Faith is extensive and her passion for it clung to us as we drove away from her location.

Peace Park (photo courtesy of Cranbrook Daily Townsman newspaper)

A sunny Cranbrook day