Swiss Bahá'í Winter School, Einsiedeln

December 2013

The Swiss Bahá'í Winter School was held in Einsiedeln, in the canton of Schwyz 50 minutes from Zürich, from 25 to 30 December 2013, with the participation of about 150 Bahá'ís and their friends from all over Switzerland. The programme was in English, German and French, with separate workshops as appropriate in the three languages. The highlight of the school was the participation of Mrs. Joan Lincoln, recently retired from 20 years on the International Teaching Centre, and her husband Albert. Joany not only provided short daily keynotes, but also with Al gave an opening evening keynote on balancing family life, profession and service to the Bahá'í Faith, and presented a beautiful evening programme on “Music, the food of the soul”.

The school programme was organized around four themes: community building, children, pre-youth and support to the youth, starting each day with the global perspective from Mrs. Lincoln, followed by the national perspective, and consultation on relevant texts in working groups for the remainder of the morning. The first part of the afternoon programme was sharing of experience from across Switzerland in the different activities, often with photo presentations and video clips, by representatives of each cluster, and by the children, pre-youth and youth themselves. In the second half of the afternoon, groups of participants of all ages rotated through four workshops on arts that could be used in the core activities: music, crafts, story-telling and group games. Other evening programmes were a musical evening, a presentation on pioneering in China, my slide programme on principles of community building illustrated by the coral reef ecosystem, a poetry recital by Tom Shoemaker, and the final gala evening with many talented participants of all ages. There was also a supervised play area for children under 4 (including my granddaughter Lia), children's classes, and a junior youth programme that included facilitating the adult workshops on junior youth, assisting with the infants and children's classes, presiding at the final gala evening, and preparing a very professional video clip on the Winter School. The school was able to develop a strong family atmosphere among participants of all ages, languages and backgrounds.

The Allegro Hotel and study centre between Einsiedeln and the lake features winter sports, but we had no time for more than an occasional walk in the snow.
First snowfall . Hotel Allegro . view
View from my room; the hotel; view towards the lake Sihlsee

view . view . view
Views from around the study centre

Bahá'í Winter School 2013
registration . devotional with music . Joan Lincoln
Registration; morning devotionals often included music; Mrs. Joan Lincoln was the featured speaker

The programme
Joan Lincoln . Michael Wohlwend . audience
Morning plenaries started with Mrs Lincoln for a global overview, then a national perspective on each theme (here ABM Michael Wohlwend)

Youth present their activities . Youth present their activities
Reports from around Switzerland included the youth on their activities since the youth conferences

workshop . workshop .
Workshop in French on community building
workshop on junior youth . workshop on junior youth
Workshops facilitated by junior youth on their materials
workshop . workshop . French workshop
Workshop in French on children

socializing . meals . mealtime
Time for informal sharing during breaks and at mealtimes

Evening programmes
Musical evening . Nina and Jean Michel . Musical evening
Musical evening with choir; Nina and Jean-Michel on guitar and Celtic bagpipe; jam session with Joany and Jean-Luc Shoderet at piano

Musical evening . Musical evening . Nina and Jean Michel
the music continued with the Shoemaker family; Nina and Jean-Michel changed instruments

Musical evening . Musical evening . Musical evening
everyone caught the spirit; Jean-Michel changed to a harmonica

Joany Lincoln: Music the spiritual food .
Joany Lincoln presents "Music the spiritual food" one evening

Final dinner
final dinner presentation . final dinner . final dinner
At the final dinner, we gave a present of "Blessed is the spot" to the centre director

Gala evening
Jr. youth MCs . Junior youth . Nina Habermacher
The junior youth were the Masters of Ceremonies in all three languages; Nina Habermacher organized the evening

audience . audience . audience
The audience was attentive

piano . children . children
There were performances from the children

choir . choir . Joan and Jesica Lincoln
Gaby Shoemaker led ad-hoc choirs, accompanied by Tom Shoemaker and Joany Lincoln; Joany and daughter Jessica improvised music and dance

Persian music . Jean-Michel and Nina . Jean-Michel and Nina
Traditional Persian music; Jean-Michel Jacquier and Nina Habermacher on various instruments

Joany and Eddie Kolaart
Eddie Kolaart crooned to Joany's piano

We all left with a deeper sense of the importance of community building and of the united effort we are all making across all parts of Switzerland.

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Last updated 3 January 2014

Photographs copyright © Arthur Lyon Dahl 2014