Swiss Baha'i Winter School 2014

The 2014 Swiss Baha'i Winter School was held on 26-29 December 2014 at Einsiedeln in the canton of Schwyz for the third year (see also 2012 and 2013). About 150 participants of all ages came from all parts of Switzerland and a number of foreign countries to experience the participative programme and warm family atmosphere for which such Baha'i schools are well known. The programme on the theme "Walking on a path of service" was developed in close collaboration with Counsellor Bernard Lo Cascio and the Board of the Training Institute. Special activities were provided for infants, children and pre-adolescents. There were also artistic workshops for all ages, and the Lemon Soul Trio gave a concert Saturday evening. The school functioned in English, German and French, with a special workshop in Persian, and translation for those who needed help.

Winter School Group
Winter School Group

The first day focused on capacity building, the second day on meaningful conversations, the third day on effort and confirmation, and the final morning on service. Bernard introduced each theme, and workshops in each language allowed for further sharing on relevant texts. On Saturday, participants were paired up to hold real meaningful conversations, not just to talk about them, and found this a high point of the school. There was also a presentation on the life of service of Hand of the Cause Agnes Alexander (1875-1971), an evocation in poetry of some Hands of the Cause, and a video on the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi. The workshops on effort and confirmation were facilitated very successfully by the junior youth, who introduced some of their study programme.

The programme
 Diane Ala'i with Eliane translating . Bernard Lo Cascio . Nina Jacquier
Diane Ala'i opened the school on behalf of the National Spiritual Assembly; Counsellor Bernard Lo Cascio gave the opening keynote; Nina Jacquier presided

audience . audience . audience
The main hall was full

The different Baha'i clusters of Switzerland shared their experiences during the year
cluster presentations . cluster presentations . cluster presentations

cluster presentations . cluster presentations . cluster presentations

Workshops were held to discuss each theme
French workshop . French workshop . French workshop
The workshop in French sharing experience in meaningful conversations
French workshop . French workshop

English workshop on confirmation . English workshop on confirmation . workshop on confirmation
Workshops on confirmation were facilitated very effectively by the junior youth

workshop presentations . workshop presentations . audience
the groups used different arts to express the choice of good over bad qualities

workshop presentations . workshop presentations . workshop presentations
one group acted out going from violence to peaceful trees bearing fruits of good qualities

audience . workshop . workshop on virtues
the audience; there were also workshops to exchange experience on each of the core activities, such as study circles

workshop on virtues . workshop on virtues . workshop on virtues
a workshop discussed personal virtues

The final morning
Tom and Gabi Shoemaker . Bernard Lo Cascio . Bernard Lo Cascio
after devotions and singing, Bernard presented the final theme of service, and each cluster met to decide how to put what they learned at the school into action
audience . audience

Artistic workshops for all ages in the late afternoon included music, theater and crafts
stonecarving workshop . stonecarving workshop . stonecarving workshop
The stone-carving workshop
stonecarving workshop . card-making workshop . card-making workshop
stone-carving and card-making

Lemon Soul trio, Nicholas and Yasmin . Lemon Soul trio . Lemon Soul trio
Nicholas Leroy and Yasmin Farhoumand of the Lemon Soul Trio performed Saturday night

Davis and Jean-Michel accompaniment . audience . audience
Davis and Jean-Michel replaced their missing percussionist; the audience

Tom Shoemaker
Tom Shoemaker recited poems about Hands of the Cause

The final gala evening included musical performances and presentations by the children and junior youth
Habermacher-Jaquier trio . Habermacher-Jaquier trio . masters of ceremonies
A classical trio of Timo Habermacher, Nina Habermacher Jacquier and Jean-Michel Jacquier; the masters of ceremonies

children . children singing . audience
even the children sang and danced; the audience

junior youth singing . music workshop singing
the junior youth singing; the music workshop gave a performance

children's theater workshop . children's theater workshop . children's theater workshop
the children's theater workshop prepared a shadow play

historical text from German archives about Baha'u'llah . Colin Shoemaker . Tom and Gabi Shoemaker
historical text from German archives about Baha'u'llah; Colin Shoemaker; Tom and Gabi Shoemaker

The evening ended with lively folk dancing for all generations to live music
folk dancing . the musicians
learning the steps; the talented musicians
folk dancing . folk dancing . folk dancing

folk dancing . folk dancing . folk dancing

folk dancing . folk dancing . folk dancing
everyone had fun

The Winter School inspired everyone to advance on the path of service, and we all went home ready to redouble our efforts

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Last updated 30 December 2014

Photographs copyright © Arthur Lyon Dahl 2014