A different kind of election turnout

By: Gail Meyer Selcuk Special to The News Messenger
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Baha’i Faith of Lincoln members enjoyed “a first” last week: they were hosts to Baha’is coming from 10 local communities, from Tahoe City to Carmichael. The occasion was their annual District Convention, where fellow believers, not only here in Northern California but in thousands of locations all over the world, gathered to elect delegates as part of the voting process of Baha’i administration. One of the unique features of this spiritual community is that there are no clergy so they elect from their membership several believers, who then serve to guide and administer the affairs of the community. The election process is also unique in that there is no campaigning, no nominations and no candidates. Each adult member votes by prayerfully and privately considering whoever best possesses the characteristics of “unquestioned loyalty, selfless devotion, a well-trained mind, recognized ability and mature experience.” The small membership of the Lincoln Baha’i community reflects the diversity of the larger community. Of the 15 adults, 1 youth and 1 child, there are health administrators, a secretary, small-business owners, a mechanic, and students in the community. Baha’is embrace the diversity of the wider world, too. Several believers originate from American farming communities and several come from very distance places like Iran, where severe oppression specifically targets anyone who follows this faith. And the Lincoln convention inspired the attendees in several personal ways. Some, such as Marie Boddy, who has allegiance to the Baha’i Faith for almost 60 years, expressed delight at “meeting old friends I’ve not seen for many years.” Others, such as Christy Crandell, who joined the faith just a few months ago, appreciated “the engaging, humorous, and invigorating presentations” of the convention. The Baha’is of Lincoln put on a very good “first,” for sure. Anyone who would like to know more about the activities of the Baha’i community in Lincoln can telephone 408-4069. Presently, Baha’is of Lincoln offers devotions on Sunday nights, Ruhi study classes, which now are studying how to encourage virtues in children, and a book club on Monday afternoons. Gail Meyer Selcuk is a member of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Lincoln.