Well, I really feel like an old gal now with all the younger women WISDOM is attracting. But I recall back in 2007 when I retired from my job as Professor of Humanities at Macomb Community College, I had planned a travel-teaching trip to Botswana and Namibia followed by a pilgrimage to the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, Israel, followed yet again by a week in Paris with my French-speaking colleague, Brooke. I was waiting for what kinds of volunteer activities might be available for a teacher of world religions and the invitation to join WISDOM fit right in! I have since many opportunities to be grateful for this organization. We reach out to community groups of many kinds. Our institution of the program, “Five Women, Five Journeys” has been going since ’08 (I think). It has taken us to Bay View near Traverse City, Grand Haven, a summer community in Ohio, a women’s group in Florida (during Covid), and throughout the Detroit Metro area. We’ve met so many wonderful people who have enriched our lives as we have shared our experiences of faith with theirs. Cultivating understanding and acceptance of diverse religions is on the path to the love and acceptance of all mankind, a central principle of the Baha’i Faith. And Baha’u’llah tells us that work in the spirit of service to humanity is accounted as worship. What could be better? Working with my spiritual sisters in Wisdom with love and respect, sharing that with others, and widening that circle of embrace as we build on what unites us rather than fomenting discord makes for the most satisfying retirement anyone could wish for. I never imagined myself playing bridge and golf all the time anyway.
But, I have taken up a new goal. Three years ago, to celebrate the Centenary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, I decided to “come out of the closet” as a pianist and try playing to a group of friends in my home along with stories of Baha’u’llah’s life. Well, that was a beginning. Then I started taking piano lessons again (after about a 20-year hiatus) and finally I’m trying out playing for senior centers. My first one now at Hartford Village in Detroit. I figured the music from “the great American songbook” would appeal to old folks as it does to me. So, up and coming in August is: Georgia on my Mind, La Vie en Rose, I left my heart in San Francisco, and I Get a Kick out of You! Voila!
UPCOMING and ONGOING PROGRAMS
Every fall, WISDOM volunteers shop for pencils, notebooks, crayons, glue, scissors and more, then head to Greater Mt. Moriah Baptist Church to fill 100 backpacks for community distribution. We are honored to work again this year with Linda Ward Bassett to provide this service — won’t you join this cause to help a child receive much-needed supplies for the year?
BOTANICAL GARDEN WALK
We rescheduled our Sisters’ Circle event due to rain — hope to see you!
We just completed the third in our “Race & Medicine” series of presentations produced by WISDOM members Delores Lyons, Ayesha Khan, Sameena Basha and Paula Drewek with Dr. Oveta Fuller serving as our program host. Our 3rd installment features Dr. Uzma Syed, an infectious disease specialist, who describes how marginalized communities were hit the hardest by the pandemic. Highlights include information about wide range body effects with COVID, how black and indigenous populations were impacted much worse by COVID due to socio-economic disparities as well as cutting edge questions related to the vaccine, the delta variant and what to expect. Learn how faith communities have a role to play as trusted messengers. Watch this informative webinar by clicking on the flyer below.
Meet & Greet with Dr. Fuller
WISDOM members recently enjoyed a wonderful evening at Baobab Cafe, a restaurant featuring delicious cuisine from Burundi. Our guest of honor was Dr. Oveta Fuller with whom many of our members had only worked virtually. It was a treat to finally meet her and her husband, Dr. Jerry Caldwell, in person.
A very special thank you to our Advisory Board Member, Delores Lyons (pictured below), who coordinated this wonderful evening and introduced WISDOM to her dear friends and restaurant owners Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere.
Workshop with Dan & Sharon Buttry
MANY, MANY THANKS to advisory board member Rev. Sharon Buttry and her husband Dan who have been coordinating and presenting our wonderful Building Racial Equity programs. Thus far two classes have been completed, and two more are scheduled for Thursday, August 5, from 5-9 p.m. and Sunday, August 8, from 2-8 p.m. at the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills. We cannot praise the Buttrys enough and appreciate the increased sisterhood and brotherhood we are experiencing as a result of learning more about each other and the challenges we face. Please email us for registration information and cost if you are interested in participating at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are some pictures from our June sessions at the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit (IAGD) in Rochester Hills. WISDOM is grateful to IAGD for its gracious hospitality.
Extra special thanks to IAGD school principal & workshop participant Anjum Ansari who provided tech support and IAGD interfaith committee member Nishat Haq for partnering with WISDOM and honoring the Buttrys for providing us with a fantastic seminar. Looking forward to the next segment this week!
Read on for MORE WISDOM NEWS
Spotlight: PBS Documentary on Pope Francis
Since 2013, Pope Francis has served as the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City. A WISDOM sister recently shared an excellent PBS documentary of his life, including major milestones in his papacy, his response to challenging issues within the church, and his commitment to interreligious dialogue culminating in his 2021 trip to Iraq. The visit was remembered an an attempt to mend the bridges between various faiths and included time spent visiting Ayatollah Ali al Sistani. Click here to watch the 53 minute video.