Study Circle

Clearly such participation is not a requirement for every Bahá’í, who, in the final analysis, can choose the manner in which he or she will serve the Faith. What is essential is that the institute process be supported even by those who do not wish to take part in it.

Universal House of Justice, to an individual, 31 May 2001

It is entirely acceptable for you not to participate in the institute process, following your own way of studying the Writings as you have done in the past.

Universal House of Justice, to an individual, 31 May 2001

There may indeed be circumstances where a course conducted over the phone would be of benefit to certain individuals who could not otherwise participate in a study circle; and presumably, there would be no objection if you pursued such an approach on a personal basis.

Universal House of Justice to an individual, 24 July 2006

A distinguishing feature of study circles is that in many countries, and across diverse cultures, they have created a new dynamic within the community and have become nuclei of community life and catalysts for teaching, service, and community development. In addition to study of the institute courses, the members of the study circle, both Bahá’ís and non-Bahá’ís often participate in service and extracurricular activities that bind the group together in fellowship and attract others to this mode of learning. Having experienced the participatory learning style of the courses, the members of the study circle gradually take on a stronger commitment to actively serve and apply the knowledge and skills they are gaining to the work of the Faith. Some members of study circles are eventually trained as tutors and then initiate their own study circles.

International Teaching Centre, 2000 Feb, Training Institutes and Systematic Growth, p. 7

After studying one course, many of the members of a study circle will stay together to go on to the next course, but some may drop out until they are ready and able to pursue a subsequent course. As friends move on to higher level courses, and other friends join at various points in the sequence, the membership of a study circle can gradually change. Although members of study circles will often engage in social and service activities together, no feelings of exclusivity should be allowed to develop among them. Furthermore, the study circles should be guided by the spirit of consultation in planning recreation, teaching, and service activities.

International Teaching Centre, 2000 Feb, Training Institutes and Systematic Growth, p. 7

In this case, a sequence of courses is offered to small groups of believers in villages and towns by tutors trained by the institute itself or a branch operating in the region. Efforts to put into place such a vast system can only flourish in an environment characterized by a spirit of unity and collaboration among all the institutions of the Faith.

International Teaching Centre, 2000 Feb, Training Institutes and Systematic Growth, p. 7