June 12, 2024 8:13 pm

4 Reasons Accompaniment is So Important

The term “accompaniment” has evolved into a defining component. As stated in the 2010 Ridvan Message from the Universal House of Justice, “the growing frequency with which the word ‘accompany’ appears in conversations among the friends” is really an indication of the Friends’ evolving collective awareness. As the House puts it, accompaniment is “a word that is being endowed with new meaning as it is integrated into the common vocabulary of the community” and denotes nothing less than the fortification of a culture that encourages an increasing number of individuals to join forces in the pursuit of applying teachings to the building of a divine civilization.

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Like anything else, accompaniment is a notion that must be put into practice in order to contribute to the realization of the goals outlined by the Universal House of Justice.

When we move from just discussing accompaniment to actually doing it, what may it look like?

1. Working together is preferable to working alone.

You can work with a co-tutor, assistant teacher, co-animator, friend, or colleague teaching team member when tutoring a study circle, teaching a children’s class, leading a junior youth group, or holding a devotional gathering.

Walking the road of service in the company of others is essential, according to the Universal House of Justice.2. “Every task and every interaction should be viewed as an opportunity to join hands in the pursuit of progress and to accompany one another in their efforts to serve the Cause,” the friends came to realize.3. This entails working shoulder to shoulder with people, not only by copying what they do but by carrying out those same tasks alongside them.

Although the Faith honors the person’s efforts and free will, caution should be exercised to ensure that demonstrating individual initiative in service does not equate to carrying out all of our activities by ourselves. There are several advantages to managing a key task with another person’s assistance. Having a second pair of hands to help with the sometimes time-consuming preparation is beneficial when arranging a lesson for a children’s class. It is more practical and frequently more productive to reflect regularly in pairs following a junior youth group session. This is because sharing experiences and lessons learned helps preserve the group’s caliber. Organizing a devotional alongside a buddy or member of the teaching team helps expand your network of possible attendees. Having a backup plan in place for when you are unavailable to lead study circles might be a considerate measure when you are the tutor. Serving with someone else when beginning, running, sustaining, or growing a core activity has several advantages, from practical to spiritual. It is only a continuation of the concept that we walk this shared road of service together when you invite someone to accompany you or go with you in the arena of service.

2. There are as many virtues in us as there are in others.

Another way to look about accompaniment is as other people’s capacity building. Serving the community might include a variety of responsibilities, such as calling on a contact at their house, attending committee meetings, or planning devotions for a cluster meeting. It’s probably because of your ability and willingness to take on the challenge that you have been given a specific assignment to complete. In the same way, when we find ourselves in a situation like this, we ought to look to our peers, other Christians, and members of the larger community to see the latent talent and readiness to serve in others.

Every meeting they attend with you, every conversation in which they are included, and every interaction they are permitted to see, you are laying the foundation for that person’s ability to serve in the same way by holding their hand and leading them through the duties you have assumed. This not only brings up another possible resource that the community may use, but it also connects to the next point about it: given how adaptable and change-oriented today’s population is, we should never become dependent on anybody. Raising others’ capacity to continue in our place should happen as we ourselves advance to ever-higher levels of service and make ever-greater contributions to the community around us.

3. A word to the wise: put it in an institution!

Although supporting one another individually is undoubtedly beneficial in the service sector, it seems sense that this is only strengthened by more officially structured, institutional support.

Tutors of study circles, instructors of children’s classes, and organizers of junior youth groups within a cluster are greatly assisted by the coordinator of the institute, the coordinator of children’s courses, and the coordinator of junior youth. Formal accompaniment is defined as “gatherings for sharing experience” and “visiting (friends) in the field to support their day-to-day operations” in the document “Insights into the Frontiers of Learning.” More broadly, accompaniment is defined as “a variety of occasions that bring together friends […] to learn from one another’s experience, explore new guidance, and reflect upon their plans of action.”4

There are several official and informal opportunities for those working in a particular field of service to get together and reflect with the coordinator and one another, such as tutor meetings, animator encounters, and teacher exchanges. Regular and sustained encounters like this may sustain the friends who are serving while also enhancing the quality and sustainability of the specific activity.

Through similarly arranged places and procedures that encourage preparation and thought, the Area Teaching Committee of a cluster can also accompany friends when it comes to leading instruction, hosting a devotional gathering, or hosting a fireside.

4. Everyone is involved in this.

Last but not least—and maybe most importantly—we ought to support one another simply because we want to and because it comes naturally to us. “No structures or processes can make up for the spirit of loving fellowship if it does not exist,” as stated in the “Insights” paper.5.

As stated by the House of Justice, it is this enduring fellowship and these bonds of friendship that are “so vital to a healthy pattern of growth.” “By working shoulder to shoulder, sharing in one another’s joys and struggles, bonds of love and friendship are created that are the foundation for enduring fellowship”.

As Ruhiyyih Khanum remarked, “I appeal to you all to carry on his work as one soul in many bodies” in an homage to Shoghi Effendi6, we should keep in mind that when we rise to serve as a group, we are actually one, not many.