When attending celebrations where unity in diversity is not just in words but in action I feel hope for the future of Australia and the World.
I was so happy that my family were able to experience the inspiring coming together of the diversity of the human family and community into one larger family at the wedding of Shannon and Sarah.
I was not an official photographer, just a friend, caught up like all of us were, in the connections made between so many cultures and religions that day.
Here is the Southern Sudanese Welcoming Party who called the Bride into her Wedding.
These are special moments of connection, where two families become one, followed by an image of a lovely lady who said an Islamic prayer for the ceremony.
Some of the ceremony includes a Baha’i prayer, a song, and some words from the Celebrant.
Shannon’s mother reads a prayer.
The next few pictures are of my children at the wedding. My daughter loved the beautiful and interesting fabrics. They were both delighted and engrossed with the ceremony. One of the groomsmen was Felix, a long time family friend, who we have not seen for many years, but have stayed in touch with on facebook. Felix has both Torres Strait and Papua New Guinean background.
This beautiful lady, a first cousin of Sarah’s from Sydney, gave me the most endearing smile when she saw me snapping away. She had flown from Sydney to attend the Toowoomba Wedding.
Some more pictures of the friends and family connecting and participating at the wedding.
Feeling blessed to know such beautiful souls. Love knows no boundaries, and gives to each that gives it truly – the universe.
A prayer for marriage from the Baha’i Writings
O my Lord! O my Lord! These two bright orbs are wedded in Thy love, conjoined in servitude to Thy Holy Threshold, united in ministering to thy Cause. Make Thou this marriage to be as threading lights of Thine abounding grace, O my Lord, the All-Merciful, and luminous rays of Thy bestowals, O Thou the Beneficent, the Ever-Giving, that there may branch out from this great tree boughs that will grow green and flourishing through the gifts that rain down from Thy clouds of grace.
Verily, Thou art the Generous. Verily, Thou art the Compassionate, the All-Merciful.
A big thank you to Sarah and Shannon and their family and friends for sharing this special day with us and for permission to share some of the images. These and other photographs are my wedding gift to Shannon and Sarah (nearly finished editing and collating them).
Some selections of my work on Nineteen Months, to celebrate the upcoming end of the Fast.
(c) All images June Perkins
“Blessed thou art and more blessed thou shalt be if thy feet be firm, thy heart tranquil through the fragrance of His Holy Spirit and thy secret and hidden thoughts pure before the Lord of Hosts!”
-‘Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha
This photograph depicts ‘A leaf of the most Exalted Paradise’
“The word of God which the Supreme Pen hath recorded on the fifth leaf of the Most Exalted Paradise is this: Above all else, the greatest gift and the most wondrous blessing hath ever been and will continue to be Wisdom.” -Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah
“Say: Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs.”
-Baha’u’llah: Tablets of Baha’u’llah
“When a soul has in it the life of the spirit, then does it bring forth good fruit and become a divine tree.” -‘Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks
Here the hands represent the soul
in action and on that hand
is the imprint of the divine tree.
“The companions of all who adore Thee are the tears they shed, and the comforters of such as seek Thee are the groans they utter, and the food of them who haste to meet Thee is the fragments of their broken hearts.”
-Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf
“If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all.”
-‘Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks
This photo attempts to portray a thought spiritual and positive beginning its journey.
The beauty and power of the ocean expressed to me the unknowable, and fathomless mystery.
“To every discerning and illumined heart it is evident that God, the unknowable Essence, the divine Being, is immensely exalted beyond every human attribute…Far be it from His glory that human tongue should adequately recount His praise, or that human heart comprehend His fathomless mystery.”
-Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan
“Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form When within thee the universe is folded?”
-Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys-The Valley of Wonderment
“Hearken ye to the Call of this wronged One, and magnify ye the name of the one true God, and adorn yourselves with the ornament of His remembrance.”
-Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah
Hearkening to the call; she looks away from the camera. Praising the name of God; she does the best with learning from her grandmother. Adorning herself with symbols of culture; she remembers the unity of humanity in all its diversity.
The last few months I have had a special top secret project. I have been making a book to celebrate my dear husband’s 50th birthday.
But I haven’t been making it alone. His friends, family, students and more have been emailing and sometimes telephoning me stories, and photographs. There have been poems, telegrammatic messages, a caricature and anecdotes from those who know him and appreciate him for who he is.
His sister did some editing for me as well as tracking down networks I couldn’t. Just brilliant and so helpful. His friends, many of whom don’t consider themselves writers, dug deep and put into words what he has done for them as a mentor and friend.
What emerged from this process was a very special book, which was full of tributes and jokes, photographs I had never seen before, and his friend’s versions of stories which our children have often heard him tell, but which they can now also read, and which have shown him just how special he is to all of us. He was incredibly moved by the stories.
In addition to this I included certificates, photos, letters, card excerpts, and some of his own writing, as he used to send me the most beautiful poems about life, and my own account of our lives together which referenced people who have made a difference to our lives.
As the book is done through blurb, there is a pdf that any of his friends and family may request from me if they want a copy. As well as that I can order physical copies for the children to share with their own familes when they are older.
As for my husband’s response to this book, he truly loves his present; it is the best one I have ever given him. He has been especially impressed by the tribute from former student, Dan and his dear friend Johana. He has had a good old giggle at some of the stories and been completely humbled, even floored, by the esteem many of us have for him.
I think the book has shown him that he has made a difference to a lot of people in his life, something teachers and parents don’t often have said to them. On top of that I hope it has shown him it is never too late to achieve other dreams he may still wish to.
In making this book, I did my best to lay it out as beautifully as I could and edit the text submissions. I thought about my husband’s many loves like: Afl football, cricket, teaching, family, science, study,mentoring, and his faith. All of this was going to need to be represented in the book. Sometimes I just let photographs do the talking. I captioned images where I could, because well one day, someone other than us or our children will be looking at the book and might like to know who the people are. In all, it took 192 pages to achieve what I wanted, 300+ photographs, countless friends and family, and nearly 5 months of work, including waking in the middle of the night towards the end to finish it on time, and yes, there could have been much more.
A huge thank you to all of the people who helped me make this book. We do hope to visit many of you soon.
Inspired by this project I am now planning my next family book, but for now I have a few other writing projects of a very different kind in the works.
Have you ever made a special family book? What was the response to it? Who helped you make it?