Dedication of the Bahá’í House of Worship Welcome Center immediately followed the 107th Bahá’í National Convention; please click here for complete coverage of both events. Here is a video introduction to the Welcome Center. Photo by Nancy Wong

July/August 2015

National Convention: a fountain of hope and encouragement

July 01, 2015 Hope and encouragement.Those sentiments are not newly discovered. They are implicit in the eternal Covenant of God, at the very heart of the writings of Bahá’u’lláh.Yet they welled up afresh throughout the 107th Bahá’í National Convention, April 30–May 2 at the Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois. They flowed liberally through deliberations on how to ensure that at least 600 clusters in ...

From interest to initiating activities: Buffalo on the move

July 01, 2015 The stage is set in Buffalo, New York, for youths who have become involved in a set of core community-building activities to initiate ones of their own.Young Bahá’ís in the Buffalo area “have been engaged in accompanying youth from the wider community in the institute process and moving along a continuum,” says Auxiliary Board member Melissa Fargnoli. “They recently spent a weekend reflecting on ...

Pulse of activity radiates within, out from Indianapolis neighborhood

July 01, 2015 Let us count the ways David Douglas was pleasantly surprised when he and Counselor Sonlla Heern dropped in on an Indianapolis, Indiana, neighborhood.The Great Lakes Regional Bahá’í Council secretary was told 20 people had been invited to Amelia Tyson’s home to meet Heern.“As Amelia told me about the meeting, I asked her of the 20 people she had invited how many she expected to come,” Douglas ...

Madison community building takes 2 steps forward

July 01, 2015 Folks in the Madison, Wisconsin, area are doing a two-step of sorts.Initial step: Bahá’ís and people from the wider society are getting to know one another better, often while participating together in service to the community.Second: After meaningful conversation, they’re diving into the sequence of institute courses and beginning to apply their newfound knowledge and skills in a set of ...

As opportunities arise, so do Bahá'ís to serve

July 01, 2015 As Counselor Borna Noureddin spoke during Bahá’í National Convention in 2013, Dolores Haghighi was deeply moved. In a talk about capacity building, he urged delegates not to forget those in the wider society against whom all the social forces of the world are working.The more the Rocky River, Ohio, Bahá’í thought about those words, the more she resolved to apply them to a distressing situation: ...

As its teaching committee develops, so does Syracuse cluster

July 01, 2015 If you can dodge the prodigious snowfalls of Syracuse, New York — the average total per annum is highest of any U.S. metropolitan area — a visit there would provide a sparkling example of what the Universal House of Justice has written about the formation and strengthening of Area Teaching Committees.The Jan. 5, 2015, letter on behalf of the House of Justice to the U.S. National Spiritual ...

Area Teaching committees flex new community-building muscle

July 01, 2015 Efforts to strengthen Area Teaching Committee effectiveness were very much on the minds of National Convention delegates. And it turns out a lot of that work involves creating spaces for people to share thoughts and encourage each other.In the northeastern Atlantic States region, a big-picture series of gatherings brings together people at the planning level from several clusters to study ...


Community Building

In Baltimore, community building goes on amid turmoil

July 01, 2015 When Jeffrey Clark stood to speak during consultation at National Convention, fellow delegates leaned forward to hear what Bahá’ís in Baltimore, Maryland, were doing in the wake of turmoil there over the treatment of people of color.In a nutshell, said Clark, “Not much has changed.” Bahá’ís continue to open their homes and invite discussion through “processes and structures and relationships that ...

Ithaca junior youth paint rosy environmental future

July 01, 2015 The vision of junior youths in Ithaca, New York, for the future of their environment is there for everyone to see.Members had performed many acts of service since their junior youth group formed in 2010, says Alba Sancho Pinto, development facilitator for the Ithaca-area cluster of Bahá’í communities.They include step dancing in festivals to raise awareness about the power of youth to make ...

Four Corners Holy Day brings human family together

July 01, 2015 Riḍván is about Bahá’u’lláh’s vision for humanity. A wonderful array of that humanity was present May 2 when people from the Four Corners states of the Southwest met to celebrate the 12th Day of Riḍván.From Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona they — 36 in all, ranging in age from 6 to 70 — converged on La Plata County, Colorado, for the Holy Day.“We are always happy about the diversity of the ...

Beautification project is a feather in Bahá'ís', city's cap

July 01, 2015 Peacocks are fanning out across the southeastern Connecticut city of Norwich. It’s not a natural phenomenon; rather, the aftermath of a striking beautification project undertaken by New London-area Bahá’ís and a junior youth group.The Norwich Community Development Corporation had applied for a grant to paint the staircase that runs next to its three-story building connecting two city streets. The ...

Data from online inquiries help Councils prioritize assistance

July 01, 2015 It’s cause for celebration when, online and through 1-800-22UNITE, people express interest in the Bahá’í teachings or embrace the faith of Bahá’u’lláh.So much more so when they live in an area of the country that has few Bahá’ís and needs willing souls receptive to activity that builds community.Several Regional Bahá’í Councils are using the data on seeker inquiries and online registrations to ...

Seminar builds strength in using statistics to support growth

July 01, 2015 Greater strength in responding to the needs of seekers, and in gathering and sharing statistics to read the reality of our clusters or regions and support the process of growth, was the principal aim of the National Seminar on Seeker Response and Statistics held April 3–5 in Wilmette, Illinois. More than 80 people from across the country gathered to share insights and explore possibilities. They ...

Learning what seekers want: A variety of paths

July 01, 2015 What draws people along a path of seeking toward the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh? The below sampling of initial messages left by people who recently looked into the Bahá’í Faith through the national website (www.bahai.us) or the 800-22UNITE phone line shows these souls, naturally, were attracted via a variety of avenues. Importantly, after initial contact, people ensured that teaching teams at the ...

Pioneers share what two years in Rwanda taught them

July 01, 2015 Richard Wilson and his wife, Anne Grove, are Bahá’ís of several decades’ standing. Both were experienced in core community activities before they ventured from Aurora, Illinois, in 2013 to serve the Faith as international pioneers. But nearly two years’ service in Rwanda — Richard’s first sojourn outside the United States — has conveyed the gift of a deeper and wider understanding of community ...

Internships at Bahá’í schools elevate personal, professional capacities

July 01, 2015 Office of Education and Schools Recent college graduates Charlene-Jade Service and Victoria Lewek have different focuses and goals for their terms as paid interns at permanent national Bahá’í schools. But both see the internship as an opportunity to serve the Faith and the larger community. Like other participants in the Bahá’í Youth Service Corps, they are building their spiritual capacities by ...


In the Life of Society

Looking back, looking ahead: the Commission on the Status of Women as a catalyst for social good

July 01, 2015 By Donna Hakimian for the Office of Public Affairs The first time I heard about the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, I instantly wanted to know more about it, to participate in it somehow. Deep in my soul I was drawn to this ingathering of human rights advocates from every corner of the globe with a shared vision and mission. Since 2012, it has been a singular honor to ...

Parliament of World's Religions set for October in Utah

July 01, 2015 The Bahá’í Faith will have an active presence at the upcoming Parliament of the World’s Religions, Oct. 15–19 in Salt Lake City, the theme of which is “Reclaiming the Heart of Humanity: Working Together for a World of Compassion, Peace, Justice, and Sustainability.”  Under this theme the Parliament is to address three critical issues: climate change and care for creation; war, violence and hate ...

Human rights expert highlights ABS conference in August

July 01, 2015 Nazila Ghanea, associate director of the Oxford Human Rights Hub and a member of the university’s human rights law faculty, will deliver the 33rd Hasan M. Balyuzi Lecture at the annual Conference of the Association for Bahá’í Studies, Aug. 6–9 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County near Los Angeles. Ghanea, whose research work spans many related topics in the Middle East and the United Kingdom, will ...

Global solidarity with seven imprisoned Iranian Bahá’ís

July 01, 2015 A global campaign to call attention to the long and unjust imprisonment of seven Iranian Bahá’í leaders spawned a worldwide outcry on the seventh anniversary of their arrest.In a weeklong campaign starting May 14 — on the theme “Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years in Prison for the Seven Bahá’í Leaders” — individuals and groups raised their voices to denounce the unjust incarceration of the ...

Endowment to ensure continued mission of Bahá'í Chair

July 01, 2015 As the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland expands efforts to fulfill its mission, a new endowment fund will help ensure that the program’s operational expenses are met now and into the future.Contributions toward the Bahá’í Chair Endowment Fund will build up the principal of the endowment, which will be prudently managed under the auspices of the National Spiritual ...


Community Commons

Regional Council elections set for late October

July 01, 2015 The National Spiritual Assembly is pleased to announce the dates of the annual election of the Regional Bahá’í Councils. This year, meetings for the purpose of casting ballots for Council membership may be scheduled by Local Spiritual Assemblies for any time from Monday, Oct. 19, through Sunday, Oct. 25.  The envelope containing the ballots addressed to the chief teller for your respective region ...

Bill DeTally built bridges, served Faith in U.S. and Europe

July 01, 2015 William A. DeTally was a traveling teacher of the Bahá’í Faith on multiple continents and an interracial relationship builder at home. Alongside his wife, he participated in the formative Marion Jack Project in Eastern Europe as the former Soviet Union was becoming more open to the Faith in the early 1990s, and pioneered in Ukraine and Belarus during crucial developmental years. Bill passed away ...

Elaine Caldwell, Knight of Bahá'u'lláh, served in Aleutians and at World Center

July 01, 2015 Elaine C. Caldwell was honored as a Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for moving with her family in 1953 from Great Falls, Montana, to help establish a Bahá’í community in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. She later served for several years at the Bahá’í World Center in Haifa, Israel, and traveled across Alaska and into other continents in service to the Bahá’í Faith.Elaine passed away Dec. 28, 2014, at age 86 in ...

Joyce Booman represented Bahá'ís at international level

July 01, 2015 Joyce J. Booman, a dynamo of service to humanity at many levels of community and family life, was a representative for the Bahá’í International Community at the Vienna offices of the United Nations for several years in the 1980s. She was a co-founder of the Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly serving one of Idaho’s largest cities and a long-standing volunteer in many social service areas including ...

Michael Chunowitz taught Faith across continent, promoted gender equality

July 01, 2015 Michael S. Chunowitz, a five-decade Bahá’í, was active in teaching the Faith and developing its communities in Arizona, Virginia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He also helped organize Bahá’í-inspired gender equality gatherings for men. He passed away August 27, 2014, at age 71. He had lived in Buckeye, Arizona, since returning from the Caribbean in late 2011. In a letter of condolence to his wife, ...


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