This page was created to provide up-to-date information about impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Bahá’í programs and activities in the United States.
The National Spiritual Assembly, elected governing body of the U.S. Bahá’í community, has been monitoring developments closely, consulting with experts in the field and following advisories published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other recognized public health authorities.
At the moment, COVID-19 has been given pandemic status by the World Health Organization. The worldwide spread of the COVID-19 virus is already affecting many facets of our daily lives, and its impact is expanding daily. We will update this page regularly as conditions change.
Last updated: April 3, 2020
Bahá’í National Center
The Bahá’í national administrative offices in Evanston and Wilmette, Illinois, as well as satellite offices in other cities, are closed until further notice. Provisions are being made for staff to work from home wherever possible and for essential functions to be carried out.
The Bahá’í House of Worship and Welcome Center
The Bahá’í House of Worship and Welcome Center in Wilmette, Illinois are closed until further notice. The gardens are open as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.
All planned programs and activities have been suspended through the end of May, including upcoming holy day programs, daily devotions, firesides, discussion groups, introductory presentations and children’s classes. The only exception is the Choral Music Festival scheduled for May 21-24. A decision on whether to cancel the Festival will be made by mid-April. Sign up for the House of Worship eNewsletter or check this site for updates.
Bahá’í National Convention
The annual Bahá’í National Convention, previously scheduled for April 23-26, has been cancelled. Arrangements are being made to conduct the annual election of the National Spiritual Assembly through mail-in ballots. More information about National Convention will be shared through the Bahá’í Member Services website (log-in required).
Local Bahá’í community activities and gatherings
Given that circumstances and risk levels at present vary greatly across the country, the appropriate local Bahá’í institutions will decide on a case by case basis whether or not to suspend local Bahá’í gatherings—such as Nineteen Day Feasts, Annual Meetings, and other community activities. Local and regional Bahá’í institutions are encouraged to heed the advice of local public health authorities and to implement whatever protective measures may be recommended in each area.
For assistance in contacting your local Bahá’í community, call 1-880-22-UNITE (1-800-228-6483) or go to www.bahai.us/contact.
As an aid to local planning, please see the CDC guidelines addressed specifically to community- and faith-based organizations.
Alternatives to meetings and gatherings
Wherever feasible, Local Spiritual Assemblies and other responsible Bahá’í institutions should feel free to explore alternative means of meeting, such as livestreaming and videoconferencing, for those friends who feel that they cannot attend gatherings in person.
A spiritual perspective on the current crisis
“Perhaps our best response to what we may face in the days ahead is to meet it with the confidence, the positive attitude, the loving concern and care for our spiritual sisters and brothers that our teachings inspire. If we—as communities across the world have in recent days—find ourselves restricted in our movements, let us reach out to those around us to the extent that we can and find ways to assist them; let us use the time to engage in prayer, in reflection on the Word of God, and in meaningful conversations with family members, friends, and neighbors. Let us show them by our attitude and actions that bright hope and true shelter and asylum from every dire adversity can only be found under the wing of the “protection, preservation, guard and custody” of the Divine Physician, Bahá’u’lláh.”
— letter from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, March 11, 2020