Young and old, new and veteran delegates take up sacred duties

April 22, 2019
Young and old, new and veteran delegates take up sacred duties

A number of young adults and first-timers of all ages will be among those who enter the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, April 25 as delegates to the 111th Baha’i National Convention.

As they enjoy the colorful and fragrant gardens along their approach to the nine-sided Temple and the view of Lake Michigan beyond it, these fresh faces from across the United States will join fellow delegates in discharging two sacred duties:

  • Prayerfully elect — by secret ballot in a process that has no nominations or campaigning — the nine members of the National Spiritual Assembly, the governing council that will lead the U.S. Baha’i community in the coming year; and
  • Consult with the National Assembly on progress in such arenas as social and racial justice and the spread of Baha’i-initiated efforts to build community in thousands of neighborhoods nationwide.
2018 U.S. Bahá’í National Convention delegates meet to study together before the opening of last year’s convention. Photo by David Smith

A total of 171 delegates were elected last October in their local units in recognition of their character and experience. The younger delegates have grown up in the vanguard of a process that is expanding the nucleus of people in a neighborhood who actively work for its spiritual and material development.

They include teachers of children’s classes, facilitators of junior youth groups, tutors of training courses and hosts of devotional gatherings. They build relationships with people of all backgrounds in a common quest to remove barriers to universal recognition of the oneness of humanity.

Within that framework they take up their duties this week alongside men and women who in past decades introduced the Baha’i Faith to all corners of the nation and world, built the institutions of the Faith and continue to spread a message of love and hope amid turmoil.

Over the course of four days, delegates will study the latest guidance from the Universal House of Justice, the Baha’i Faith’s global governing council, and hear the thoughts of appointed counselors to Baha’i communities at the national and regional levels as well as reports from the National Assembly.

And at all junctures they will share perspectives from their own experience and that of others who serve in the field — experience measured not in years but in the rich learning their efforts have produced.

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