The Bahá'ís of Ottawa come from a variety of backgrounds, brought together by a common belief in the oneness of humanity and the unity of religion. We work alongside others to become a force of positive change by applying insights from the Bahá'í teachings to bring about a more just, peaceful and unified community.
In addition to personal prayer and meditation, Bahá'í communities hold regular devotional gatherings for collective worship. These gatherings unite people in prayer and awaken their spiritual susceptibilities. more...
Study circles bring groups of people together to deepen their understanding of the Bahá'í teachings through systematic study. This involves structured group discussion of passages from the Bahá'í writings that encourage reflection on one’s moral purpose and capacities for service. more...
Bahá'í children’s classes are offered to all children between 6 and 10 years old for their spiritual education and moral development. The aim of these classes is to inspire in each child a love for our diverse human family and to cultivate a praiseworthy character. They are guided by the Bahá'í belief that children are noble beings with great potential to develop into upright and active participants in their community. more...
Junior youth – or those between 11 and 14 years – are at a crucial stage in their lives when they are defining their identity and values. Junior youth groups offered by the Bahá'í community address the needs of these young people by helping them to develop a strong moral identity and to empower them to contribute to the well-being of their communities. more...
Thank you! Our website team is losing a valued member…our statistical analyst Bill McCurdy. Bill and his wife Judy are moving to Thunder Bay to be with their daughter and her expanding family. Gentle, soft-spoken but packing a huge heart and a first-rate brain, Bill has always expressed an unswerving willingness to serve. We want to thank Bill and Judy for the dedication they have brought to both the Ottawa Bahá'í community and the Ottawa Bahá'í website. We will miss your quiet wisdom, Bill, and thanks for making all these stats so comprehensive and navigable!
Big Ideas is on summer vacation.
Check back this fall for more of our engaging and thought-provoking presentations.
Have a great summer!
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Ottawa Bahá'í Centre
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm - (closed on Bahá'í Holy Days and civic holidays)
Ottawa Bahá'í Centre's online Public Events: click here.
July 28, 2022
And to think it all happened on Frances Street!
Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.” “Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.
Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.”
Do you remember the derecho? Just a few hundred metres from the St. Laurent transit hub is a bungalow that, like most of the homes in the eastern part of Overbrook, was cut off from power for seven days. It had already become something of a neighbourhood hotspot, hosting planning meetings for community development and marshalling junior youth and children’s classes – including the two little fellows who direct Safiya and Samuel Benoit’s usual routine.
Because of their existing network of neighbourhood families and friends, it was natural for the “Benoit Bhavan” [home] to become a local hub. A near-neighbour in a home that hadn’t lost power offered service as a charging station. However, it was what took place, over six long days, in the Benoit backyard/play centre/outdoor classroom that was especially wonderful.
By the second day of the outage, three friends with Indian ties “got excited about building a village stove,” Sam laughed, of the kind found in rural India. A brick rectangle was assembled, into whose open end were fed lengths of wood trimmed from cedar hedges. The word was quickly spread: if you have frozen food that you can contribute to a neighbourhood pot before it spoils, come on over!
It was an amazing sight. Friends from homes with power were able to contribute some hot dishes (and on one hot day, a couple of tubs of ice cream disappeared quickly, too!) But mainly, existing and fresh connections from across the street and around the corner united to feed, befriend and support one another. During the period of powerlessness, dozens of mums and dads and kids and buddies spent much of the day together, sharing tea and talk, snacks and songs, meals and learning (and more tea!). People came to better understand the ideas and convictions behind the junior youth and children’s education happening on their block, not to mention keeping the lucky pot of what’s in there now? boiling. Meanwhile, other power-free homes had water heaters that kept working, so the Benoit boys got to have bath-time in several neighbourhood tubs. more ...
June 20, 2022
Mind, Body and Spirit: The Journey of the Soul
Speak thou no word of politics; thy task concerneth the life of the soul, for this verily leadeth to man’s joy in the world.”
Prior to drinking the hemlock as punishment for impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens, when the philosopher Socrates stood before the judges, in his defense he stated that death was either total annihilation and a release from worry or a promotion to a higher plain of existence. He said that he looked forward to meeting with the great departed figures of Ancient Greece such as Homer, the poet Hesiod and the hero Odysseus.
Bahá’í scholar and author Jack McLean prefaced his talk on the nature and journey of the soul by stating his belief in the soul, and that to him, if there’s no immortal soul, what ‘s the point of the journey (of life)? He delved into the teachings on the nature of the soul by the three great ancient Greek philosophers (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle), whose teachings are the foundation of so much of Western philosophy and the sciences today. Bahá’ulláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá’í Faith, wrote that Socrates was the most distinguished of all philosophers.
Socrates stated that the soul is an immortal entity, a rational soul capable of thought and expression independent of the human body, teachings he gleaned from Jewish sages he had met who taught him the oneness of God according to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of Bahá’u’lláh. Plato further developed the concept of the soul in his Republic, associating it with three parts of the body: the head (reason and logic), the heart (emotion and virtues), and the stomach and reproductive organs (appetites). Aristotle, on the other hand, believed that the soul was the form of the body, which disintegrates at death. However, he also believed that parts of the soul survived death and was different from the body it inhabited, but in what capacity is not clear. more ...
May 17, 2022
Lighting Up the Territories: Bahá’ís in Canada’s North
“Attach great importance to the indigenous population of America… should they be educated and guided, there can be no doubt that they will become so illumined as to enlighten the whole world…”
— ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, April 9, 1916
The “Heroic Age” of the Bahá’í Faith – spanning the missions of its central Figures, including ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, the founder Bahá’u’lláh’s son and interpreter – lasted from 1844-1921, the year of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing. Last year, Bahá’ís marked the centenary of the “Formative Age” of the community as it established institutions worldwide and emerged from obscurity. Amid whispers of spring, as part of the Big Ideas series, Ottawa’s Leslie Cole surveyed a remarkable facet of the Formative Age: the growth of the Faith in Canada’s territorial North. Ms. Cole embraced the Bahá’í Faith in Yukon, and has studied, lived and worked in domestic and international Arctic territories for years. Her talk, titled ‘Under One Tent,’ was the fruit of her research for a forthcoming book.
Late in His life, ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá wrote a series of letters to the North American believers, then a tiny group, outlining his “Divine Plan” for the spread of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings. Among His many instructions included the inestimable value of teaching the Faith to indigenous peoples. Letters to the Canadian Bahá’ís specifically named five Northern territories in Canada (Yukon, Mackenzie, Keewatin, Franklin and Ungava) and repeatedly emphasized the importance of the Indigenous and Inuit peoples in the development of a future Bahá’í community.
Late in His life, ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá wrote a series of letters to the North American believers, then a tiny group, outlining his “Divine Plan” for the spread of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings. Among His many instructions included the inestimable value of teaching the Faith to indigenous peoples. Letters to the Canadian Bahá’ís specifically named five Northern territories in Canada (Yukon, Mackenzie, Keewatin, Franklin and Ungava) and repeatedly emphasized the importance of the Indigenous and Inuit peoples in the development of a future Bahá’í community. more ...
"Episodes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá" is a series of articles Commemorating the Centenary of the Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá November 28, 1921.
Dawn of the Light portrays several individuals from different continents as they relate their own personal search after truth and meaning. They share their discovery that God has sent two Divine Manifestations —the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. Watch or download the film here.
The Bahá'í world eagerly anticipated the second historic bicentenary in Bahá'í history. October 2019 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Báb, the forerunner and herald of the Bahá'í Faith. Visit the website here.