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...
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.
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...
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...
The art of Dianne Henderson on display this month in the Fireside
CLIMATE CRISIS AND THE BAHÁ’Í VISION
by Jay Howden
audience of 35 gathered at the Ottawa Bahá’í Centre at 211 MacArthur
Avenue for the first evening of the “Big Ideas” series. Diana
Cartwright, a federal civil servant, has dedicated her professional
life to understanding and action on environmental subjects. Her wide
experience, from local activism to international congresses, made her
an ideal presenter, on January 24, of “Environmental Crisis, Climate
Emergency: Looking for Answers in the Bahá’í Revelation”.
Klein wrote,” Cartwright said, “the climate crisis changes everything.”
It invites extremes: while many ignore or even deny climate change,
others despair that we’ve already failed. Yet despite grim assessments
by scientists worldwide and the fires and floods deranging whole
societies, there is hope, she insisted. Bahá’u’lláh made it clear that
humanity is not just theoretically a single thing, but that its unity
and peace are inevitable stages in its evolution. “The
tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as
strangers, He announced. “Ye are the fruits of one
tree, and the leaves of one branch.”
Ms. Cartwright emphasized three concepts. First, she argued, “Climate
change is acting as a catalyst to world unity.” As dire and global as
the effects of warming are – extreme weather catastrophes, the quieter
threats of rising and warming seas – they also prove that national
borders are illusory, and narrow self-interest counterproductive.
Unprecedented, mounting levels of atmospheric carbon are a global
emergency, and there is no hiding from the need to address them
globally, together. We must unite and, as Cartwright pointed out, we
are – though she wishes we moved a little faster!
DEVOTIONAL GATHERING TO FEED BODY AND SOUL
As Wendy James and Bernie Benoit warmly greet people at the door of
their lovely and inviting home, you can already feel the excitement and
joy collecting among the people in the living room. Delicious potluck
foods are filling up the counter in the kitchen, ready to regale the
guests after spiritual food by way of a themed devotional, which begins
with greetings and introductions. Wendy never ceases to amaze all those
present with her capacity to remember everyone’s name, either new or
regulars, which often runs to between 10 and 20 people.
Prayers and writings are spontaneously read and shared, often
interspersed with recorded or live musical renditions of prayers. This
is followed by a collective reading of two pages of quotations from the
Bahá’í writings and other sources on a chosen topic, mostly in English
with some French, out of which a healthy debate takes place among the
WORLD RELIGION DAY PROCLAIMED IN OTTAWA
Mayor Jim Watson proclaimed January 19, 2020 to be World Religion Day
in Ottawa. Deputy Mayor Laura Dudas presented the proclamation at City
Hall to two representatives of the Ottawa Bahá'í community.
The text of
the proclamation highlights Ottawa's rich tradition of interfaith
cooperation, as well as the City's long-standing commitment to
The Bahá’í teachings also emphasize the importance of diversity.
Speaking in Paris in 1911, ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, one of the Central Figures of
the Bahá’í Faith, observed that “[i]f you beheld a garden in
which all the plants were the same as to form, color and perfume, it
would not seem beautiful to you at all, but, rather, monotonous and
dull. The garden which is pleasing to the eye and which makes the heart
glad, is the garden in which are growing side by side flowers of every
hue, form and perfume, and the joyous contrast of color is what makes
for charm and beauty. So is it with trees. An orchard full of fruit
trees is a delight; so is a plantation planted with many species of
shrubs. It is just the diversity and variety that constitutes its
charm; each flower, each tree, each fruit, besides being beautiful in
itself, brings out by contrast the qualities of the others, and shows
to advantage the special loveliness of each and all…The diversity in
the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in
music where many different notes blend together in the making of a
- (PARIS TALKS: Addresses Given by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá in 1911) more...