Bahá'í Community
of Ottawa

The Official Site of the Bahá'ís of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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...

Big Ideas is taking a summer break!

See you in the fall!

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Ottawa Bahá'í Centre

Bookstore, Library and Info-Centre hours:

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, plus the first and third Saturdays of each month from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.
(Note: closed on Bahá'í Holy Days and civic holidays)

Holiday Hours: Closed from Friday December 22nd to Monday January 1st, and will re-open on Tuesday January 2nd, 2024

Ottawa Bahá'í Centre's online Public Events: click here.

The Bahá'í Faith from A to Z: 26 selected tenets, core beliefs and quotes from the Bahá'í Faith. Read Now!

June 21, 2024

More Than an End to War

“The Great Peace towards which people of goodwill throughout the centuries have inclined their hearts…is now at long last within the reach of the nations…. World peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet…”
From “The Promise of World Peace,” 1985,
by the Universal House of Justice

“The Spiritual Dimensions of Conflict Resolution” was the topic that Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims, an Ottawa Bahá’í with 40 years in the field of Peace and Conflict Studies, assigned herself. It was her second presentation in the “Big Ideas” lecture series (“The Role of Women in Peace,” November 2020), and attracted over 60 online participants on an April evening. It ranged from global principle to local practice.

What is conflict? Is it always destructive? Traditionally, Farhoumand-Sims explained, we have tended to assume that conflict is bad and to be avoided; we believe it is resolved only through “zero-sum” processes, with winners and losers. However, seeing real-world conflict as simply an incompatibility of interests and goals allows those experiencing it to learn how to find resolutions that can be agreeable, or even beneficial, to all parties involved. Consider any war between or among countries, or even a relationship problem. The positions of each side are often very clear, but these are merely the tip of the iceberg; skilled mediators can draw out the interests of each that lie below the surface. more ...

June 6, 2024

Family Camp held at Providence Point, 17-19 May 2024 on ‘Family Life and The Right of God – Ḥuqúqu'lláh’

“… the family unit provides an environment within which such lofty and world-embracing principles can be taught and nurtured. It is the matrix in which generation after generation can be reared in the conviction that the well-being of the individual is inextricably bound to the progress and well-being of others.”
Message from the Universal House of Justice to the Believers in the Cradle of the Faith (Iran), 24 November 2009

With a spirit of joy, fellowship and enthusiastic energy, 20 families – comprising 42 adults, 25 children and 6 youth – gathered together at the Providence Point Bahá’í Centre of Learning near Ottawa during the weekend of 17-19 May 2024, for a family camp on the theme of “Family Life and Ḥuqúqu'lláh.” Reflecting on family life in the context of cooperation, mutual aid and reciprocity, a principle integral to the understanding of the law of Ḥuqúqu'lláh – an individual obligatory payment that in English translates as the Right of God, is a private and unsolicited way of purifying one's possessions – participants spent two days studying these themes in some depth, doing arts and crafts together, and creating new bonds of love and friendship. more ...

March 29, 2024

Propelling Humanity To Justice

“The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee…. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”
— The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh

“The principle of the Oneness of Mankind, as proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh, carries with it no more and no less than a solemn assertion that attainment to this final stage in this stupendous evolution is not only necessary but inevitable…”
— Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh (1938)

When discussing the book that grew out of his 2017 Massey Lectures -- In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey – Payam Akhavan began his "Big Ideas" talk to about 130 people in the Ottawa Bahá’í Centre and attending virtually, by telling the story of Mona Mahmudnizhad.

Summer 2023 marked 40 years since the shocking executions of 10 Bahá’í women in Shiraz, Iran. Mona was 16 when arrested (her “crimes” were teaching children and writing school essays). Her refusal to be cowed by tyrannical threats galvanized young people around the globe. Akhavan, about Mona’s age, living comfortably in Canada after his own family’s escape from Iran, was among them. He often frames his educational achievements (Doctor of Juridical Science, Harvard) and career accomplishments (McGill University Professor of Law, Special Advisor on Genocide to the International Criminal Court) as inspired by Mona’s suffering and sacrifice.

“All the forces of history are propelling humanity towards peace and justice,” Payam Akhavan proclaimed early in his talk, “Climate Change and Small Island States.” Considering that a harrowing chunk of his professional life has been devoted to prosecuting contemporary war criminals, and that he currently advocates for island nations whose very existence is threatened by rising sea levels, his ultimate optimism is remarkable. But he is no wishful thinker: he describes our world’s turbulence and pain as symptoms of the chaotic adolescence of a human race struggling for maturity and points out that global peace and justice will not be achieved without influential global institutions.

They are under construction! From the 1899 Hague Conference calling for war’s elimination came the 1913 opening of the Peace Palace the Great War prompted formation of the League of Nations, and from the Second World War’s carnage arose the stronger (though still inadequate) United Nations; and, of course, the remarkable first prosecutions, in which Akhavan participated, of Balkan War criminals by the International Court of Justice. But still, “We need far more robust institutions. Climate change is the game-changer because nature’s laws are much more compelling than ours!” Climate change, Akhavan continued, “is a matter of our common survival, and highlights that we have one world and one human population.”
more ...

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