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...
"Spiritual Dimensions of Conflict Resolution”
With Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims
Friday, February 9, 2024, 7:30 EST
To download the poster about this presentation, click here.
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For details about this series, click here.
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.
January 4, 2024
Spirit and Secularity: Why Can’t We Be Friends?
The heights which, through the most gracious favor of God, mortal man can attain, in this Day, are as yet unrevealed to his sight….The day, however, is approaching when the potentialities of so great a favor will, by virtue of His behest, be manifested unto men…. All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization….Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth.
— Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, CIX —
Harold Rosen sees the world differently. Long a Unitarian minister, now an interfaith educator and Bahá’í for over 20 years, Mr. Rosen gave a well-organized tour of an immense subject in an online talk in the “Big Ideas” series. He sought to untangle and resolve a false trichotomy: the prevailing belief that formal religion, spirituality and the workaday secular world are exclusive and mutually antagonistic worldviews. Rosen’s thesis was clear and profound: “We need all three!”
Put simply, the religious perspective is based on a relationship with the Divine world and expresses how devotion to a great religious Founder ends in community. Our common “spiritual-but-not-religious” stance focuses on lofty purposes, seeking meaning and harmony via an expanded consciousness. Secularity as a worldview addresses human progress through the needs of daily living: work, education, health and family. Naturally, each worldview has some overlap with the other two, but are usually considered in isolation. (Rosen distinguishes “secularity” from the ideological “secularism” that rejects religion and spirituality entirely.)
When one worldview rigidly excludes the other two, it falls into various forms of dogmatism. But Rosen argues that the intersection of religion and spirituality urges renewal of tradition and moral progress; the meeting of spirituality and secularity envisions conscious social evolution and higher human possibilities; and the conjunction of secularity and religion focuses on good works toward justice and peace. One step farther is found in the realm of the “unifiers”, where we draw from the best of all three perspectives in order to integrate, cooperate and build together. This, of course, is where the Bahá’ís and their friends try to locate themselves.
“The distinction among the religious, spiritual and secular worldviews is roughly 500 years old,” Rosen explained. “Before the year 1500 C.E., we rarely pried them apart for examination.” Before then, personal and group perspectives tended to be more holistic. As we have advanced from ethics based on survival (constant danger, scarcity and anarchy) to ones founded upon identity (seeking advantage for one’s own tribe over others), we are now learning how to apply a “unity-based” worldview: recognition of one human family, pursuing shared progress while valuing the diversity of all. For Rosen, the “unifying” place where religion, secularity and spirituality meet is another way of expressing this worldview of what he calls “at-homeness in the world”. more ...
Novermber 23, 2023
Second Annual Environmental Fair held at the Ottawa Bahá’í Centre
On September 30, the Ottawa Bahá’í Centre hosted the Second Annual Environment Fair organized by the Ottawa Cluster Environmental Group, a social action initiative of Bahá’ís and their friends from across the city of Ottawa.
“We were very happy to welcome new participants and exhibitors this year,” said Sherri Kelly, one of the event’s organizers.
About 85 visitors and exhibitors took part. It was great to welcome new exhibitors this year, such as CAFES Ottawa, Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability, which advocates for biodiversity, healthy forests and tree canopy, climate action, and supporting the City of Ottawa’s transition to sustainable waste management. The Ottawa Wildflower Seeds Library distributed free native seeds and provided advice on planting and care. The Rotary Club of Ottawa South shared information on its service projects including its Environmental Service. There was also a Kids’ Zone where children could play the recycling game, colour and look at picture books with an environmental theme.
A number of popular exhibits from last year returned, including a tree seedling give-away, information on community gardens, attracting pollinators, and CSAs (community supported agriculture) that offer weekly vegetable baskets to subscribers. Greening Sacred Spaces, an organization providing information and assistance to faith communities on green initiatives. Several electric cars owned by Ottawa Bahá’ís were a hit once again and one of Ottawa’s carsharing Communauto vehicles was an interesting addition. Ottawa’s Carbon Capture Day Event team also returned. They distributed a paper on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and capturing and sequestering carbon through green spaces. more ...
October 28, 2023
George Ronald Publisher celebrate 80th Anniversary
This past spring, two members of the Ottawa Bahá'í community, Linda O'Neil and Heather Harvey, were thrilled to be part of the celebrations for the 80th Anniversary of the much beloved and prolific Bahá'í publishing company, George Ronald. Invitations had been sent out around the world to authors, book distributors, editors, illustrators, and others who had contributed to George Ronald over the years, and about 80 gathered for two days of events in a small village just outside of Oxford, England.
"I was so honoured and excited to be invited," said Heather Harvey, past manager of the Ottawa Bahá'í bookstore. "I had some money put aside from a trip that was cancelled at the beginning of the pandemic and couldn't think of a better way to use it."
Linda O'Neil added, "I was thrilled to meet Bahá'í authors I had long admired, such as Katherine Jewett Hogeson who wrote the recent biography of Horace Holley, and Earl Redman who has published many volumes of Bahá'í history."
The weather was gorgeous, roses were in bloom, and about 80 participants spent two days together listening to details of each other's projects and attending a presentation on the history and operations of the company. Not only were new friends made, but people who had only met on Zoom or by email were able to get to know each other in person. more
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