Bicentenary website to reflect worldwide celebrations

The following article is from The Bahá’í World News Service.


September 5, 2019 from the BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — A new international website for the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab was launched today.

The website will unfold in stages over the next eight weeks. Currently featuring artistic endeavors created for the occasion, and articles on the lives and teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, the site will expand dynamically over time. A special letter from the Universal House of Justice about the historic anniversary will be published. Dawn of the Light, a feature film commissioned for this upcoming bicentenary, will also be released by the end of this month. The website is available in 10 languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili.

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Walking a Spiritual Path

The following article is from bahai.org.


The Bahá’í teachings emphasize that each person is in charge of his or her own spiritual development. While institutions exist to guide and release energies, and Bahá’í community life is to be characterized by an atmosphere of cordial consultation and encouragement, the responsibility for spiritual growth ultimately rests with each individual. Indeed, there is no clergy in the Bahá’í Faith; the Bahá’í community can neither be described in terms of a pastor and congregation, nor as that of a body of believers led by learned individuals endowed with authority to interpret scriptures.

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The Shrine of the Báb

The following article is from bahai.org. Photo of the Shrine of the Báb copyright © Bahá’í International Community


During the darkest nights of His incarceration, bereft of contact with His devoted followers, the Báb was refused even a lamp by His captors. Today, however, hundreds of thousands of visitors a year are able to view the luminous Shrine that encloses His earthly remains. Bathed in light, each and every night, the Shrine of the Báb is a singular point of attraction on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. The building’s location and harmonious blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles have made it a familiar and well-loved landmark on the Mediterranean coast.

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Art: A Gift of the Holy Spirit

This month we are featuring an article by Jennifer Campbell from BahaiTeachings.org.


Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. – Pablo Picasso

My paternal grandmother gave neighborhood piano lessons; my paternal grandfather taught art in high school, and painted, sculpted, and played French horn. That’s why my sister and I grew up learning about art and music–and we also enjoyed making pots in Grandpa’s kiln. My family is full of artists, musicians, and educators; so the arts have always played an important part in my life.

Before I studied psychology, I majored in art (because I wanted to be an art teacher like my grandpa). Before that, I majored in English (because I wanted to be a writer, too). Like a typical college student, I changed my mind a few times about my future goals and major course of study. Despite my changing college majors, the arts were always part of my studies.

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Youth

The following article is from bahai.org.


“Although your realities are shaped by a broad diversity of circumstances, yet a desire to bring about constructive change and a capacity for meaningful service, both characteristic of your stage of life, are neither limited to any race or nationality, nor dependent upon material means. This bright period of youth you share is experienced by all—but it is brief, and buffeted by numerous social forces. How important it is, then, to strive to be among those who, in the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘plucked the fruit of life’.”

— The Universal House of Justice

Youth have played a vital role in Bahá’í history. The Báb Himself declared His mission when He was but twenty-five years old and so many among the band of His followers were in the prime of their youth when they embraced His Revelation. During the ministries of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, young people were at the forefront of efforts to proclaim the message of the new Faith and to share its teachings with others.

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Seizing the Opportunity: Redefining the Challenge of Climate Change

This month we are featuring a 2008 statement from the Bahá’í International Community.


“The search for solutions to climate change has revealed the limits of traditional technological and policy approaches and has raised difficult questions about justice, equity, responsibility and obligation. What is required is an approach based on the unity which connects us as the inhabitants of one biosphere, the citizens of one world and the members of one human civilization.” ~ Bahai.Org

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Featured Book: A Child’s Baha’i ABC

Please come and check out our newly reorganized bookstore at the Baha’i Center of Washtenaw County!

The bookstore at the Bahá’í Center of Washtenaw County features a variety of books of interest to the members of the Bahá’í community. Prayer books and selections from the writings make up the largest section, and you will also find books on Bahá’í history and current topics. In addition, there are books and materials in languages other than English, interfaith materials and Ruhi books for purchase, as well as a small collection of used books.

The children’s section has been moved to another area of the bookstore, with more space so that books can be easily reviewed. They are also now more accessible to children, and hopefully will generate interaction and questions from children in the community. With that in mind, our featured book this month is a children’s book:

A Child’s Baha’i ABC

By Joan A. Featherstone

This book is a typical alphabet book for young readers, but in place of the more typical objects, the author has substituted Baha’i concepts, important figures, and virtues, with an explanation for each. She has also placed a pertinent quotation from the writings on each page facing the individual letter pages. This is an illustrated book that appears simple at first, but the ideas and history presented is complex enough that a child would most probably read it over and over. The quotations add another layer that will make the book rewarding for adults as well. This book would be a welcome addition to any Baha’i child’s library.

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Participation in the Discourses of Society: A Series from the Baha’i World News Service

This month we are featuring a series of articles from The Bahá’í World News Service (BWNS) – the official news source of the worldwide Bahá’í community.


Representatives of a number of national Baha’i communities recently gathered at the Baha’i World Centre to reflect on the past several years of experience learning about participation in the discourses of society. The Baha’i World News Service took the opportunity to interview groups of representatives about the experiences and insights they have gained in this area of endeavor.


PART ONE: Contributing to social transformation—reflections on Baha’i participation in discourses

2 December 2018
 
BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — In recent years, national Baha’i institutions and regional agencies have been systematically participating in the discourses of society, such as migration and integration, social cohesion, race unity, the role of religion in society, and climate change, to name a few.

The phrase “participation in the discourses of society” is being used more and more to describe the involvement of the Baha’i community in the broad conversations focused on social betterment.

Discourses take place at different levels. Individuals can contribute to discourses in their professions or fields of study. Many individuals and communities are drawn into discourses on issues vital to their neighborhoods and villages. Non-governmental organizations inspired by the Baha’i teachings—for example, in the area of social and economic development—contribute to discourses related to their efforts. The Baha’i community’s formal involvement in discourses related to the well-being and progress of society is facilitated at the national and international levels by offices of external affairs and the Baha’i International Community, respectively.

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Our Giving Nature

The following article is from bahai.org.

“To give and to be generous are attributes of Mine,” wrote Bahá’u’lláh, “well is it with him that adorneth himself with My virtues.”1

Just as a candle’s purpose is to provide light, the human soul was created to give generously. We fulfil our highest purpose in a life of service, in which we offer our time, energy, knowledge, and financial resources. “[Y]e must give forth goodly and wondrous fruits, that ye yourselves and others may profit therefrom.”2

‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written, “…the honor and distinction of the individual consist in this, that he among all the world’s multitudes should become a source of social good.”3 Of course, striving to serve humanity is full of challenges, and pursuing such a life of service implies that one must at times be willing to accept some hardship. Yet to sacrifice in this way is not a cause of sorrow; rather it is a bearer of joy—it involves accepting a degree of discomfort for the wellbeing and happiness of others, renouncing that which is lower for that which is higher. As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated, “dying to the self” enables “the radiance of the living God” to “shine forth”.

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2018 In Review: Progress and Insights


This month we are featuring the article below from The Bahá’í World News Service (BWNS) – the official news source of the worldwide Bahá’í community.


BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — For the Baha’i world, 2018 was marked by a wide range of developments. Through its podcast and written articles, the Baha’i World News Service sought to capture some of these developments and to explore new insights emerging from Baha’i endeavor.

Stories in the past year, which began in the afterglow of the bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s birth, covered a diversity of topics.

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