Local and worldwide Baha’is are marking the 100th anniversary of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the son of Baha’u’llah, founder of the Baha’i Faith, on Saturday.
Local Baha’is are making plans for this occasion, to include presentations during Sunday services at local churches by invitations from clergy; feeding the hungry with an outdoor homemade soup and bread buffet open to all; interfaith devotional gatherings with multi-cultural prayers for unity in our community and world; and the showing of a just-released one hour video prepared at the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, Israel, honoring ‘Abdu’l-Baha and his life. The video will be shown for the public on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. at Moon Mountain Highway in Bingen.
The Baha’i Faith has a long and surprising history in the Gorge, as the Maryhill museum was dedicated by its creator Sam Hill to Queen Marie of Romania, who is historically the first royalty to declare her belief in this then-relatively new faith.
But in addition to Queen Marie, chances are you have several Baha’i neighbors and friends, as the worldwide faith has adherents in most every town and village across the planet. Here in the Gorge, Baha’is have been busy offering spiritual education classes for children and youth to help them learn, grow and develop in ways that benefit them and the world around them and to see themselves as noble beings with an important part to play in contributing to the well being of their communities. Many of you have bought their brownies and apple pies which they baked and sold to raise funds to provide propane heaters to those without heat. The youth also engage in car washes, food drives, neighborly visits to the elderly, cat nurturing at the local cat clinic, and organizing game nights.
One thing that is unique is that these classes are not for Baha’i children only, they are designed for all kids. In fact, pretty much everything the Baha’is do is outward facing instead of congregational, and everyone can be a part of their activities.
There are about 75 Baha’is in the Gorge who meet in each other’s homes — or at least used to, before the pandemic. Now we meet over Zoom, or around a campfire, or on someone’s front porch.
And this November, we will have some very special gatherings as Baha’is all around the world are preparing for the 100th anniversary of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, who was the son of Baha’u’llah, and the center of the faith after the passing of his father. He served as an ambassador for peace and reconciliation and an example for Baha’is and others in how to live a life aligned with the teachings of Baha’u’llah, teachings of service, loving-kindness and unity.
Although the scope of Baha’u’llah’s teachings is as wide as the world, its essence is found in the word “unity.” He taught that beyond all our differences of culture, class, ethnicities, opinions and temperaments, each one of us is a member of one beautifully diverse human family, and each of us has a role to play in carrying forward an ever-advancing civilization — civilization not of material things, but of the true prosperity of humanity.
A quote from the Baha’i Writings which illustrates this is: “Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship.”
To learn more about the Baha’i Faith at www.bahai.us.