The first Baha’i Local Spiritual Assembly in Samoa, 1957. (Photo: Lilian Ala’i)
This year marks the 60th Anniversary of the Baha’i Faith in Samoa, and last week the Baha’is and their friends got together to celebrate – and there’s a lot to celebrate about!
Besides being a part of what Shoghi Effendi calls The Spiritual Axis, Samoa is recognised as the first nation in the world where the reigning monarch, His Highness Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II, accepted the message of Baha’u’llah and became a Baha’i. His Highness was already aware of the Baha’i Faith, however in 1968, after the “Proclamation to the Kings” by Baha’u’llah was presented to him by visiting Hand of the Cause Dr. Ugo Giachery on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, the king declared his belief in Baha’u’llah.
Recalling the early days of the Faith in Samoa, His Highness had once said:
My brother (High Chief Savea, a retired judge) knew so much about the Baha’i teachings. He was the first of us to study this new religion. During the early years of independence we witnessed many denominations being established, but the Baha’i Faith was so different, its teachings, its approach to people, its concern for the meek and lowly, its lack of interest in worldly things, its regenerating spirit. I was readily attracted.
Here at Baha’i Blog we’re huge fans of Baha’i related media content, and one of the things we really want to do is to help Baha’is discover all of the wonderful new Baha’i media-related initiatives happening around the world. Now it’s one thing to discover new Baha’i musicians, albums, videos and the like, but getting your hands on their products can often be difficult… so welcome 9 Star Media!
9StarMedia.com showcases the best in Baha’i inspired music, audio books and film, and they’ve created a single outlet to discover, preview, and purchase the best the Baha’i community has to offer. Think “iTunes for Baha’i Media”, but they go even one step further by offering physical media sales (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray) as well as wholesale sales to Baha’i bookstores, communities, and distribution services around the world.
9 Star Media was started by a couple of good friends of mine named Jon and Auntieclare Rezin. They live in California and Jon works in the music business. I decided to touch base with them to find out more about 9 Star Media and what it’s all about. Oh, and they’re also giving Baha’i Blog readers a nice discount (shown at the bottom of the post), so read on! Continue reading
Junior Youth in Banting Malaysia. (Photo: Baha’i World Centre)
Most Baha’is, both young and old, can accept that the future of our community and the driving force behind its growth will be the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program – or JYSEP.
What fewer Baha’is can reconcile with is their role within this movement. There are children who become junior youth, and junior youth who become participants, and “older” youth who become the animators that accompany them.
And then there’s the rest of us.
If you’re a youth in spirit though not in reality, you may feel you are on the periphery of a phenomenon. As we are encouraged more and more to support the youth, to support this Program, it is easy to ask, “But, how?” if you are neither a youth nor part of this Program.
It is, of course, never too late to become an animator of a junior youth group, particularly if you are in a cluster, community or neighbourhood, in which the need outweighs the available resources.
If, for whatever reason, serving as an animator is not feasible for you, there are still a number of ways you are able to contribute to the JYSEP. Continue reading
The Baha’i House of Worship in Panama City, Panama (Photo: Baha’i Media Bank)
My mother often comments that she feels as though the annual Ridvan letters of the beloved Universal House of Justice to the Baha’is of the world are written specifically to her – there is always one sentence or one paragraph that strikes her to her very core and that makes the whole letter very personal and relevant. I don’t always feel the lightning bolt that she does but over time, I find myself mulling over morsels and sentences like a squirrel with acorns in its cheeks.
I am still delighting in the Ridvan message of 2012. It stirringly portrays the current state of affairs, framed by a historical account of the Master’s travels to the West and a vision of the work to be done in the coming years. It joyously announces the seven new Houses of Worship to be built: two new national temples, one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the other in Papua New Guinea, and five local temples in Battambang, Cambodia; Bihar Sharif, India; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Norte del Cauca, Colombia; and Tanna, Vanuatu. The House of Justice writes: Continue reading
When Abdu’l-Baha was asked how we could acquire perfections in the face of life’s obstacles, he gave what is my all time favourite Baha’i quote: “Little by little, day by day”. The standards that we strive towards as Baha’is are high. Mightily so. It’s all too easy to feel like a spiritual dwarf in the face of such a high bar. But as always Abdu’l-Baha has given us a most practical answer to the most staggering of questions. And in that answer is a powerful tool for sculpting oneself to become the Baha’i you want to be: Habit. Continue reading
Mr. Hartmut and Mrs. Ursula Grossmann were the keynote speakers at the recent North Island Baha’i Summer School in New Zealand at the end of December 2013, and the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of New Zealand have given Baha’i Blog four of Mr. Grossmann’s audio talks for you to listen to.
Currently residing in Finland, the Grossmann’s are originally from Germany and Mr. Grossmann is a former member of both the International Teaching Centre and the Universal House of Justice, until he retired in 2008.
We’ve been asked to remind everyone that Mr. Grossmann gave these talks as an individual Baha’i, and not as a representative of the Universal House of Justice.
You can listen to these talks by either streaming them live from our site or by downloading them.
If you’d prefer to download the talks to your computer, just click on the link to the talk below and the word “Download” will appear at the bottom right of the audio player. Now just click on the word “Download” to begin downloading the file.
Also, if anyone is interested in the DVD of these talks (which will also include Mrs. Grossmann’s presentations), you can order it by contacting: email@example.com
We hope you enjoy these talks as much as we do, and we’d like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Grossmann and the organizers of the summer school and the National Spiritual Assembly of New Zealand for making these talks available to us all!
Happy listening! Continue reading
Participants at the 2013 Sydney Youth Conference worked together on creative presentations about the themes being studied. (Photo: Baha’i World Centre)
Prior to attending one of the 114 worldwide youth conferences
in Sydney, Australia, I was grappling with the concept of coherence and what it looked like in reality to live a life that was not fragmented. I would look at all the different components in my life and wonder how it was possible for each of them to tie seamlessly together while still devoting my time to the progress of the Five Year Plan
. I saw myself as a mother, a wife, a journalist, a Baha’i – with each aspect having its own distinct purpose.
The paragraph below, taken from the youth conference participant materials, expands on this idea of coherence: Continue reading
Euphemia (Effie) Eleanor Baker, 25 March, 1880 – January 1, 1968.
As most of the world celebrates the new year, January 1st also commemorates the passing of someone special: Effie Baker. In fact, if you visit bahaullah.org (a wonderful photographic narrative of the life of Baha’u’llah) you’ll notice that many of the photographs of 1930’s Iran are credited to Effie Baker. A western Baha’i woman photographer in Iran in those days? I was a fish on a hook and needed to know more.
Effie (a nickname for Euphemia) Eleanor Baker was born 25 March, 1880 in Goldsborough, Australia. She was petite but energetic and had brown hair and blue eyes. Her childhood was spent with her grandparents in Ballarat. Her grandfather founded the Ballarat Observatory and if you visit it today, you can still see a specimen of his award-winning astronomical work: a 26 inch telescope called “The Baker”. Effie inherited an enthusiasm for science, a facility with technical instruments, and a keen observing eye from her grandfather. For a turn-of-the-century country girl, Effie was very well educated and when she wasn’t at school, she could be found exploring the countryside on a white pony named Nugget.
Effie studied and then worked as a visual artist. Armed with a formal understanding of colour, light and composition, Effie became enamored with photography. She also excelled at toy-making at a time when imported toys were scarce in Australia. In 1914 she published Australian Wild Flowers, a small volume of hand-painted photographs of local flora.
The turning point in her life was when she heard Hyde Dunn speak publicly about the Baha’i Faith in 1922. He and his wife Clara responded to the Master’s Tablets of the Divine Plan by moving to Australia two years prior. Effie noticed something radiant about Hyde’s face and during his talk, she wholeheartedly accepted the Faith. Continue reading
As the birth of Jesus Christ approaches, I reflect on Christ’s wonderful revelation and the profound impact His message of love and fellowship has had on the world.
While busy preparing for their Christmas festivities with their friends and family, many of my friends ask me whether Baha’is believe in Christ.
Indeed we do. Baha’u’llah refers to Christ as the…
Lord of the visible and invisible.
And in a letter to a Christian, Abdu’l-Baha explained that…
to be a Christian is to embody every excellence there is.
Although throughout history, individuals have often used religion for their own gain and used it as an instrument for segregation and war, one cannot downplay the beauty and profound impact the revelation of Christ has had on earth. Christ’s message of love continues to vibrate throughout the world, and one could argue that one of the proofs of His divine message is the fact that His revelation, although written down and compiled some 50 years after His passing, continues to transform the hearts of millions around the globe – even today – some 2,000 years later. Continue reading
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States recently released a wonderful new video entitled Done Made My Vow to the Lord: The Baha’i Black Men’s Gathering 1987–2011.
The Baha’i Black Men’s Gathering started over 20 years ago when a group of 12 American men of African descent gathered in a hotel lobby in Greensboro, North Carolina. They came from different parts of the United States, and they came after being invited by Billy Roberts, an Auxiliary Board Member at the time who had noticed that there were very few black males serving on institutions in the Baha’i community of the US. Billy Roberts was also concerned about the state of the black man in North America, as there was a tremendous discourse going on at the time in the US especially, about how black men were an endangered species. Continue reading