Bahá’ís and friends enjoying 20th Anniversary Picnic
What is the Bahá’í Faith?
The Bahá’í Faith is a world religion whose members believe in
One Loving Creator
One Unfolding Religion
One Human Family
The Bahá’í Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent religions that was founded in 1844 and has been present in Canada since 1898. Bahá’ís live in 235 countries and territories throughout the world. They come from over 2100 ethnic, racial, and tribal groups and number some five million worldwide. The Bahá’í Faith is based on the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh which emphasize the oneness of humanity, the oneness of God and the fundamental oneness of religion.
The common thread throughout the global Bahá’í community is the belief:
- that Bahá’u’lláh is the Messenger of God for this time period in history
- that the Bahá’í writings and practices have the power to transform individual lives
- that the Bahá’í teachings have the ability to revitalize and reshape our families and community.
Bahá’í Community in Parksville, BC
The beginning of the Bahá’í Community in Parksville emerged in 1979 and has been tirelessly working at promoting individual and collective spiritual transformation through devotional meetings, study circles, and the moral education of children and youth. Bahá’ís and friends are exploring how to translate Bahá'u'lláh’s spiritual teachings into action for the betterment of our local community and the world. The primary goal is to build spiritual and moral capacities in order to be of greater service to humanity.
Meetings and events in Parksville, BC and the surrounding Oceanside area are held in our homes or in rented public spaces. We invite you to learn more about the Bahá’í Faith and get involved in the transformative neighborhood activities taking place throughout our city. Together with thousands of other communities across the world, we are working to build a peaceful global society from the community up!
Who is Bahá’u’lláh?
Entrance to the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh
Over 150 years ago, Bahá'u'lláh declared that the Day promised by all religions of the past had arrived.
Bahá'u'lláh ("Glory of God" in Arabic) was born to a noble family in Tihrán, the capital of Persia, in 1817. He was well-known for his insightfulness and depth of understanding as a young child, despite receiving little formal education. When He grew older, He declined a position offered in the King's court, choosing instead to spend His time tending to the sick, poor, and oppressed. He became known as the "Father of the Poor" for His generosity and assistance to those in need.
In 1844, a Youth entitled the Báb ("Gate" in Arabic) declared in Persia that "He whom God shall make manifest" would soon appear, one who would usher in a new age for humanity, and that all should prepare themselves for His coming. For declaring their belief in His message, thousands upon thousands of people across Persia were imprisoned or killed, including Bahá'u'lláh, who was placed under 110-pound chains in a dungeon below Tihran.
He was soon exiled to Baghdad with His family, suffered to travel by foot through the snowy mountains in the depth of winter. However, He never ceased to shower His love upon those surrounding Him. Everywhere He went, people of all social, racial and political backgrounds began to seek His insight, compassion and guidance.
It was outside Baghdad, in what He referred to as the Garden of Ridvan ("Paradise") that Bahá'u'lláh declared to those around Him that He was the Promised One of all ages, for whose advent people across the world had been waiting. Despite being tortured, imprisoned and exiled from city to city across the Middle East, He shared His message of love, unity and peace throughout the world.
In books, tablets and letters revealed to followers, inquirers, and the kings and rulers of His time, He revealed the principles and teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, provided laws and ordinances to guide humanity through this new age, and prescribed a system by which humanity could put aside its differences and live in unity.
In His final years, He was banished to the prison-city of Akka in what was then Palestine. Although a prisoner, He established His ascendancy through His love, the devotion and transformation in the lives of His followers, and the light that has inspired millions across the world to give all they have to serve mankind.
To unite the hearts of humanity
To bring peace and justice to the world
To guide humanity through its development in a new age
How do Bahá’ís worship?
Interior of the Continental Bahá’í House of Worship of Australasia (Sydney, Australia)
Absence of ritual
There is no clergy in the Bahá’í Faith. Bahá’u’lláh taught that in an age of universal education, there was no longer a need for a special class of clergy. Instead, He provided a framework for administering the affairs of the Faith through a system of elected councils at the local, national and international levels.
Religious services are very simple. Individuals will read or chant prayers and quotes from the Baha'i Writings which will be interspersed with beautiful music. There is no rigid form so the spiritual service varies in a rich diversity depending on where it is taking place in the world. Some devotional meetings will include the reading of quotes from the Bible, Qur'an, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism among others. There are no congregational prayers except for the Prayer for the Dead.
Worship and Service
The main purpose of life for a Bahá'í is to know and love God. Service and worship are at the heart of the pattern of community life that Bahá’ís around the world are trying to bring into being. Service and worship are two distinct yet inseparable elements that propel the life of the community forward.
“Success and prosperity depend upon service to and worship of God”. Bahá’í Writings
Worship is more than just prayer and meditation. It takes on a new meaning in the Bahá'í Faith. Work performed in the spirit of service to humanity is a form of worship.
"There are no solitaries and no hermits among the Bahá'ís. Man must work with his fellows. Everyone should have some trade, or art or profession, be he rich or poor, and with this he must serve humanity. This service is acceptable as the highest form of worship."
A painter asked: “Is art a worthy vocation?” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá turning to her impressively, said: “Art is worship.” Bahá’í Writings
Bahá’ís turn to God daily in private prayer as well as meeting together for communal worship in Houses of Worship, in their homes or rented places.
The emphasis is on prayer and meditation that result in individual transformation and social action.
"Say, O brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning." Bahá'u'lláh
What do Bahá’ís do?
Bahá’ís introduce children, youth, and adults to spiritual ideas that foster development of the capacity to serve and build a strong community.
Bahá’ís regularly join with friends and neighbours in devotional meetings for collective worship. Because there is no ritual or clergy in the Baha'i Faith devotional gatherings are often held in people's homes or in public places and they are diverse in form. Prayer and reflection upon sacred scriptures are at the heart of such programs. Everyone is welcome to attend these meetings—one may simply sit, meditate and enjoy the spiritual atmosphere, or take a more active role.
Bahá’ís and friends gather together in study circles to stimulate conversations that illuminate understanding into the Bahá’í teachings.
The goal of the study of the Creative Word
- to translate into action what one has learned
- to develop along with others the capacity for service
- to accompany one another in the exercise of what has been learned.
Education of Children and Youth
Bahá’ís see the young as the most precious treasure a community can possess. In them are the promise and guarantee of the future. Yet, in order for this promise to be realised, children need to receive spiritual nourishment. In a world where the joy and innocence of childhood can be so easily overwhelmed by the aggressive pursuit of materialistic ends, the moral and spiritual education of children assumes vital importance.
"Among the greatest of all great services is the education of children, and promotion of the various sciences, crafts and arts." Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 276
The primary goal of this education is the development of a moral compass that will help them navigate through an ever-changing world. The children's classes and junior youth groups serve to provide a safe space to build friendships. These programs are achieved through the help of volunteers.
Anyone can attend these activities or serve as a volunteer.
Education of children focused on acquiring virtues such as truthfulness, generosity, purity of heart, and kindness.
These groups teach crucial moral, spiritual and ethical skills that empower 12-14 years old to become focused, happy and productive teenagers and young adults.