Commemoration of Twin Holy Days in Westminster Central Hall

IMG_4707

Friends gather during official programme to commemorate Twin Holy Days Celebration.

 

LONDON, 17 November 2015 – UK Members of Parliament and the House of Lords joined a diverse range of civil society and inter-faith representatives to celebrate the Bahá’í Twin Holy Days, commemorating the births of the twin Founders of the Bahá’í Faith, The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.

Louise Ellman MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Friends of the Bahá’ís Group, welcomed all those gathered and highlighted that the “special” celebration of the Twin Holy Days, which was celebrated in over 200 communities around the world, coincided with the launch of the Badí calendar.

FullSizeRender

Louise Ellman MP welcomes all those gathered.

The launch of a new Bahá’í calendar represents a new chapter in the development of the Bahá’í Faith. Each month in the Bahá’í calendar is named after an attribute or quality of God. These attributes include, among others, Beauty, Splendour, Honour, and also a month of Questions. Mindful of the power of questions posed in a loving spirit of enquiry, Bahá’ís around the world are striving to explore with like minded others, how to align one’s inner life with these attributes, in order to contribute towards the betterment of neighbourhoods and communities.

In a message addressed to all those gathered at the celebration, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon acknowledged the efforts of Bahá’ís in working to strengthen and reinforce bonds of unity within communities, stating that, “The Baha’i community’s contribution to building stronger and cohesive nations are reflective of the words of Baha’u’llah when he said ‘the earth is but one country and mankind its citizens…These are sentiments which resonate with people of all faiths and none, and underline the shared values of humanity”.

Referring to the various conflicts and distressing events occurring around the world, Annabel Djalili, speaking on behalf of the Bahá’í community, acknowledged the many disintegrating forces that are challenging our society today, whilst at the same time asked how we can empower ourselves and other to be forces of integration, contributing to the advancement of civilisation. Mrs Djalili invited the gathering to reflect upon the role religion can play in unlocking the potential in people to become positive agents of change at the heart of society.

Luke Slott performs music composed to Baha'i Writings

Luke Slott performs music composed to Baha’i Writings.

The programme for this momentous occasion closed with music composed to the words of Bahá’u’lláh, “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth”, reminding all those gathered of the powerful force of unity.

An integral part of the evening consisted of the uplifting conversations held between all those gathered, and the enriching explorations of pertinent themes relating to contributing towards social cohesion and the betterment of our society.

Lord Ahmad joins UK Bahá’ís to commemorate Ascension of `Abdu’l-Bahá

Members of the Bahai community and Lord Ahmad sit together during the programme, which included prayers and music

Music and prayers are shared as part of the programme

On 28th November 2014, a group of Bahá’ís from all over London gathered to welcome a visit from the Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to the National Bahá’í Centre in London, to mark the commemoration of the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

As part of the visit, prayers and music were shared, as well as stories of how ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life exemplified the Bahá’í teachings of love for humanity and service, and how He built ties of friendship with people from all walks of life.

After a tour of the building, Lord Ahmad spent some time meeting and speaking with members of the UK Bahá'í community

Members of the Bahá’í community speaking with Lord Ahmad

The anniversary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing provided an opportunity for those gathered to reflect on the development of their own spiritual qualities and how they could be directed towards service.

In addressing those present, Lord Ahmad spoke about how ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words on the need for love to conquer hate were in harmony with his own beliefs. He expressed the view that our faiths could be seen as different paths leading us towards the same goal, which we walk together in mutual respect.

He then enjoyed a tour of the building and the opportunity to meet with a diverse representation of the Bahá’í community and discuss with them their efforts to build ties of friendship and community in their neighbourhoods.

During his visit Lord Ahmad impressed upon the Bahá’í community the need for the universal principles and values it upholds to be shared more widely with society.

Lord Ahmad speaking with members of the Bahá'í community

Lord Ahmad speaking with members of the Bahá’í community

Bahá’í Centre hosts inter-faith storytelling evening

Rabbi Dr Thomas Salamon shares a story from the Jewish tradition.

Rabbi Dr Thomas Salamon shares a story from the Jewish tradition.

The UK Bahá’í community hosted an evening of interfaith storytelling at the National Bahá’í Centre in London on 20th November.

This was one amongst a variety of contributions offered by the many faith groups who supported Interfaith Week this year. The event was supported and attended by representatives from the Department of Communities and Local Government alongside a colourful array of individual guests from the UK’s diverse religious communities.

The programme included stories shared by members of the Bahá’í, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish communities, alongside inspirational prayers and songs. All of the stories focussed on the theme of ‘Service to Humanity’, a desire that resonated with everyone present and was reflected with increasing unity of thought and expression as the evening progressed.

The stories conveyed a consciousness of the principle of the oneness of humanity as the core belief that most inspires acts of service – both in our individual lives through acts of love and kindness, as well as through the numerous opportunities for faith-based social action that can be found in Britain today.

In her opening remarks Ms Rosanna Smith, a member of the Bahá’í community, expressed the view that the richness of our religious unity presented through the different stories, could be considered as different chapters of one book, or perhaps as God’s eternal story.

Among those who shared stories from their traditions was Rabbi Dr Thomas Salamon of Westminster Synagogue, who said: “”I was uplifted by the evening, which gave me an opportunity to learn from others and at the same time note, that we all are taking a similar path, even if from a different direction. If all of mankind realised this then we could live in a better and more peaceful world.”

The evening came to a close with all those gathered singing together a song about service and love for humanity, with lyrics taken from the Bahá’í writings: “When there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time”.

Story telling evening

Story readers from various faiths join with the audience in group singing to round off the evening