Celebration of Baha'i Faith Aug. 10 at Klehm

Members of the Baha’i Faith invite the public to join them in celebrating the establishment of Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha’is in Rockford Township and the Village of Machesney Park on Aug. 10 at Klehm Arboretum.

Member of the Baha’i Faith from the surrounding areas and as far away as Racine, Wis., will join in the celebration to recognize this important event.

These two new Spiritual Assemblies bring the number of local governing bodies of the Baha’i Faith in the Rockford area to three. The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is for the City of Rockford was formed in 1971.

The Baha’i Faith (pronounced Bah-HIGH) is relatively unknown in many areas although it is the second most widespread religion in the world according to the Encyclopedia Britannica World Book. There are more than 5 million Baha’is throughout the world, more than 153,000 in the United States, and about 6,000 in the state of Illinois.

Because the Baha’i Faith has no clergy, the Assembly has a key role to play. In each locality where at least nine adult members of the Baha’i Faith reside, a Spiritual Assembly is elected to administer the work of the local Baha’i community. Rockford Township and the Village of Machesney Park each have nine adult Baha’is at this time.

All Baha’i elections are by secret ballot, and in a spirit of prayer, with no nominations or electioneering permitted. Every Baha’i older than 21 years of age is eligible, and diversity of background is considered a strength within the Baha’i community.

Sharon Davis, chairman of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Rockford, said: “The Baha’is of the Rockford area have worked closely together for many years to serve both the Baha’i community and the greater Rockford area. We are very happy and excited to see the formation of these two new Spiritual Assemblies and the growth that this step represents.”

Baha’is in the Rockford area hold devotional gatherings, study classes, children’s classes and holy day celebrations regularly. They are also active in the community in a variety of ways, including the Rockford Interfaith Council and the Institute for the Oneness of Humanity.

The Baha’i Faith is an independent religion, founded by Baha’u’llah (pronounced “Bah-hah-ol-LAH”), a Persian nobleman, in the 19th century. Core beliefs include the oneness of humanity, the equality of men and women, the harmony of science and religion, and the recognition that all religions come from the same God.

From the Aug. 3-9, 2005, issue

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