Members of the Bahai Faith invite the public to join them in celebrating the establishment of Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahais in Rockford Township and the Village of Machesney Park on Aug. 10 at Klehm Arboretum.
Member of the Bahai 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 Bahai Faith in the Rockford area to three. The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais for the City of Rockford was formed in 1971.
The Bahai 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 Bahais throughout the world, more than 153,000 in the United States, and about 6,000 in the state of Illinois.
Because the Bahai Faith has no clergy, the Assembly has a key role to play. In each locality where at least nine adult members of the Bahai Faith reside, a Spiritual Assembly is elected to administer the work of the local Bahai community. Rockford Township and the Village of Machesney Park each have nine adult Bahais at this time.
All Bahai elections are by secret ballot, and in a spirit of prayer, with no nominations or electioneering permitted. Every Bahai older than 21 years of age is eligible, and diversity of background is considered a strength within the Bahai community.
Sharon Davis, chairman of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of Rockford, said: The Bahais of the Rockford area have worked closely together for many years to serve both the Bahai 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.
Bahais in the Rockford area hold devotional gatherings, study classes, childrens 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 Bahai Faith is an independent religion, founded by Bahaullah (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