149 Years Later …

Article contributed by Niloofar Davidson

“Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He Who is the All-Merciful hath directed His steps towards the Ridván and entered it.”

 (Bahá’u'lláh 1990, Gleanings from the writings of Bahá’u'lláh US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 31)

The end of April is beautiful in Canberra. Almost every suburb is speckled with red and gold burnished foliage, the cockatoos are rummaging through grass and leaves, and the air is perfect for a brisk evening walk. At the Bahá’í Centre in Weston, watchful kangaroos line the driveway in the dusk light, welcoming us on our way. A feeling of warmth rushes over me at the sight. This is the beginning of the Festival of Ridván.

In 1863 Bahá’u'lláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá’í Faith, during a twelve day sojourn in a garden outside the city of Baghdad proclaimed His message. He was about to be exiled by the government authorities of the Ottoman Empire to the city of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) for no other reason than that He continued to encourage and teach love and harmony between the various peoples, ethnicities and religions of Baghdad. To His family and friends gathered in the garden with Him He announced that He was the Promised One of all the religions, the messenger of God for this day:

“The utterance of God is a lamp, whose light is these words: Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship. He Who is the Day Star of Truth beareth Me witness! So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”
(Bahá’u'lláh 1990, Gleanings from the writings of Bahá’u'lláh US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 288)

Having already suffered innumerable hardships, including imprisonment and exile from His native Persia, and about to suffer continued exile and imprisonment for the rest of His earthly days, He showed only love and compassion towards His companions. Every day in the garden He would hand out roses to those who gathered in His presence. His followers named that garden the Garden of Ridván (paradise).

Over the years that followed, Bahá’u'lláh revealed guidance for the spiritual and material progress and wellbeing of humanity. Among these was the blue-print for an administrative order that operates from the grass-roots level in the form of Local Spiritual Assemblies, a council of nine adults elected by anonymous ballot every year. An illustration of the spiritual heart and foundation of the administration, these elections are held on the eve of the Festival of Ridván.

There are Bahá’ís in every country, participating in the spiritual and social life of their communities and striving to apply Bahá’u'lláh’s teachings in all facets of life. And now, 149 years later, half-way around the world a community of His followers here in Canberra gather to reflect on that momentous time Bahá’u'lláh and His companions spent in the Garden of Ridván:

“Rejoice with exceeding gladness, O people of Bahá, as ye call to remembrance the Day of supreme felicity, the Day whereon the Tongue of the Ancient of Days hath spoken, as He departed from His House, proceeding to the Spot from which He shed upon the whole of creation the splendours of His name, the All-Merciful.”
(Bahá’u'lláh 1990, Gleanings from the writings of Bahá’u'lláh US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 35)


Naw-Ruz 2012

The Bahá’í Community of Canberra invites you to join us to celebrate Naw-Rúz – the Bahá’í New Year.

Date: 21 March 2012
Dinner: 6:00pm
Program: 7:30pm
Venue: ACT Bahá’í Centre, 18 Hickey Court, Weston ACT

Naw Ruz 2012 flyer

Plight of Baha’is in Iran raised in Parliament

Australian MPs recently  called on parliamentarians in Iran to protect the human rights of Baha’is and other citizens in their country. Read the full story here.

Human Rights Day 2011

The ACT Baha’i Community warmly invites you to a commemoration of the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Helen Watchirs
Human Rights Commissioner for the ACT

Mr. James Ghaeni
ACT Baha’i Community

Date: Saturday 10th December
Time: 3pm, followed by afternoon tea
Place: ACT Baha’i Centre, 18 Hickey Court, Weston

RSVP: humanrightsdayact@gmail.com by 5th December 2011

A PDF version of the invite is available below:
Human Rights Day 2011 invite

Australian Bahá’ís receive Ridván greetings from Prime Minister Julia Gillard

The Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Julia Gillard MP, has sent a message to the Australian Bahá’í community on the occasion of the Festival of Ridván – the anniversary of the establishment of the Bahá’í Faith.


I am very pleased to provide this message to the Australian Bahá’í community for this year’s Ridván Festival.

This important cultural event, commemorating the start of Bahá’u'lláh’s prophethood, is a period for celebration and marks the elections to the Australian National Spiritual Assembly.

Our nation is enriched by all who make Australia home, including the Australian Bahá’í community with its plurality of cultures and traditions.

Your commitment to interfaith harmony and your dedication to service provide a valuable example to all Australians.

I applaud your work in helping to build a socially cohesive society and in advancing the course towards peace in Australia and the world.

My warmest wishes to everyone participating in the vibrant and joyous festival and I trust it will be a truly memorable occasion.

The Honourable Julia Gillard MP

Prime Minister of Australia

Glad Tidings in the Tuggeranong Valley

Glad Tidings Radio program presenters Valley FM 89.5“Glad Tidings” Bahá’í Radio Programme in Tuggeranong

Since January this year Bahá’ís have been broadcasting a weekly two hour programme in both Farsi and English on a community radio station that serves mainly residents in the Tuggeranong Valley, south of the City Centre.

Valley FM 89.5 broadcasts to the Tuggeranong Valley and Woden which has a population of approximately 100,000. It is a completely non-profit community radio station and all its presenters and support personnel are volunteers. There are approximately 50 volunteer announcers whose programmes consist of selections of music, news and community information.

The two hourly slot is presented by regulars Soraya Bazyar and Iraj Master. It’s a mix of music, selections from the Bahá’í Writings and inspirational quotations and stories on various topics such as the environment, peace, unity and love. The first hour, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. every Sunday is in Farsi and the 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. slot is broadcast in English. The musical component often features Bahá’í musicians such as Seals and Crofts, popular since the 1970′s, as well as more contemporary artistes such as Australians Shadi Toloui-Wallace and Omid Master, and New Zealander Grant Hindin-Miller.

Multicultural Youth Radio is on the Air!

“From little things big things grow” might be the motto for what grew out of a junior youth spiritual empowerment program in Belconnen.

Learning how to develop their capacities, improving their power of expression and finding ways to be of service to the community were all key elements of this program which a group of young Sudanese began participating in over two years ago. Today–as part of their service to the Canberra community–Bul, Malual and Akol put out a regular broadcast on 2XX Multicultural Youth Radio in which they promote multiculturalism by talking about issues that concern them, encourage youth to think about life goals by interviewing people who inspire them, and take a bit of time to sit back, relax, and play their favourite music.

Now, they are part of an effort to help other youth find their voice by offering training to youth from migrant and refugee communities in the skills needed for radio broadcasting.  It has all been made possible through the Tony Manicaros Award -  a grant awarded annually to develop ethnic and multicultural community broadcasting in Australia. The recipient of the 2010 Award was Daniel Malouf, who helped to establish the Multicultural Youth Radio program, and is now looking to bring the voice of more youth to our airways.

Youth Radio PresentersIn explaining what he hopes to accomplish, Malouf says, “it’s great to see the NEMBC (National Ethnic & Multicultural Broadcaster’s Council) awarding $2000 towards a project that will seek out Canberra’s next generation of ethnic broadcasters and unleash their talent, energy and unique perspectives onto the airwaves, in the process giving them leadership and communication skills to engage with the debate on what a multicultural Australia really means.”

A full report can be found here:  http://youth.nembc.org.au/info_pages_youth.php/pages_id/350
Besides tuning in to 2XX 98.3fm – 6.00-7.00pm every Thursday evening,  you can also listen to podcasts on their Facebook Page and even download them from iTunes.

Bahá’í New Year Celebrations

Canberra Baha'is at Naw-Ruz Celebration
Eric Dozier at the piano

Bahá’í New Year Celebrations Hit a High Note

Every year Bahá’ís around the world celebrate their New Year on 21st March. It’s a time when friends get together to mark Naw Rúz, literally the “new day”, that has begun. It also marks the end of the annual period of 19 days of fasting.

In Canberra a capacity audience packed the Bahá’í Centre, where a programme of prayers in nine different languages was followed by a rousing sequence of songs by visiting singer/songwriter Eric Dozier from the United States.

Eric is a regular visitor to Australia, conducting voice workshops for schools and the public and as a frequent performer in his own right. His roots are gospel, but his range is spiritual through funk to blues and soul. His preference is for his audience to join with him and sing along, or clap to the beat, something which those gathered at the Centre were only too happy to do.

The lyrics to Eric’s original compositions are inspired by the Bahá’í sacred texts  and by its principles of unity in diversity,  and the idea that each of us can be a powerful agent for change and transformation.

Indeed, this is the message of Naw Rúz: that as we begin a New Year, spiritually recharged and reinvigorated by the Fast, we rededicate our lives to the service of humanity and to the promotion of the principles of unity and harmony among all peoples.

“All should rejoice together, hold general meetings, become as one assembly, so that the national oneness, unity and harmony may be demonstrated in the eyes of all.”

Naw-Ruz Prayers

Invitation to Human Rights Day Commemoration in Canberra

Human Rights Day

12 December 2010

Speak Up: Stop Discrimination

The Baha’i community of Canberra warmly invites you, your family, friends and colleagues to a commemoration of the Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be held on 12 December 2010 at 3pm at the ACT Baha’i Centre, 18 Hickey Court, Weston, ACT.

Join us for keynote addresses on this year’s theme: Speak up, Stop discrimination, as well as music, choral and drama performances followed by afternoon tea. All welcome.

Please RSVP to act@act.bahai.org.au

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1

SOUL FOOD: Healing through forgiveness

The first Soul Food event will be held at the Bahai Centre, Weston, on Sunday 24 October. A buffet lunch will be provided at 12:15 followed by a full program of spiritual teachings, contemporary philosophies and healing guidance.

The subject of the Soul Food event is “Healing Through Forgiveness”. We will discuss what forgiveness means, its enormous healing benefits and how to actually achieve it.  Guest speakers include a meditation teacher and spiritual healer. There will be a children’s play and our talented Bahai musicians will play the violin and guitar for us. We will serve afternoon tea at the conclusion of the event.

The event will be full of soulful music, delicious food, and an opportunity for learning and fellowship.  So come along with your whole family and please bring your friends to learn how to heal your soul by forgiving.

Date: Sunday 24 October

Place: Bahai Centre, 18 Hickey Court, Weston

Lunch: 12:15

Event time: 12:45 start; finish approx 3:30 pm

Enquiries and to come along: Contact Us

*We plan on having a crèche for the younger children