Bahá’ís have regular meetings for worship and social and educational activities for children, youth , and adults, open to all. Bahá’ís gather in study circles to explore in a participatory manner Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings. There are also activities for service, observances of Bahá’í holy days and other events to which all are welcome. Informal gatherings, sometimes referred to as fireside meetings, provide an open setting for asking questions and learning more about the Faith for oneself. The links on the left menu provide more detail about specific types of public events. You are warmly invited to attend any of our public events.
SPIRITUAL EDUCATION OF YOUTH AND CHILDREN
The Bahá’í writings attach great importance to the periods of childhood and youth, providing clear guidance to parents and communities to raise children in a nurturing and unambiguous environment. Youth are encouraged to develop a strong sense of purpose, empowering their own transformation and leading them to contribute to the advancement of society. Young people’s spiritual capacity, the basis for their own happiness and sense of well-being, is a powerful force for social change.
Bahá’ís believe that moral, spiritual, and values-based training for children and youth is essential in order to nurture these capacities. Thus, Bahá’í communities sponsor moral education classes for children and youth of all backgrounds. The classes seek to develop essential virtues such as the knowledge of God, trustworthiness, honesty, and justice. They aim to build a strong moral framework that will assist children to achieve excellence in material, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of life.
Inspiration, rejuvenation, motivation, purpose, meaning – all are essential ingredients to one’s sense that his or her life is on track, is worth living. Yet, day to day, one is hard-pressed to find or feel them and is challenged to maintain a positive, hopeful outlook. The Word of God, say the Bahá’í writings, provides inspiration, rejuvenates souls, gladdens hearts, and renews one’s sense of purpose. Prayer offers us an opportunity to commune with our Creator, draw on the revitalizing power of the Word of God, and to contemplate and more deeply appreciate our lives.
Bahá’ís host devotional gatherings in homes and community centers to take advantage of such benefits through prayer and the reading together of the Bahá’í writings and other scriptures and to create an environment of unity and harmony. Prayer is a central element in all religious traditions and these meetings stress its universal nature. The meetings, often simple, have a variety of elements to accommodate participants regardless of their religious background. Music, food, and discussion are often present, though the primary purpose is to use prayer’s power to transform, unify, and revitalize. For many, these gatherings become a refreshing refuge from the discordant and grinding aspects of everyday life. Participants are able to meditate on spiritual principles and gain some perspective on how these principles can be applied to their day-to-day affairs.
COLLABORATIVE STUDY AND PERSONAL GROWTH
Bahá’ís are actively engaged in developing knowledge, skills, and spiritual insights through study circles. They – with their neighbors from all walks of life – learn to act more effectively towards the betterment of humankind and serving the needs of the community and the larger society.
Participants in these courses learn, for example, to teach values to children, to engage in community service activities, to assist and empower others to independently investigate spiritual truths, to learn how to competently express one’s views, and to engage oneself in serving the broader needs of society for unity, justice, and equity. The participants often experience a new sense of direction in life, better relationships with family and friends, and a fruitful re-evaluation of the contribution one can make to the wider community.
All are welcome, regardless of their ideas or beliefs, as we are all members of one human family.
REFLECTIONS ON THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT
One of the most common formats for Bahá’í study circles feature a workbook entitled Reflection on the Life of the Spirit.
This workbook – developed by the Ruhi Institute in Colombia – is part of a series of materials that are widely used around the world by Bahá’í communities in an effort to foster constructive personal and community transformation.
These workbooks use an interactive, question and answer format that fosters a participatory learning process in which the entire group develops a new capacity for individual and social action. Typically, a study circle is lead by a “tutor” or “facilitator.” This role, however, is not that of a traditional “teacher,” who imparts knowledge to the group. Rather, the tutor serves merely as a guide to assist participants to come to their own understandings and to generate new knowledge about themselves and their communities. The workbooks draw extensively on quotations from the Bahá’í sacred writings – a feature that infuses a high degree of spirituality into the process.