The second century of U.S. Baha’i National Conventions began Thursday, April 23, as the 101st annual convocation opened at the House of Worship for the North American Continent in Wilmette, Ill.
National Convention is the continuation of a process that began last October when Baha’is at Unit Conventions throughout the nation elected delegates; 171 in total.
Before the convention officially began, the delegates gathered at their hotel to study materials on the sacred purpose of the convention, the responsibility of the delegates and the role of the members of the National Spiritual Assembly.
The opening session began late Thursday afternoon at the Temple, gleaming on the shores of Lake Michigan. The delegates’ first surprise upon arriving was to encounter some of the fruits of the ongoing upgrades to the Temple grounds.
Immediately in sight: a concrete and stone “welcome wall” at the bottom of the first set of stairs, proclaiming “The Bahá’í House of Worship” in chiseled-look inset letters.
Then, after mounting those first steps, a stunning new reflecting pool comes into view. At the far end one can see the entry down into the refurbished Foundation Hall and Visitors Center level. Straight ahead, restoration work is still underway.
Opening devotions were held upstairs in the Auditorium of the Temple before delegates and guests streamed downstairs to Foundation Hall to hear Jacqueline Left Hand Bull, chair of the National Assembly, call the Convention to order with “most joyous Ridvan greetings.”
First orders of business: the Convention purpose was read, along with by-laws of the National Assembly pertaining to Convention; delegates were seated in a roll call; the consultation and election result protocols were adopted; and the Convention agenda was approved.
For the next three days, the delegates heard reports from the Secretary General of the National Spiritual Assembly, Kenneth Bowers, and national Treasurer, William Roberts; participated in consultation with a focus on the growth of the American Baha’i community; and on Saturday morning, the delegates prayerfully elected the nine members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States.
On Saturday evening, the newly elected members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States were introduced to the convention delegates and guests. Judge Dorothy Nelson had been elected to serve as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly for the past 42 years and resigned from service on the Assembly this year.
The newly elected members of the National Spiritual Assembly are, from left to right: Jacqueline Left Hand Bull, Kenneth Bowers, David Young, WIlliam Roberts, Juana Conrad, Valerie Dana, Muin Afnani, Erica Toussaint and Robert Henderson.
Reprinted with permission from the Baha’is of the United States
(see U.S. Baha’i News)