Baha’is have hope, both in the present and in the future. Whether in small devotional gatherings where the sacred Writings of all the world’s Faiths are shared, or in neighborhood classes for children and junior youth, in which the foundation of character education is laid, or in study circles, where the illuminating sacred Writings of the Baha’i Faith are discussed, along with their implications for spiritual and material life. In all of these and more ways, the Baha’is, their families, friends, coworkers, and all interested neighbors, are step by step putting into practical application their hopefulness. You are invited, all are invited, to work together to build stronger families, stronger communities, for the betterment of the world.
Here are some of the actions of Baha’is in the 11th largest country in the world:
Chiefs seek lasting peace in light of spiritual truths
KAKENGE, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 28 January 2020, (BWNS) —Earlier this month, residents of Kakenge in the Central Kasai province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo listened to a remarkable program on local radio. It was a live broadcast of a conversation between some 60 village and tribal chiefs, many of whom were on opposing sides of armed conflict only a year ago, discussing the true purpose of religion, the unity of the human family, the promotion of material and spiritual progress, and the critical role of women in building a peaceful society.
In view of tensions that remain, the country’s Baha’i community invited chiefs from the Central Kasai region to a three-day conference to explore how principles from Baha’u’llah’s writings can shed light on matters of practical and immediate concern for their society.
Lambert Kashama, a leading administrative official in the area, described what drew him to this conference: “During the period of tribal conflict that Kakenge and its surroundings experienced, I would see Baha’is from the two opposing tribes working together and coming to consult with me about what was to be done to restore peace. This is why I have come here today to understand more about these teachings.”
The long-standing Baha’i community of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has spent decades contributing to constructive social change, especially through educational initiatives at the grassroots. In the past few years, they have been in conversation with chiefs in various regions of the country to explore together paths towards a society characterized by principles such as harmony, justice, and prosperity. . . .
Jean-Baptiste Shamba, the chief of the Nkinda Katenge village, decided at the conference that as soon as he would return to his community, he would gather every person whom he had seen as an enemy in order to make peace and seek mutual pardon. “Following these teachings,” he said at the conference, “I will reconcile the rancor that I have with my brothers. Our conflict was based on ignorance. Henceforth we will speak as friends for the good of our community.”
Another notable result of the conference was the decision by many of the chiefs to call meetings of all the women in their villages, realizing that their participation was essential for reconciliation to be successful.
At another conference this month in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu, chiefs discussed the same themes as their peers in Central Kasai. Some expressed that conversations like these had the potential to prevent conflict in the future. “We understand that peace is not something that development organizations bring us: it is a state of the soul and spirit when people decide to contribute to their communities.”. . .
“We have seen that the world is evolving,” reads a statement jointly signed by 26 chiefs at the end of the conference in Bukavu. “We will no longer guide our people in darkness, now that the light has appeared through these teachings, which we shall never forget.”
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Devotions: each Sunday, 10:00 – 10:30am, Vancouver Bahá’í Center, 4016 E 13th St; Vancouver WA 98661. All are welcome to share in a devotional gathering. For more information, please call our Vancouver Bahá’í information line at 971-248-5219.
Interfaith Devotions: Tigard; Sunday Feb. 2, 10:30 am. As a follow-up to our Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at the Tigard Public Library, and in honor of Black History month, this devotional gathering will be a special morning dedicated to Racial Justice & The Golden Rule. In addition to prayers, music, and writings, we will have a guest speaker, Chris Ragland, who will be talking about the beauty and power of justice. We hope you can join us and invite a friend! Feel free to bring your favorite poems, prayers, art, music or writings related to justice. For more information please call 1 650 387-0003.
Interfaith Devotions: Sunday Feb. 2, 10:30 am, Bahá’í Center, 16103 SW Lake Forest Blvd., Lake Oswego, OR 97035. We warmly welcome people of all backgrounds and beliefs to our devotional gatherings. Prayers and readings from a variety of religious scriptures and sacred traditions are shared in an atmosphere of love, kindness and fellowship. For more information, please call Jan at 503-639-8919.
Interfaith Prayers for Peace: Tuesday, Feb. 4, 6:30 – 9:30pm, Gresham Library, 385 NW Miller Ave, Gresham, OR 97030. Join the Bahá’ís of Gresham, Fairview and surrounding communities for our monthly interfaith prayer vigil at the Gresham Library. Please feel free to bring prayers, music, poetry, and other expressions of peace as we seek to build community in troubled times. Children welcome.
Devotions: SE Portland, each Wednesday, 11:00am – 12:00pm. Informal devotions; all are welcome! For more information, please call Becky and Mike at 503 849-8318.
Interfaith Devotions: SE Portland, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 6:30 – 8:00pm. We love to meet new people and look forward to seeing you at our monthly interfaith devotional program followed by a potluck dinner. For more information, please call the Moshtael-Hill family, 503-282-0783.
Dialog: Portland Anti-Racism Team, Thursday, Feb. 13, 6:30 – 8:00pm, Bahá’í Center, 8720 N Ivanhoe St, Portland, OR 97203. This event is sponsored by Take PART (Portland Anti-Racism Team) as part of a series that explores the ways people are bombarded with racist messages, how to recognize and delete these messages, and consciously build equitable communities. For more information on Take PART, go to: takepartpdx.org. For more information, please call 503 289-6331.
Dialog: introductory, Friday, Feb. 14, 7:00 – 9:30pm, The New Center; 33950 SW Ladd Hill Rd, Wilsonville, OR 97070. Chocolate and other treats to celebrate this special day! You and your guests are warmly welcomed to a lively evening of potluck dinner, discussion, and fellowship! For more information please call Farah & Tulsi Ramchandani at 503 925-9909.
Dialog: Thursdays, February 20 and 27, 7:00 – 8:30pm, Bahá’í Center, 8720 N Ivanhoe St, Portland, OR 97203. Brief talks and stories, with a different theme each week. Everyone welcome! For more information, please call 503 289-6331.
There are devotional gatherings weekly throughout the metro area, including every Sunday at the Portland, Beaverton, and Vancouver Bahá’í Centers. The Bahá’í Center of Lake Oswego hosts many activities each month. To see more devotional gatherings, discussions, children’s, and other activities, please visit the website calendar at portlandbahai.org. The website is the place to check for last-minute changes in events!
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