BUILDING COMMUNITY

Bahá’ís believe social change starts with spirituality—individuals unlocking their soul’s desire for service and working alongside others for the good of their neighborhoods and communities. Bahá’í communities are a workshop open to all for hands-on learning about the process of spiritual community building.

Listed below is some of the local community-building activities which are open to the general public. To participate in any of these activities or attend a Holy Day, please contact us.

DEVOTIONAL GATHERINGS

Devotional gatheringThe Bahá'í teachings prescribe daily prayer and intimate communion with God as the foundation for a life devoted to spiritual advancement and service to humanity.

All are welcome to participate in building a vibrant community life in their neighbourhoods by hosting or attending regular devotional gatherings. These gatherings are held across the island in diverse settings such as homes, local community centers and other public venues.

The heart of a devotional meeting is the sharing of prayers and passages from Holy Scriptures, but beyond this there is no set form. Devotional meetings are a chance for us to learn how to create an uplifting, spiritual atmosphere. This often involves music and the arts. The key is to help clear our minds from the anxieties of our daily lives and to meditate on our higher purpose.

Anyone can hold a devotional meeting

And most importantly, these devotional meetings can be held by anyone, either by hosting one in your own home, or helping to host a meeting elsewhere. The Bahá’í teachings seek to empower us to create an uplifting and spiritual atmosphere in our own communities.

You are welcome to join a devotional meeting near you, and to simply sit, meditate and enjoy the atmosphere, or to play a more active role in hosting or organizing one.

“Intone, O My servant, the verses of God that have been received by thee, as intoned by them who have drawn nigh unto Him, that the sweetness of thy melody may kindle thine own soul, and attract the hearts of all men.”

— Bahá'u'lláh

STUDY CIRCLES

Study CirclesThe purpose of Bahá'í study circles is to provide participants with the knowledge, spiritual insights and skills to enable them to contribute to the betterment of society, starting with their own neighbourhood. This is done through systematic study of a sequence of courses based on the Bahá'í Writings using the courses of the Ruhi Institute.

The first in the sequence of seven books is called Reflections on the Life of the Spirit. It examines spiritual matters such as prayer, meditation, life and death and the development of the soul. Study circles are held all around Barbados and are open to all. You are invited to take inspiration from the Bahá'í teachings, benefiting from whatever gems of wisdom and knowledge will help you to address the challenges you face.

Study circles are held in an uplifting environment conducive to the spiritual empowerment of individuals, who come to see themselves as active agents of their own learning. The role of the study circle facilitator is not to impart knowledge, but to assist discussion. Study circles feature participatory learning, involving discussion with others, and the use of the arts.

“A distinguishing feature of study circles is that in many countries, and across diverse cultures, they have created a new dynamic within the community and have become nuclei of community life and catalysts for teaching, service, and community development.”

— International Teaching Centre

PROGRAMME FOR PRE-TEENS AND TEENS

Junior Youth groups

The junior youth spiritual empowerment programme is open to young people, aged between approximately 12 and 14, and it assists them to navigate through a crucial stage in their lives. Those in their early adolescent years possess altruism, a sense of justice, eagerness to learn about the universe, and a desire to contribute to the construction of a better world. The programme helps them form a strong moral identity and empowers them to contribute to the well-being of their communities and the world at large.

By developing their spiritual qualities (virtues), their intellectual capabilities and their capacities for service to society, the participants come to see that they can become agents of positive change in the world.

The programme adopts a participatory mode of learning where the facilitator and participants learn from each other.

Groups of participants engage in activities such as artistic expression, discussion, drama, cooperative games, study of literature, story telling and acts of community service. The junior youth programme explores themes from a Bahá'í perspective, but is not a formal religious education program. It is open to all, subject to parental approval. Junior youth groups meet on a regular basis and there is no written homework.

A Message to Youth: “Undoubtedly, it is within your power to contribute significantly to shaping the societies of the coming century; youth can move the world.”

— The Universal House of Justice

CHILDREN’S SPIRITUAL EDUCATION

chilren's classes

Developing the moral capacities in our children is of fundamental importance, not only to their own future happiness, but to the service and advancement of our entire society.

Parents everywhere are looking for ways to give children this spiritual education, to lay the foundations for their children to have noble characters and fruitful lives.

Spiritual and moral education

Providing spiritual education for children has long been an element of the culture of the Bahá’í community. In neighbourhoods across Barbados, Bahá’ís and their friends offer moral education classes that nurture the hearts and minds of children, complementing the education they receive at school.

Open to all

These classes are open to children of all backgrounds and are often run in collaboration with their families. Drawing on the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, the classes aim to inspire in children a love for God and the Founders of all the great religions in the world.

The classes, both by studying sacred verses and talking through the questions that children face in their lives, help children apply spiritual principles – such as love, unity and justice – to their own lives, to their families and their friends.

All children are welcome to these classes, and no child participates without the approval of his or her parents. These classes include short lessons, activities to build social skills and friendships, games, stories that illustrate virtues like love, kindness, generosity, art and music.

“Among the greatest of all services that can possibly be rendered by man to Almighty God is the education and training of children…”

— `Abdu’l-Bahá

HOLY DAYS

There are 11 Anniversaries and Festivals making up the Bahá’í calendar. On nine of these Holy Days Bahá’ís are required to suspend work and study, where permissible. Since the Bahá’í day last from sunset to sunset, usually each Holy Day is celebrated/observed on the eve of the actual date.

Below is a list of some of the major Bahá’í Holy days, all of which the general public is warmly invited to participate. For more information about the Bahá’í calendar of activities in the locality nearest to you, please contact us.

21 March – Bahá’í New Year or Naw-Rúz

For Baha’is, the New Year comes at a perfect time – 21 March – the vernal equinox, which marks the first day of spring and the end of the Baha’i Faith’s annual Nineteen Day Fast. Work and study are suspended for the Bahá’í Naw-Rúz.

21 April to 2 May – Festival of Ridván:

The annual Bahá’í festival commemorates the 12 days (21 April-2 May 1863) when Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, resided in a garden called Ridván (Paradise) in Baghdad, Iraq. At this time He publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s Messenger for this age. The first (21April), ninth (29 April) and twelfth (2 May) days are celebrated as Holy Days when work and study are suspended.

23 May – Declaration of the Báb:

Bahá’ís commemorate 23 May 1844, when the Báb, the Herald of the Bahá’í Faith, announced in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran), that he was the Herald of a new Messenger of God. It is also one of the nine Holy Days of the year when work and study are suspended.

12 November – Birth of Bahá’u’lláh

Bahá’ís observe the anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh (born Mirza Husayn-‘Ali) on 12 November 1817, in Tehran, Persia (now Iran). Baha’u’llah, which means the “Glory of God,” is the founder of the Bahá’í Faith. It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.